Announcing, the Okta for Good Innovation Lab

Over the last several years, Okta for Good has invested millions of dollars into nonprofit technology ecosystems and made Okta’s products more accessible to nonprofits around the world. For example, just a few months ago we doubled the size of our donated product bundle, effectively enabling 80% of the world’s nonprofits to deploy Okta for free. We’re also proud to offer one of the industry’s best pro bono professional services programs. These and other commitments have spurred tremendous growth in our nonprofit community and we’re humbled by the thousands of organizations that trust Okta every day. 

At the same time, we recognize that identity solutions like Single Sign-On and Multi-factor Authentication, while certainly impactful, are increasingly just “table stakes” for modern organizations. Solving the world’s most challenging identity problems requires more. 

Years of close partnership with nonprofits have taught us that digital transformation, for even the most sophisticated organizations, requires a coordinated combination of flexible technology, risk-tolerant capital, and technical expertise. To that end, we’re proud to announce the launch of the Okta for Good Innovation Lab, a new program within our Nonprofit Technology Initiative that provides access to Okta’s products, talent, and cash in a single grant. In total, this represents a new investment of approximately $900,000 in nonprofit tech innovation. 

Designing the Innovation Lab

How might we enable nonprofits to dramatically improve the scalability and resilience of direct services for vulnerable populations? That was our guiding question for more than a year as we designed this program against the backdrop of a global pandemic. Several critical insights emerged: first, that Okta’s technology is uniquely positioned to empower direct service providers—organizations that deliver critical support directly to the world’s most vulnerable people—to safely enhance their services through technology. Second, nonprofits need time to deliver measurable results and secure sustainable funding for new solutions, which is why the cash and optional product credit commitments are for two years each. Lastly, we wanted experts from the nonprofit sector to evaluate applications alongside us in order to diversify our perspective. The result is a cohort of grantees that are tackling important and ambitious challenges with the potential to directly improve the lives of millions of vulnerable people around the world.

Meet the grantees

Mercy Corps is a global NGO with more than 40 years of experience serving people living through poverty, disaster, violent conflict, and the acute impacts of climate change. Their AgriFin program supports smallholder farmers, who account for nearly two-thirds of the labor in the developing world and produce nearly 80% of its food while being the largest group of the working poor. One of the ways Mercy Corps helps is by delivering up-to-date and targeted agricultural research and data to farmer-facing organizations through a digital platform called Sprout. Scaling the platform to meet global demand requires an identity solution that can provide all stakeholders with consistent, secure, and appropriate access to the platform. 

For more than half a century, TechnoServe has empowered people to lift themselves out of poverty by harnessing the power of the private sector. In countries like Kenya, where small shop owners (“micro-retailers”) sell the vast majority of consumer goods, small increases in productivity and profitability can have massive economic and social ripple effects. There’s a growing ecosystem of applications that are purpose-built to help these micro-retailers with critical business functions like point-of-sale operations, inventory management, and merchandising. TechnoServe and their partners want to put those applications onto a “single pane of glass” to streamline access for small business owners and make it easier for on-the-ground program staff to incorporate the applications into their coaching. To do it, they need an identity solution that supports a variety of authentication protocols and delivers a simple, flexible end-user experience. 

Every year, 30 million children reach out to helplines, yet nearly one-third of these calls are never answered due to a lack of resources and aging technology. In response, Tech Matters, a team of experts with decades of experience designing, building, and supporting technology solutions for some of the world’s most vulnerable people, created Aselo, a modern, open-source platform. It allows children to reach out to helplines through a variety of communication channels including phone, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, webchat, SMS, etc. And like other modern, cloud-based applications, Aselo needs to be built for scale, security, and reliability, which is why Tech Matters trusts Okta. 

Every application we received reminded us how lucky we are to support and collaborate with changemakers all over the world. Learn more about these organizations and follow their progress right here.