Building a visionary platform for underrepresented voices requires a visionary infrastructure to support it. This month we welcome Ben Werdmuller to our team as our first Chief Technology Officer. With 25 years of experience working in software development, web advocacy, and founding, advising and investing in mission-driven newsrooms and startups, he is well equipped to help ensure our technological backend sustains our growth.
As an early blogger, Ben saw the potential of using the web to help people learn and share information with each other. His first platform, Elgg, was used to train Oxfam aid workers to share resources between nonprofits and in higher education around the world. He believes the web is at its most beautiful when it is built a million different ways for a million different people.
His work has taken him to startups like Latakoo, which helps TV newsrooms around the world gather footage from the field quickly using commodity internet hardware. He also worked at Known, an independent community platform used by KQED, among others, and for Medium as a senior engineer. He later went on to work as the West Coast Director of Investments at Matter, an early stage media accelerator that partnered with PRX, KQED and the Knight Foundation.
In his investment work, Ben has funded women-led media companies like The Establishment and Kerning Cultures, as well as a privacy startup led by an activist collective that has Chelsea Manning on the board. He has also taught design thinking to newsrooms and advised a portfolio of over 70 media startups. Most recently, he was head of engineering at ForUsAll, growing and leading a team of 24 engineers in helping the underserved build financial security in retirement.
Throughout his career, Ben has blogged about technology, fairness and about his life. Writing is his first love and he considers himself lucky to have worked alongside and truth-tellers. His personal mission — elevating voices and distributing equity — aligns so clearly with ours. Please join us in welcoming Ben or congratulate him directly at @benwerd.