the WHITE HOUSEPresident Barack Obama

Search form

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

White House Launches Presidential Innovation Fellows Program

WASHINGTON, DC – US Chief Technology Officer Todd Park announced the first class of “Presidential Innovation Fellows” today. Selected from an applicant pool of nearly 700 innovators from across the country, the 18  “Fellows” have agreed to spend six months in Washington to work on five high-impact projects aimed at supporting entrepreneurs, small businesses and the economy, while significantly improving how the Federal Government serves the American people.

“The Presidential Innovation Fellows program leverages the ingenuity of leading problem solvers from across America together with federal innovators to tackle projects that aim to fuel job creation, save taxpayers money and improve the lives of Americans in tangible ways,” Park said. “These private sector innovators bring their entrepreneurial expertise to the table that has helped jump-start high-tech companies, increase efficiency and public engagement, and redefine how technology is used in business."

The five projects were selected because they are tough but tractable challenges whose solutions could provide immediate benefits and cost-savings to American citizens, entrepreneurs and businesses. The first class of 18 Presidential Innovation Fellows were chosen on the basis of individuals’ skill sets and their relevance to the chosen challenges, as well as using cross-sector teams of innovators who can rapidly prototype and test solutions in an iterative way until success is achieved.

The five projects, and the Fellows who will be working on each, are:

Blue Button for America will spread the ability for millions of Americans to easily and securely download their own health information electronically, all while fueling the emergence of time and money saving products and businesses.

• Henry Wei, MD – Practicing doctor and informatics expert, New York, NY
• Ryan Panchadsaram – Founder of Pipette, San Francisco, CA
• Matt McCall – Information systems expert, Baltimore, MD

RFP-EZ aims to develop an online marketplace that will make it easier for the government to do business with small high-growth tech companies, and enabling the government to buy better, lower-cost tech solutions from the full range of American businesses. 

• Clay Johnson – Best-selling author, open government technologist and entrepreneur, Washington, DC
• Jed Wood – Interaction designer, web developer, and entrepreneur, Chicago, IL
• Adam Becker – Web developer and co-founder of civic engagement startup GovHub, Oakland, CA

MyGov will create a prototype of a streamlined online system enabling citizens to easily access the information and services from across the Federal Government.

• Kara DeFrias – User experience writer from TurboTax San Diego, CA
• Phil Ashlock – Open government program manager and co-founder of Civic Commons, Brooklyn, NY
• Danny Chapman – Award-winning website designer, Riverside, RI
• Greg Gershman – Software engineer and serial entrepreneur Baltimore, MD
• Ben Balter – Software engineer, Washington, DC

The 20% Initiative will work to transition “the last mile” of international development assistance payments from cash to electronic methods – lowering administrative costs, promoting financial inclusion, and reducing theft, fraud, and violence.

• Karl Mehta – Serial entrepreneur and founder of PlaySpan, Fremont, CA

Open Data Initiatives will accelerate and expand Administration efforts to make government data more publicly accessible in “computer-readable” form and spur the use of those data by entrepreneurs as fuel for the creation of new products, services, and jobs.

• Ian Kalin – Navy veteran and managing director of an energy sector startup, San Francisco, CA
• Marina Martin – Web developer and business efficiency expert, Seattle, WA
• Raphael Majma – Open data researcher, Brooklyn, NY
• Nick Bramble – Director, Law & Media Program, Information Society Project at Yale Law School, New Haven, CT
• Dmitry Kachaev – Software engineer, Arlington, VA
• Nathaniel Manning – Robotics entrepreneur and member of the World Economic Forum’s Personal Data team and Google’s Data Colloquium team, San Francisco, CA

To learn more about the Presidential Innovation Fellows program, please visit: