Mozilla Builders Alumni Spring 2020 MVP Lab

These are the products, projects and companies that Mozilla Builders supported and advised in our inaugural Spring MVP Lab. Kicked off in April 2020, in the midst of a global pandemic, these teams were among 500+ teams that applied, from dozens of countries, with level of experience from university to tech veterans. These teams ideated, tested, hustled, and built products in just eight weeks on a shared mission to Fix The Internet.

MVP Lab

Ameelio

Zoom + direct mail for prisons, for free.

The $1.2 billion prison communications industry charges extortionate prices (up to $25 for a 15 min phone call) for low-quality services. Providers are exploiting their monopoly power at the expense of low-income families: 1 in 3 families with incarcerated loved ones are forced into debt by the cost of phone calls and visits. Our suite of free communications tools are disrupting a captive industry, reconnecting the incarcerated with their loved ones, and reducing recidivism.

Flatend

Flatend is a framework for building robust, cost-efficient, production-ready microservices that take advantage of peer-to-peer networking.

One of the biggest frustrations low-code tools like Darklang, Firebase, Supabase, and a slew of other low-code projects have is that although they do help developers build backends faster, they come with a big tradeoff of inflicting (a) vendor lock-in, (b) tie-in to specific tools/databases/coding patterns, or (c) a large monthly bill.

At the same time, coding without these tools, one would have to deal with either configuration hell with Kubernetes/Istio/Consul or take the time to stitch a bunch of libraries together and spend a lot of time having to deal with devops/networking/backend architecture.

Flatend lets you: 1) write functions using any tools/databases/programming languages/frameworks/hosting environments, and 2) turn them into microservices stitched together into a mesh network with service discovery/load balancing/routing using the Kademlia p2p overlay networking protocol popularized in BitTorrent/Ethereum.

Taking advantage of p2p networking, Flatend has taken off a lot of the pains and time spent dealing with bidirectional RPC, service discovery, load balancing, scaling, deployment patterns, and end-to-end-encryption; leaving a developer to spend more of their time focusing on their business logic instead of boilerplate code.

Trofi

Trofi is a platform connecting local farmers to consumers through a decentralized network of group buy leaders.

For produce to get from the farm to your plate it usually needs to pass through three or more middlemen, adding cost and time. Group buy leaders in Trofi’s network facilitate last-mile delivery enabling consumers to access the freshest produce at bargain prices. Trofi’s local-first approach also connects a community more intimately with their food sources, returning the power back to local producers and consumers to create a more robust food supply chain for all!

Remote Students

Remote Students is an invite-only online professional community for college students.

When COVID-19 happened, college students were left with a tremendous amount of career uncertainty: cancelled internships, lost job offers, unanswered questions about the job market, and a lack of in-person professional development events. To help other students manage this new wave of remote work, we launched Remote Students, a collection of resources and opportunities to help students find and succeed in their dream job. We currently run a newsletter, mentorship service, and discussion-based communities to bring students together and democratize access to professional resources.

Lumos

Lumos is an identity platform that can automatically find all accounts that you have ever signed up for and delete them or change passwords with a single click.

Do you know which services own data about you? For how many web services have you signed up in your lifetime? No clue right? Lumos solves this issue and fixes privacy on the Internet. Lumos can automatically find all accounts that you have ever signed up for and delete them or change passwords with a single click.

Neutral

Neutral is a browser extension that calculates and offsets your online shopping carbon footprint.

We get it. Folks love to shop online. But our habits are making a serious dent on the planet. Amazon alone emitted 15 million tons of CO2 in a year delivering packages to our doorstep. With that much in carbon emissions, a single shopper could drive around the world 1.3 million times. We know shoppers want to do good and fight against climate change - that’s why we built Neutral, a browser extension that tracks and offsets your carbon emissions, right from your shopping cart.

Cabal

Cabal, a peer-to-peer distributed chat platform, implemented a subjective moderation system, allowing everyone to moderate for themselves and for their friends.

Cabal implemented a subjective moderation system in the Mozilla Spring Labs. The subjective moderation system, where participants can themselves decide who moderates on their behalf, sidesteps problems inherent to traditional content moderation practices. The chat initiator may disappear, leaving the group moderation-less; or previously good moderators may have a falling out and start banning people. Freely allowing multiple people to moderate also spreads out the invisible care-giving labour required to keep a community free from abuse. This kind of subjective moderation system goes hand-in-hand with Cabal's longevity design goals.

