Start fresh. How Propel and the Fresh EBT app is battling poverty.

We are interested in building software that fights poverty somehow. We know that poverty is complex and has many different components and can’t be solved with a single app, and that’s ok.” – Jimmy Chen, Founder and CEO of Propel

Jimmy Chen is the Founder and CEO of Propel, a software company that aims to fight poverty through technology. They are the creators of the Fresh EBT mobile app, which enables EBT cardholders to manage their benefits, save money through grocery coupons, and find jobs. Fresh EBT is used by over 2 million low-income Americans across the country. In this episode of Innovation For All Podcast, Sheana learns why Jimmy decided to start Propel and use the tools of Silicon Valley to address social issues around poverty.   

In this episode you will learn: 

  • Why Jimmy Chen decided to focus on building tech for low income families
  • What is Propel and Fresh EBT 
  • Why start with the food stamp program to battle poverty
  • How does Propel get the experience and empathy to solve problems they might not understand
  • What is the process for getting usable information from users
  • What are the logistical and general obstacles faced by Propel and how are they overcome
  • What are some misconceptions about the food stamp program
  • Where else can the private sector make a difference and what are the challenges

Links and Mentions:

From Homeless to Fashion Tech Entrepreneur: Cassie Betts

Cassie Betts is the founder of District2.Co, a technology company that connects brands/designers with factories to streamline the manufacturing process, and Made In South LA (MISLA), a DevShop Academy. In this episode of the Innovation For All Podcast, learn how Cassie went from being homeless to being called “The Woman Turning South LA into Startup Land” by Forbes.

You’ll learn:

  • How Cassie Betts started her entrepreneurship and coding interests in her youth.
  • Battling Sexism and Racism in the technology industry.
  • Leveraging past experiences and using them for success.
  • What District2 is and its mission.
  • The current state of the fashion industry with regards to innovative technology.
  • How the District2 platform has streamlined the fashion industry process.
  • Challenges faced by the fashion industry with manufacturers.
  • What is Made in South LA (MISLA).
  • How MISLA is trying to change the current economic situation by offering training to high paying tech jobs.
  • Problems of underrepresented minorities in the technology industry and possible solutions.
  • Training approach to help the ill effects of gentrification in communities.

Mentioned:

Connect with Cassie and MISLA:

What would ethical data practices look like? Featuring Amanda McGlothlin

“Tech should be built for good” says Amanda McGlothlin, co-founder and Chief Design Officer at HQ Network, a Los Angeles space start-up providing digital security products and services for individuals and businesses. As a leader in tech, Amanda believes that privacy is a fundamental human right. Hear her tactical, realistic approach to product design that truly protects the user’s privacy.


IN THIS EPISODE YOU’LL LEARN:

  • How VPNs secure your information and prevent unwanted information getting to your devices.
  • How ads and third party tracker are not only annoying, but cost us money and make our technology less valuable.
  • The future of an ad-free user experience.
  • The use of ad-blockers and whether they are as effective as we think.
  • The new privacy laws that protect consumers from data breaches.
  • How companies can exercise more responsibility around their data practices to both protect the user and create success for their business.
  • What product managers and coders can do to support these companies who are willing to change their data practices for good.
  • What dark patterns are and how they apply to data and tracking.
  • Why it’s possible to collect data in moderation and still experience the benefits of analytics.
  • HQ Network’s view of data collecting and their ethical approach to their data practices.
  • A recent Facebook scandal and how it relates to user research.
  • How consumers can protect their data and exercise safety while online.
  • Facebook, as an example of a company that uses less than perfect data practices.

LINKS:

OTHERS MENTIONED:

  • VPN
  • GDPR
  • Facebook
  • iTunes
  • Apple
  • Sally Hubbard
  • Google Analytics
  • Cookies
  • Javascript
  • Stripe
  • App Store
  • Google
  • Enterprise Certificate
  • Instagram
  • WhatsApp
  • Troy Hunt
  • Katharine Hargreaves
  • ARKO
  • Stuart Turner

If you enjoy this episode, you might enjoy my conversation with Sally Hubbard: Google and Facebook are Monopolies: Does it matter?