February 22, 2021
Software to Get You to the Future You're Meant to Have
BizWorld launched its winter cohort of the exciting, life-changing YES! Program where high potential young entrepreneurs create and develop thriving businesses. YES! builds confidence and breaks down barriers to propel youth businesses to success.
We are pleased to feature Bear Matthews, an authentic and successful 19-year old entrepreneur who is passionate about helping communities in need with tech apps developed by Astra Labs. Learn about how he and his team members are developing innovative apps to address mental illness and personal security issues for his customers at a fraction of the cost of traditional models of healthcare.
1) Tell me a little bit about your company and what interested you in starting Astra Labs?
Astra Labs is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that builds technology for communities in need. Currently, with roughly 250k active users, and an annual reach of over 6m people, we've been fortunate to work alongside some of the largest names in tech towards a brighter future for those who need us most. With just under two dozen team members, we all hail from startup and tech development backgrounds, and collectively are driven by the impact of our technology.
In the past two years, we've released two applications - Aetheria and Verena, for which respectively address issues of mental illness and personal security. Our team also deployed a rapid-response COVID-19 platform, for which through our private business partners, provided free telehealth counseling to over 200k U.S based frontline workers!
2) What do you hope to learn and get out of the YES! Program?
The YES! Program is extremely appealing to our team as a wonderful stepping stone out of the shadows where Astra Labs has previously been operating. As a registered 501(c)3, we often find ourselves in a unique position operating like a startup with the impact of an international NGO. As such, connecting with industry professionals and taking a deeper look at the long-term sustainability of our business model and strategic growth plan will be paramount to the future success of our organization; and that's precisely the opportunity YES! offers us.
3) Can you share a fun fact about yourself?
Sure! I’m a huge lover of art, and have previously served as a public art commissioner for the Town of Basalt in Colorado!
4) What do you feel has helped you with launching Astra Labs?
Wow! Well, every day I remind myself of how fortunate we are to learn and build alongside our users. It's an attribute that I refer to as a patient-designed success. That being, when you develop a product not only for, but with your target user, or what we would refer to as a "community in need", Astra inherently removes all risk in deployment. Additionally, we operate with several simple, yet effective mantras in business. We remind ourselves to always execute with excellence; to engage and build for other humans, not profits; and finally, that impact as a measurement of success is usually the product of dialogue. So as much as I may not be able to tell you what has helped us the most, I can tell you what helped us yesterday.
4) What is your superpower? And how has it guided you in developing your business?
Listening and repeating. Operating in a market like Astra's requires consistent and open dialogue. Whether it be of internal operations, external community research, or integral partnership negotiations - Astra has a habit of opening every conversation with "how can we help?" It's through such ethos that we build strong and lasting relationships for which secure sustainable, cost-effective, and measurable impacts within communities of need around the world.
Bear, you and your team have accomplished so much since you started the organization in 2018. You have some impressive stats -- your tech tools have helped 204,392 people, your apps are on 104,962 smart devices, and your content has reached 304,981 people! We look forward to seeing Astra Labs grow through the YES! Program by strategically looking into your business plan and by connecting you to the BizWorld business ecosystem... good luck!
The YES! Winter Cohort opened on January 25th and is scheduled to run until April 8th, 2021. The summer cohort application deadline is May 14th and is scheduled to run until August 27th, 2021. Both cohorts will have the opportunity to participate in the YES! Demo Day and pitch for start-up investment scheduled on September 17, 2021.