Meething

Meething provides video conferences that are simple, secure, do not require installation, start directly from your browser and are highly customizable and extendable when business or application specific features are needed.

Meething has huge potential in allowing many different individuals and businesses to meet how they want to while ensuring communication always remains easy, private, safe and reliable.

In the home it enables users to have fun and be productive without compromising their privacy or risking data abuse through easy room setup and use, easy self-hosting, freedom to customize, no install, and end to end encryption by default.

In enterprise, businesses will want to keep control of branding and integration while communicating with their clients. Meething provides this as it is open source, cheap to host and based around a consulting business model for companies who want experienced help with building their branded video call experiences.

As our product is open source and decentralized; it is a system that keeps data only in the hands of the users and enables community driven and human centric innovation in how we meet online everyday.

Potato.land

Our product potato.land is a webapp that supports synchronized video playback to allow users to watch videos together at the exact same time.

After COVID sent us home from college, my friends and I missed the feeling of sitting together on the same couch, binging TV episodes and chatting with each other. We struggled to find a way to do this from home. The existing solutions were unsatisfactory—we could screenshare, but that meant the video displayed in suboptimal resolution for others, or we could manually coordinate pausing, playing, and skipping, which was tedious. So we decided to build our own app to synchronize video playback while allowing each viewer to stream the video from the original source.

Earthstar

Earthstar is a protocol and database library for making p2p collaboration apps with a focus on usability.

Facebook is extracting value from a man-in-the-middle attack on our personal relationships. Communities need to control their own communications infrastructure. Scuttlebutt is a p2p social network that meets this need, but it has usability problems that have prevented widespread adoption. We built a similar protocol called Earthstar that's designed for usability. Developers can use Earthstar to make community-owned social networks and collaboration apps that everyone can use.

P2P CDN

An architecturally superior CDN in which content is retrieved directly from peers, rather than from traditional CDN servers.

The internet could be a lot faster and less reliant on a central backbone. At the same time residential infrastructure is getting better, and much of the traffic is static downloads. P2P CDN enables an architecturally superior CDN service by retrieving content directly from peers close to the end user.

Quadrant Health

Our solution accelerates the deployment of the best-performing AI models from academia and early-stage industry into any hospital setting while preventing third parties from accessing patient data, for a fraction of the cost and time compared to the status quo.

We are building a platform that serves as a secure layer between AI vendors and hospitals. We streamline the process for hospital systems to vet, understand, and deploy AI models created in academia and industry. We not only assess hospital specific AI model performance, ROI, and value, but also reduce repetitive integration costs. By running predictions without third party AI vendors interacting with patient data, we reduce risk of data exposure to hospitals. By cutting deployment costs, saving time to vet, and protecting patient data, we aim to accelerate the deployment of AI in healthcare.

Impactful

Impactful is a platform for technologists to develop their careers in social good with socially-impactful opportunities and a community of impact-driven technologists.

It shouldn't be hard to do good with tech. With Impactful, it isn't. On our site, you can find impactful tech jobs, organizations, and a community that discusses and shares resources on ethics, equity, and justice in tech.

ChestnutAI

ChestnutAI provides recommendation-as-a-service - companies can use our platform to build recommendation engines that can be easily deployed to their platforms with simple API calls.

Personalized recommendations can significantly boost the user experience of a marketplace platform. However, not all businesses have the internal capacity to build an effective recommendation engine.

ChestnutAI democratizes recommendation engines by providing companies with a dashboard and REST APIs that can be used to build and integrate a recommendation engine for their platforms.

Our users are marketplace platform companies spanning a wide range of industries - from insurance products and job search to workshops and food catering.

Badhat

Badhat is a platform that provides trusted and low cost shipping solutions to e-commerce companies using a network of Kirana stores (mom and pop stores) across India, with an aim to uplift the Kirana stores by adding new sources of income for them.

India has around 12 million small neighborhood mom and pop stores (Kiranas) which are the bloodline of grocery shopping for Indian families. Along with having a trusted relationship with customers, they usually have extra time and resources during the day. At the same time, logistics cost for small ecommerce businesses in India is very high which hinders their growth. Badhat uses the extra capacity of the kirana stores to reduce the last mile delivery cost for e-commerce companies (which amounts to almost 30% of overall shipping cost). So, it adds a source of income for Kiranas (avg of $100 a month) and reduces shipping cost for ecommerce businesses by 12-15%.

ThinkLocal

Think local is a community organizing platform that makes it easier for organizers to disseminate information and direct volunteer efforts.

Currently organizers have to cobble together different types of inadequate, cumbersome tools. This makes it harder to retain volunteers and ensure volunteer success. ThinkLocal provides templates for initiatives so that organizers can hit the ground running and volunteers can start helping right away. Facilitating a practice of civic engagement locally provides opportunities to build healthy social infrastructure resilient to pandemics and unchecked executive power.

Jam Sesh

Jam Sesh is an event monetization platform that makes it easy to create, monetize, and host virtual events.

Most online event platforms are optimized for a pre-COVID world where the majority of events are still held in-person.

Jam Sesh is an event monetization platform that makes it easy to create, monetize, and host virtual events. We integrate directly with your Zoom account, then generate a customizable event page, automatically configure your meeting, hook it up with a secure credit card payment flow, and provide you with a flexible payout schedule.

Our website targets small businesses and creators hosting classes, webinars, and events over Zoom for the first time, removing all the overhead of dealing with the tech and security so you can focus on hosting a great experience.

Vizly

Vizly is a platform allows designers to effectively communicate and involve their clients in the design process to save time and energy.

Isaac is a senior designer from a marketing firm who got a case designing the packaging of a new instant coffee powder produced by a local food company. As it is his first time working with the company, he wanted to know how to align the design with the marketing strategy but did not know where to access that information other than spending hours talking with the sales rep, Jennifer. On the other hand, Jennifer has a hard time explaining what she wants out of the design, even though she has a clear idea of how she wants to direct the marketing campaign. Therefore, Isaac came up with a few rough designs and had Jennifer quickly evaluate them with Vizly to get a general feeling about what Jennifer would prefer and what types of plans would be effective.

Gem

Our product is Gem, the Apple Watch face that watches out for you.

The watch face itself appears to be a normal watch face, however depending on where on the face the watch is tapped, the user can send an automated text to pre-set contacts indicating their location and that a situation is amiss, either emergency or non-emergency.

Our use case really spawned from the disproportionate amount of sexual violence that women and the LGBTQ+ community face, but our watch face is something that is open and useful to all identities. There are tons of apps and functions on phones that will set off alarms and sirens in an emergency, however sometimes it is more helpful to just notify someone of where you are and if the situation is an emergency or not quite an emergency yet. Our watch face does this by being discrete and not adding pressure or escalation while still allowing the user to notify contacts of their choice that there is a situation.

ununu

ununu helps people that make music to host their music projects and manage collaborations with multiple producers.

The independent artists sector is the fastest growing area of the music industry today. With recording equipment available by default on any smartphone the entry barrier to becoming a music producer is simply plug and play. However, most bedroom producers haven’t been able to unlock the potential of collaborating on their music projects with the same ease. If Carla in Barcelona, Sam from Toronto and Kane in Tokyo want to produce a track together they first need to assemble their own system to exchange files, manage versions, communicate and document the process - taking for granted these 3 musicians from different parts of the world have actually met.

Ununu gives music producers a plug and play infrastructure to host, manage and discover music projects, unlocking the global potential of music collaboration.

Afroomart

Using WhatsApp, Afroomart enables vendors to find customers and manage their inventory with ease: Afroomart allows buyers to search and discover products quickly.

There are 190 Million+ WhatsApp users in Africa. For many Africans, the Internet = WhatsApp; WhatsApp is the Online Lifeline for young entrepreneurs and business owners without consistent access to web browsers and without physical brick and mortar shops. To enable transactions between buyers and sellers, Afroomart leverages the pervasiveness of WhatsApp and the entrepreneurial hustle of Africans. The low friction to onboard sellers and minimal customer training on Afroomart allows us to expand this "text to shop" model to locations with informal markets and low internet infrastructures.

unCached

unCached Analytics is a platform that uses machine learning to help journalists save time by quickly getting a sense of the currently trending topics and the context behind those topics.

