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 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.
Jim Fruchterman gives an inspirational keynote titled "Social Change at Scale: That's Open Source Innovation!" at the 2012 GHTC