In 2016, Propel, a Brooklyn-based start-up and “anti-poverty software company,” released a smartphone app that lets food stamp recipients easily look up how much money was left in their accounts, rather than call an 800 number or keep paper receipts. Today, one million food stamp participants use Propel’s app, and the start-up has added features like links to food coupons, healthy recipes, budgeting tools and job opportunities. But in the last few months, the Propel app has been hobbled or become unavailable in many states, sometimes for weeks. Behind the slowdown is a big government contractor, Conduent, which runs the food stamp networks in 25 states, including New York, California and Pennsylvania. In those states, where 60 percent of Propel’s users live, Conduent maintains the database that Propel’s app uses to let people check their accounts. "The Propel-Conduent conflict offers a textbook case of a digital newcomer running into resistance from the old order. The twist is that the newcomer said it did not want to destroy the incumbent but instead build atop it to do good for underserved populations, as well as build a business for itself."
More at this New York Times article.
-=-=-=-=-=- Jayne Cravens Author, The LAST Virtual Volunteering Guidebook
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