To engage with their audiences, journalists and content creators must often write about complex topics that require time-consuming background research. Especially at smaller publications, they often lack access to dedicated, in-house analytics teams. unCached Analytics uses machine learning to parse thousands of news headlines and summarize the most frequently mentioned topics. For each topic, the platform presents a variety of news articles from reputable, balanced sources, along with article summaries. With unCached Analytics, the journalist quickly gets a sense of the currently trending topics and the context behind those topics, allowing journalists to devote more time to craft higher quality content for their audiences.

Vngle

Vngle provides local reality news to cities through “various angles” of decentralized grassroots reporting.

Vngle address the growing crisis of news deserts: areas where vast amounts of geographic or demographic matters go underreported. In America alone, over 64% of counties receive no daily original news, and over 50% of counties with COVID-19 are news deserts. We support these areas with comprehensive front-page news by merging vetted gig-economy video reporting with a local aggregator. Think of us as like a wiki for reality, providing cross-cultural coverage for the people by the people.

Open Lab Winners

Unstoppable Domains

Built a p2p chat protocol and a chat app using the protocol.

We’ve built a decentralized, encrypted chat protocol that allows any app to offer p2p chat to their users. We’ve also built a chat application using this protocol called Unstoppable Chat. Users direct message one another and can also subscribe to group channels. A blockchain domain name (ex: brad.crypto) is the username for chat. The user can sign into multiple apps with the same private key, giving you a ‘universal inbox’ - the same messages and contacts appear in every app. Users have complete control over their messages, contacts, and usernames.

Finary

An investing social network where you can make trades, interact with other investors, and join forums on any investing topic.

Finary is an investing discussion platform designed for millennials who currently invest as well as those who have always had an interest in doing so but have not yet started. In building this online financial community, we are bridging the gap between discussing investing and actually investing. Through providing a centralized platform where people can make investments, crowdsource advice, and share their thoughts with others, we hope to create a more collaborative culture around investing.

COVID Velocity

The most important, up-to-date statistic about the epidemic: how fast the spread of COVID-19 is changing in your area, right now.

When this project was proposed in March 2020, the only widely-available indicator of COVID-19 spread was the daily number of new cases per country. Expecting regional data to catch up, the COVID-19 Contagion Velocity Map was created to measure the changing rates of new case growth in local states, counties, cities, regions, and ZIP codes relative to local populations as a percentage change of moving averages -- weeks before any other resource began measuring moving averages, and only then per country. The newly-available city- and ZIP-code new case report data beginning to be released for major US cities in June positions the COVID-19 Contagion Velocity Map as a premier tool for measuring trending changes in case growth right at the precipice of a potential second wave.

Mobius

Our database aggregates instances of platform abuse, i.e. ways in which technologies have adversely impacted individuals or society.

We help teams anticipate their products’ potential harms by building a searchable database to aggregate reported instances of abuses. Our platform will surface ways in which technologies have adversely impacted individuals or society. Technologists can use our database to assess and mitigate the potential harms of their products, by learning from the past as well as keeping up with the latest platform abuse trends.

Go Spend Local

On GoSpendLocal, small businesses get paid to help causes in their area through crowdfunded support, and locals get great deals for pitching in.

Small businesses across the country have been devastated by the recent pandemic, and are finding it harder than ever to support themselves. Non-profit causes are also struggling as the businesses and people that once championed them are losing their ability to help. To fix this, we created GoSpendLocal, a website that allows small businesses to get paid to provide goods, services and support to local non-profit initiatives through crowdfunded memberships. Locals support a business with a one-time or recurring pledge and in exchange get a coupon, discount or free item, keeping spending local and helping to create a self-supporting local economy. Check it out today at gospendlocal.com.

News Atlas

A centralized COVID-19 resource for the latest top coronavirus headlines, information, and resources by state and county.

Stay up-to-date on the latest local and national coronavirus news, information, and resources, for any state and county where you and your friends or family reside. News Atlas is an interactive news map that aggregates the top COVID-19 headlines over the past week from news sources across the country. View the most recent relevant headlines and trending topics by state and county alongside graphs and the latest numbers of cases, as well as links to state-specific information on the pandemic and how you can help and contribute.