Jim Fruchterman - . Palo Alto, CA, US

Jim Fruchterman Jim Fruchterman

CEO | Benetech

Palo Alto, CA, US
Top social entrepreneur and exciting, experienced keynoter





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Jim Fruchterman, Benetech
MacArthur Fellow, Technology and Social Entrepreneur
Jim Fruchterman is social entrepreneur and CEO of Benetech, a nonprofit technology company based in Palo Alto, California. A technology entrepreneur and engineer, Fruchterman has been a rocket scientist, founded two of the foremost optical character recognition companies, and created numerous technology social enterprises. Fruchterman cofounded Calera Recognition Systems (now part of Nuance, a public company) and RAF Technology, Inc. both of which were based on optical character recognition technology. In 1989, Fruchterman founded Benetech as a nonprofit social enterprise, to produce reading machines, based on the Calera technology, for people who are blind.

Benetech expanded its focus in 2000 and began creating new technology for people with disabilities as well as the human rights and environmental movements. Benetech’s programs include Bookshare, the world’s largest accessible online library for people with print disabilities, Martus, software for tracking human rights violations and Miradi, project management tools for conservationists.

Fruchterman received a MacArthur Fellowship in 2006 in recognition of his work as a pioneering social entrepreneur. He believes that technology is the ultimate leveler, allowing disadvantaged people to achieve more equality in society.

Industry Expertise (8)

Computer Software Non-Profit/Charitable Education/Learning Electrical Engineering Information Technology and Services Internet Library and Information Management Philanthropy

Areas of Expertise (4)

Socially Beneficial Applications of Technology Technology for People With Disabilities Geeks Serving Human Rights Activists Rocket Scientist to Entrepreneur to Social Entrepreneur

Accomplishments (2)

MacArthur Fellowship (professional)

MacArthur Fellowship (professional)


Education (2)

California Institute of Technology: B.S. , Engineering 1980

California Institute of Technology: M.S., Applied Physics 1980

Event Appearances (4)


Raising the Floor  Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired, Regional Conference Keynote, Cleveland, OH



Developing Software for Human Rights  Silicon Valley Human Rights Conference mini-keynote, San Francisco, CA



Technology Serving Humanity  Keynote Speech, IEEE Sections Congress, San Francisco, CA



Making the Book Truly Accessible  Tools of Change Conference, New York, NY


Sample Talks (1)

Technology Serving Humanity

What happens if a technology could do amazing things for society, but doesn't make enough money for a regular company or venture capitalist?



  • Keynote
  • Author Appearance


7000 to 15000 *Will consider certain engagements for no fee
Contact Jim Fruchterman