Jim Fruchterman is a leading social entrepreneur, a MacArthur Fellow, a recipient of the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship, and a Distinguished Alumnus of Caltech.
Jim’s career started with a private enterprise rocket company. Although the rocket blew up on the launch pad, this experience launched his entrepreneurial career in Silicon Valley, where he started two successful for-profit companies in the machine learning/artificial intelligence field.
Jim’s first successful social enterprise idea was a machine that recognizes letters and words and reads those words aloud to people who are blind. He founded Benetech, now Silicon Valley’s leading nonprofit technology company, to deliver these reading machines, followed by Bookshare, the largest library for people who are blind or dyslexic.
In 2019, Jim founded Tech Matters, a new nonprofit tech for good organization. Its first two major projects are to build a shared technology platform for the child helpline movement, and to develop technology for local climate change adaptation.
Through his work with Tech Matters, Benetech and as a trailblazer in social entrepreneurship, Jim continues advancing his vision of a world in which the benefits of technology reach all of humanity, not just the wealthiest and most able five percent.