Project Invent: Demo Day 2019
Guest post by Connie Liu, Project Invent Founder and Director, 2018 Bay Area Inspire Awardee. The Bay Area Inspire Awards, administered by PVF, provide $5,000 grants to 18-30 year olds living in San Francisco, Alameda, and San Mateo Counties with fresh ideas for building better communities. Connie won an award in 2018 for Project Invent – a national nonprofit empowering high school students across the country to invent technologies for social good.
After starting in 2018 with seed funding from PVF, we just announced our launch in 30 schools across 14 states, including 1 in China. We will be training teachers to lead Project Invent teams from across the country so students everywhere have the opportunity to make a real, innovative difference in their communities. In May 2019, we also hosted a very successful Demo Day at Stanford. Students came from North Carolina, Vermont, Florida, and more, many leaving their state for the first time to present their inventions at Demo Day.
These students spent all year building inventions to address everything from making video games accessible for teenagers with cerebral palsy to building new tools for football coaches to detect early signs of athlete concussions. They presented to a panel of top investors and tech leaders, including Trae Vassallo, the managing director of Defy VC, Bob Baxley, former head of design at Pinterest and Yahoo, and Jim Fruchterman, CEO of Benetech and Tech Matters, who also keynoted the event. Companies like Google, Wieden+Kennedy, and SocialWithin also joined for the event to award promising projects with seed funding to continue developing their inventions. $7,500 of prize money was awarded to student teams by the end of the night.
We are also now growing the team, adding a Director of Programs to manage the student and teacher experience.
The initial PVF grant was essential to all of our success, and was the seed to all of this growth in the past year. We’re deeply grateful to the Philanthropic Ventures Foundation!