7th Innovation Fund Open Call: Shift the Story


By Julie Menter

In the categories:

Photo by israel palacio

We are excited to announce the Open Call for the New Media Ventures Innovation Fund! Apply now and spread the word!

Over the past year, we have seen alarming attacks on vulnerable communities and rising threats to democratic institutions, including the media. Instead of giving in to outrage and overwhelm, organizations are working overtime, new voices are emerging, and a new generation of activists is on the move. But if we are going to win on the issues, win hearts and minds, and win at the ballot box, we must do more. We must ask ourselves, “how can we shift the story, shape an inspiring and inclusive narrative, and change the course of history?”

NMV is eager to support startups that are:

  1. Changing Hearts & Minds. We are living through an era of historic media disruption, with lasting implications for our personal, political, and civic lives. Whether you’re focused on increasing empathy, strengthening journalism, shaping narratives, leveraging new content platforms, or developing tools for listening, analytics and amplification… we want to hear from you. We’re also eager to hear about new business models that reward quality and engagement, solutions that elevate new and diverse voices, and creative distribution strategies to ensure content reaches new audiences, beyond echo chambers.

  2. Building Movements for the Future. Civic engagement is on the rise, and movements for justice are gaining traction across the US, but our technology and tools often remain stuck in the past. Are you building technology or tools that mobilize citizens, make campaigns more efficient, or blend digital and grassroots organizing? We can’t wait to hear about your work. We’re especially interested in tools for distributed and networked movements, technology that helps coordinate volunteers, campaigns, and candidates, and innovations that facilitate conversations and decision-making.

We are thrilled to announce that Harmony Labs is partnering with NMV on #ShiftTheStory! Both Harmony and NMV are investing in startups using tech and media to solve society’s biggest challenges – so it makes sense for us to work together! We’re especially excited to identify projects using AI, machine learning and other cutting-edge technology to tackle issues like filter bubbles, information spread and influence, and impact and persuasion detection. If this is you, we hope you’ll apply.

To make sure we’re seeing all the most exciting projects in this space, we’re extending the deadline to Friday, February 9, 2018 at 11:59pm PT. But we still need your help to reach startups working to transform media. Will you help us get the word out? Here’s some share text to make it easy:

If you have a prototype that harnesses media’s power to benefit society, @newmediaventure & @harmonylabs have the funding. They’re looking for startups advancing the state-of-the-art in data science, AI, machine learning & more. Extended deadline: 2/9. Details: http://bit.ly/2Gs4QR5

Curious about Harmony Labs? They’re a nonprofit that supports startups using innovative technology and media approaches to tackle some of society’s biggest systemic challenges – like filter bubbles, the stickiness of “true” information, and detecting persuasion online. They’re looking to support early-stage companies whose offerings advance the state-of-the-art in these areas and could benefit from access to expertise, resources, funding and community. And like NMV, they’re focused on leveraging media’s unprecedented power to benefit society.

New Media Ventures is a seed fund and angel network investing in media and technology startups that support advocacy movements, create new narratives, and drive civic engagement. The NMV Innovation Fund finances early-stage, for-profit and nonprofit startups with seed funding ($50-250K). Selected startups receive virtual acceleration support and have access to NMV’s network of angel investors for follow-on capital, connections, and advice.

Over the past 7 years, NMV has supported some of the fastest-growing social change startups – both for-profit and nonprofit – including Blavity, SwingLeft, SumOfUs and Vote.org. Last year, our Resist & Rebuild fund mobilized more than $4M to 17 amazing startups working to protect vulnerable populations, resist attacks on our democracy, and build tools and technology for campaigns. We can’t wait to see what’s next.


We are hosted an informational webinar on Thursday, January 18, 2018. In case you missed it, here’s the recording. We also encourage you to check out our extensive FAQs to learn more about whether you’re a good fit for NMV. For any other questions, please email us directly.

Good luck! We can’t wait to welcome the next cohort of leaders shaping the future. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to innovationfund@newmediaventures.org.

Note: New Media Ventures typically solicits applications for funding twice a year via our Innovation Fund Open Call. We also review applications for later-stage startups throughout the year, email innovationfund@newmediaventures.org directly if you’re raising a larger round of funding and would like to chat.