BlastPoint Brings Big Data to Pittsburgh Nonprofits

26 Oct

Blastpoint-website-logo-294x226Small and large nonprofits alike can, at times, find working with data a difficult and mystifying chore. As pools of funding for nonprofits continue to shrink, proving your efficacy and reach becomes increasingly important. Collecting, visualizing, and forecasting data well can give you an edge, both in securing funding and improving your organization’s decision-making. One company that is working toward making data visualization easier and more accessible to all is Pittsburgh’s own BlastPoint.

Alison Alvarez and Tomer Borenstein, both from CMU, cofounded the company just one year ago. Since its inception in 2016, Alvarez and Borenstein have gone on to win $150,000 from the Forbes Fund’s UpPrize, the most well-funded social innovation challenge in our region. BlastPoint introduced itself to Pittsburgh’s larger nonprofit community at the Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership Summit earlier this month. PCRG staff attended their conference session and got to witness firsthand the tools they have been developing. BlastPoint’s main pitch to nonprofits is that the private sector has long had the money and expertise to purchase data tools that help them make better decisions, putting the nonprofit sector at a disadvantage. When you pay to become a member of BlastPoint, you are able to access thousands of datasets that you then connect to a geographic boundary.

We were impressed with the ease and functionality of the service, and can see how it could level the playing field by putting more analytical power into the hands of smaller organizations. We hope to see even more data and visualization tools be added as they grow, and hope that their commitment to innovation remains in Pittsburgh.

Alix Levy

Research Analyst at PCRG
Despite repeated attempts, Alix has always found a reason to stay in her hometown of Pittsburgh. She received both her undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Pittsburgh, with a one-year stint in Freiburg, Germany studying the European Union. Prior to joining PCRG, Alix was a community development consultant and adjunct professor. You can find her running around the East End, reading on her back patio, yelling about politics, and planning what to cook next.