Big News at Benetech (and for me!)

I am incredibly excited to let you know that earlier this month we announced that Betsy Beaumon, Benetech’s current president, will be taking over as CEO of Benetech. Betsy is a recognized social entrepreneur who has dedicated much of her career to changing the world with software.

Our board and I are looking forward to Betsy leading Benetech to even greater impact. Under Betsy’s guidance, Benetech is developing new software for social good enterprises to connect communities with inclusive technology:

  • Service Net: Reshaping the social safety net in human services to better connect people to the services they need. 
  • Born Accessible: Working with publishers to ensure that any new ebook is accessible to people who read differently - with the goal of one day making Bookshare obsolete. 
  • Connected Civil Society: Applying machine learning and computer vision to document human rights violations and promote accountability in Syria in collaboration with the UN. 
  • Data for Inclusion: Enabling people with disabilities to provide firsthand reports on the issues they face to inform policy at the local, national, and global level. 
It would be an understatement to say that I am proud of what Benetech’s team has accomplished since our founding. Together we:

  • Developed the first affordable reading machine for people with vision impairments.
  • Empowered over 600,000 people who are blind or dyslexic to read with Bookshare. 
  • Ensured that thousands of human rights activists could securely document human rights abuses.
  • Helped environmental leaders design, manage, monitor, and evaluate global conservation projects and campaigns with the first open source conservation project management tool. 
  • And, one of our proudest achievements, we helped write, negotiate, and advocate for the Marrakesh Treaty for the Blind to improve access to information for people with disabilities around the world, which was recently ratified by the U.S. Senate and goes into effect this month. 
When Benetech began, we didn’t know of any other tech for good social enterprise. Today, there are hundreds of tech social entrepreneurs who have followed their passion to create enterprises that prioritize people over profit.

I can assure you that I am not retiring. I plan to stay involved at Benetech! My firm belief is that tech will play a key role in solving just about every social problem imaginable. And there is plenty of work to do—look for more from me in the coming months where I’ll share my plans.

I look forward to staying in touch with you about technology for good!

All the best, Jim
Founder, Benetech

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