Announcing our Innovation Fund!

by: | Oct 23, 2013

We’re psyched to announce New Media Ventures’ Innovation Fund — our first ever open call for nonprofit tech startups! Over the next two months, we intend to award grants ranging from $10k to $25k to nonprofit entrepreneurs that are using media and technology to drive progressive change.

Apply here!  And, be sure to check out our FAQs about the fund.

Why an Innovation Fund for nonprofits?

New Media Ventures has always maintained a commitment to supporting both for-profit and nonprofit startups. We believe that change comes in lots of different forms, and we’re excited by a new generation of entrepreneurs who aren’t limited by old models.

This philosophy has guided our work investing in the 11 organizations that currently make up NMV’s portfolio — they serve as a demonstration of what progressive political impact investing can look like. These entrepreneurs are revolutionizing the political landscape– expanding the reach of progressive ideas in everything from media distribution and content consumption to online organizing and small dollar fundraising.

Yet our experience has highlighted a gap in the availability of funding for early stage nonprofit innovation efforts. The NMV Innovation Fund is an experiment of sorts– to see if small grants to early stage nonprofits can begin to address this gap.

How do I apply?

The deadline for all applications is November 8th, 6pm PT. Apply here.

What are we looking for?

The NMV Innovation Fund is a competitive application — we anticipate awarding 5 – 10 grants ranging from $10k – $25k.

We are looking for entrepreneurs who demonstrate the following:

  • An eye towards scale

Media and technology are powerful tools that enable people to advocate and organize around the issues they care about at a scale previously unimaginable. We are looking for nonprofit organizations that are leveraging these tools to reach underrepresented populations.

  • A plan to generate revenue.

While we know that it takes time to become financially self-sufficient, applicants should have a growing user base, a diversified funding model, and a plan for financial sustainability.

  • A commitment to progressive change

Applicants should be working to create a progressive future — a future of social justice, environmental sustainability, and economic opportunity and equal rights for all people. To create that future, they are unafraid to be political — working to engage more people in our democratic process, bringing in voices that have previously been left out.

A few more eligibility and funding requirements:

All applicants must be non-profit organizations exempt from taxation under either Section 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Applications should:

  • Present a strong theory of change.
  • Demonstrate how the effort fits into the broader progressive change field.
  • Demonstrate how this level of financing right now will make a significant difference to the trajectory of the project.

NMV aims to provide catalytic funding, and often serves as a validator to open doors to larger funding partners. Our hope is that a small amount of funding, awarded within a tight turn around period, can make a difference in creating momentum for new nonprofits.