From food and clothing for the needy to improved communication between people or at the office, these six companies have found a way to successfully connect people to the things and people that they need and love.
1. Feeding Forward
In accordance with their tagline, “Ending hunger and food waste within our lifetimes,” Feeding Forward connects people who need food with businesses who have more than enough. With one transaction, Feeding Forward fights hunger and reduces food waste by using technology to streamline food recovery and distribution. To date, the company has recovered more than 500,000 pounds of food to help feed people in the San Francisco area.
Feeding Forward provides a website and iPhone app where businesses can request a food pickup when they have leftovers, and an algorithm matches them with a nearby shelter or other recipient agency in the area. On-demand drivers pick up and deliver the food, while both parties are kept in the loop with real-time updates.
When the agency receives the food, organizers capture photos of the people fed and share those photos with the providers to demonstrate the direct impact they had on their community by “Feeding Forward.” This process is a unique and tech-savvy way to help reduce food waste and minimize hunger in the community.
HandUp set up a direct donation system to provide basic necessities like food, clothing, and medical care to homeless people and others in need. The HandUp database allows members to set up profiles detailing their stories and needs. Donors browse these profiles and choose a donation recipient. They can then help that specific recipient via web or text, and 100 percent of that donation will go directly to the recipient’s HandUp account.
This process ensures people who donors want to benefit receive the funds they need to build a better life. The startup was the center of news coverage at the end of 2013 when one of its members, Rodney Bell, described how HandUp helped him get his life on a new path. Most recently, in June 2014, HandUp won the first 1776 Challenge Cup, where it competed with other startups to win investment dollars, including winning the Smart Cities semifinals and bringing home $150,000 at the Global Finals.
WorkHands created an online community where American labor and blue-collar workers can create and share profiles that demonstrate their skills and craftsmanship. Whether they build, fix, maintain, haul, or do any other labor-intensive work, members can do things like show what trades they’re good at and connect with others in the community to browse jobs, find tools and equipment, as well as showcase licenses and products of their workmanship.
Created by a team of people from blue-collar towns and families, WorkHands is an all-encompassing network for labor workers to make something positive happen in their careers and job networks.
Aiming to connect people of the world with one another, Omlet is an Open Messaging Platform, which is a new standard for mobile messaging applications. By using the unique attributes of a smartphone, users can “share anything, with anyone, anywhere,” including chats, photos, emails, videos, music, and other user data from any iOS or Android device.
In addition to sharing data, users can band together to create social galleries of their photos or chats without sharing any personal information. This includes location-based chats where users can start conversations instantly with other nearby users, even if they’re not in the user’s address book. Omlet revolutionizes social networking by giving it a more open platform to stand on to connect users with friends, family, and those they haven’t met yet, all in one safe place.
Most recently, Omlet Chat became the first chat app available for the Samsung Gear 2 wearable watch, which uniquely positions the app to take on the smartwatch market in the future.
With the mySugr Companion App, adults with diabetes—and children, who use the Junior App—receive instant feedback about their blood sugar as well as motivation and encouragement. The app features a diabetes “monster” that a user can tame by making entries into the app, and the goal is to tame the monster every day. The app also provides challenges to assist users in setting and attaining personal health goals.
mySugr makes taking control of diabetes easier and adds a fun aspect, which can help these people eliminate any negativity they feel and replace it with something more positive.
Managers need help monitoring all of their employees and their progress, and Weekdone provides a condensed weekly status report for that purpose. The app organizes key tasks and ideas for the team and uses the famous Objectives and Key Results process used at Google to keep employees focused on the right tasks. It helps managers make more informed decisions, improves communication, and enriches engagement between team members. Ultimately, this can help a business succeed while becoming more effective and efficient.
Every day, inspired individuals form new companies around the world that connect people with what they need. These are just a few of the many examples of what people can do when they set their minds on a course to help others and make the world a better and more interactive place.
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