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Interviews for Development Hackers

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Latitudes - 700 nonprofits helped by people in tech

Hi everyone,

This is an interview with Augustin Courtier (also known as @gus ) who cofounded Latitudes in 2016. Latitudes is a French non-profit that helps people in tech leverage their skills for the common good.

They have already supported 700 non-profits with their community of 3000 tech enthusiasts, and they help raise awareness on tech for good to 10k people every year!

Latitudes logo

This is the first part in a series of interviews with Development Hackers that we hope can inspire other members of our community to launch their own projects. You really can use your skills to make a living and create impact.
Here, we focus on the early days. How people created their projects, their tech stacks, and everything needed for support!


Hackathon banner

Check out their upcoming hackathon

Hacking EDplanning, 6-8 May 2022
Build digital solutions for planning and managing education systems in this second edition of the Tech for Good hackathon organised by Latitudes and IIEP-UNESCO.
Learn more here


The Interview

Hello! How would you describe your project?

Latitudes helps people in tech leverage their skills for the common good.

Especially, thanks to these tech people, Latitudes helps common good organisations solve their digital challenges. We help them multiply their impact through operational efficiency and innovation.

With Latitudes, people in tech also learn how to mitigate the drawbacks of tech: lack of diversity, environmental impact, screen addiction, etc.

Latitudes wants to bring purpose to digital technologies. We want every tech person to become a contributor to the common good.

That’s why we’re bringing:

  1. A new way of teaching tech, so that every tech student learns how to help common good organisations and to mitigate the drawbacks of tech during his / her curriculum
  2. programs for people in tech to take action, so that they can act for the common good in their everyday lives no matter what job they choose.

What's your background?

I am an engineer.
To be more precise, I studied engineering – and specialized in computer science.
But since I finished my studies, I have not used my tech competencies -> only to change my HTML signature. :)

I'm focusing on fundings at Latitudes.

What motivated you to get started with this project?

When I was an engineering student, I realize what could be achieved by digital technologies. I also realize that we face tremendous social and environnemental challenges and that we all can make the difference in our everyday life.

That's why I co-founded Latitudes in 2016 and have been working full-time on it since 2017.

How did you fund the development of your project?

In the early days, we didn't need money. We were students, and the only thing we needed was time.

When we decided to go full-time on the project, we started to seek ways of financing the non-profit.
We came up with a business model with:

  • 1/3 of philanthropy
  • 1/3 of public grants
  • 1/3 of services for tech universities and companies

How did you start having real impact?

Right from the start we decide to have a concrete impact.
We were asking social entrepreneurs if they needed tech competencies, and if they did, we asked tech students to work for them during their school projects. The first year, 14 projects were created with more than 60 students!

What's your tech stack?

We're mainly using no-code tools: airtable, notion, slack.

How is your technology used for impact?

Technologyception! We use technology to foster the use of technologies for the common good. :)

How have you grown your revenue?

Getting our first partners was clearly a important milestones to inspire confidence to find the others. We've been very opened to a lot of opportunities for a long time. Now, knowing more about our ecosystem and our strengths allows us to focus on 3 revenue sources.

I think that having 1 person in the team dedicated to the funding part was key not to forget the subject.

At every moment our priority is impact. Then we asked ourselves : "how can we fund that because it does make sense?"

What are the biggest challenges you've faced and obstacles you've overcome?

  1. Keep a good team culture even if we faces major challenges: departure from the team, covid, etc.
  2. Believe in the non-profit model and make it a strength for the project and our impact: we're proud of being a non-profit

Have you found anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

  1. Building a network is clearly helpful (for impact and funding)
  2. Do not hesitate to ask for help and have mentors – people are often happy to give a hand
  3. Move forward instead of thinking to much
  4. Love your job and teammates. :)

What are your goals for the future?

Our 2024 organisational objectives are:

  1. Grow our educational program to 20 000 students per year
    We’re currently working with 30 tech universities and 6 000 students follow our courses every year.

  2. Build a community of 10 000 tech people
    In order to raise awareness in the tech sector and to make tech people and organisations act for the common good thanks to our programs. Our community currently gathers 3 000 tech people.

  3. Help 2 000 common good organisations per year
    Once people join our community, our challenge is to make them act. That’s why we’re building engagement programs so that people who enter the community start having a concrete impact.
    Students work for non-profit organisations during our courses, community members can participate in our hackathons or help common good organisations with our “1h pour changer le monde” program – 1 hour sessions to help these organisations with their digital challenges.
    Our goal is to help 2 000 common good organisations per year in 2024.

What's your advice for development hackers who are just starting out?

Share your project, try and do not hesitate to ask for help. :)

Where can people go to learn more?

https://www.latitudes.cc/


Don't hesitate to ask questions or discuss in the comment section below!
Follow this account if you want to be updated for future interviews with Development Hackers :)

Discussion (2)

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gus profile image
Augustin Courtier

Hi! You can find some examples on our website – latitudes.cc/pour-linteret-general (in french) – or you can find here some projects of last year hackathon with IIPE-UNESCO : iiep.unesco.org/en/making-new-tool...

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lisa88 profile image
Lisa • Edited on

Thanks for sharing @gus ! Can you share some examples of how you supported non-profits? :)