LOOKUP ANNOUNCES 2021 SOCIAL INNOVATORS
For Immediate Release
January 26, 2021
Winners of the 2021 LookUp StartUp competition are tackling some of Gen Z’s most pressing issues: social isolation and loneliness, digital overload and addiction, humane technology, and digital activism.
Concord, MA - LookUp, a fast-growing social venture that discovers, seeds, and supports youth-designed solutions to humane technology and digital wellbeing, has announced the winners of its StartUp Grant Competition and 2021 class of Social Innovators.
LookUp’s StartUp Program emboldens Gen Z to reimagine how digital technologies are designed, regulated, and used so young people can thrive in the digital age. Ten inspiring teams from various universities and schools around the United States leveraged their own experiences with technology to provide winning solutions that will address market forces and shift social norms. LookUp also partnered with Exposure Labs, the film & impact production company behind the NetFlix docudrama, The Social Dilemma, to offer grants to two teams advocating for change in the misaligned power of Silicon Valley. The Social Dilemma and LookUp share a vision that technology platforms should be designed to serve the interests of people, not profits - so young people can achieve deeper, more personal connections to their family, friends, and community.
The 2021 class of Social Innovators will now embark on a six-month journey in LookUp’s Leadership Lab from which they will emerge with the knowledge, network, and skills to lead social change. Social Innovators receive seed grants up to $2,500 to further develop their team ideas, join an esteemed community of peer advocates and social leaders and are supported by and learn from world-class executive mentors, industry experts, entrepreneurs, activists, and investors.
The current COVID-19 pandemic has amplified the issues surrounding digital overload augmented by distance learning, social isolation, and loneliness accentuated by social distancing. Recognizing the severity of this issue, each team has developed ideas and created apps, games, and campaigns in an attempt to combat these digitally-induced issues.
View the full list of 2021 Innovators here:
ASMBL- Stanford University (The Social Dilemma Grant winners)
Crowdsurf- Stanford University, Harvard University
Eventurely - University of Notre Dame
FriendOver- University of Notre Dame
NoSo November- University of Colorado Boulder
Myne: Personal Social Media Analytics- University of Miami, Oregon State University
On Our Terms- USC Iovine and Young Academy (The Social Dilemma Grant Winners)
OutdoorsYours.com- Dartmouth College
Raincheck- University of Connecticut
Team Legislate- Dartmouth College, Merrimack College
The College Community- Carnegie Mellon University
Unpluggerz- Chapman University
The 2021 LookUp Social Innovators come from across the country (California, Connecticut, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, New Hampshire, New York, Massachusetts, Michigan, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, and even Milan, Italy.) In this highly competitive process, LookUp received a vast number of thoughtful and compelling applications, and after intense review selected 12 driven and talented teams who, for the next six months, will now have the opportunity to develop and turn their ideas into action.
“By the end of 2020, LookUp emboldened more than 2000 youth advocates from 38 countries to mobilize and advocate for a healthier and more humane digital world. From mental health campaigns to ethical meetup platforms, outdoor apps to federal regulation, our 2021 class of Social Innovators and their promising solutions have accelerated our call to action.” ~Susan Reynolds, Co-Founder, LookUp
Timing is critical. While technology has added significant value to society, social networks, in particular, and the powerful few who control it, have devastatingly contributed to and accelerated an already declining state of youth mental health. In 2019, Gen Z was acknowledged as the loneliest generation in America, and social isolation & loneliness became recognized as a public health threat. [Cigna] Self-harm for girls aged 10-14, for example, that resulted in emergency department visits increased 189% between 2009 and 2015 [JAMA, 2017], and college students in one 2019 study reported feeling depressed (40%), hopeless (51%) and overwhelmingly anxious (60%) in the last 12 months [American College Health Association]. But Exposure Labs Impact producer Julia Hoppock believes young people can flip the script. “I truly believe Gen-Z will write the real-life sequel to The Social Dilemma, leading us to a future where technology serves us, rather than exploits us.'
The Innovators unveiled their entrepreneurial solutions on January 23rd at the LookUp Innovator’s Showcase. Robert Wigley, Chair UK Finance, and author of Born Digital: The Story of a Distracted Generation led a discussion with Innovators on the impact of digital overload and addiction on youth mental health. Julia Hoppock, Exposure Labs Impact Producer, and Innovators who addressed advocacy and digital activism delved into the harmful effects of social media on democracy, discrimination, and mental health. LookUp Co-founder, Susan Reynolds, explored with teams that solved for social isolation and loneliness, how existing social networking platforms, coupled with remote learning, have escalated the crisis on college campuses. A full recording is available here.
LookUp exists to give young people the opportunity, platform, and agency to thrive and flourish in the digital age by facilitating the discovery, development, and advancement of youth-led solutions to digital wellbeing and humane technology. Instead of having adults solve a problem they haven’t lived through, we get right to the source: by listening to Millennials and Gen Z, we can use personal experience as fuel to drive real change.
Contact: Julie Barrett O’Brien, StartUp@LookUp.live, 617-834-9227 @lookup_live