According to Forbes, Affinis Labs is a “startup incubator for companies that are all about selling products and services with a positive social impact on Muslims globally.” The founders are Quintan Wiktorowicz and Shahed Amanullah — Mr. Wiktorowicz served as the White House’s Director for Community Partnerships at NSC where he was involved in efforts to counter extremism and Mr. Amanullah was a senior advisor for technology at the State Department and is also a self-described “serial entrepreneur,” having headed Zabihah (the world’s largest Halal restaurant guide).
Speaking about Affinis Labs, Mr Amanullah commented, “We realized that the more empowered young people are, the less they gravitate to extremist movements. We also wanted to combine the power of entrepreneurship with the social causes we were trying to impact through our work with the government.”
The lab focuses on two areas – developing and consulting startups, and running hackathons to stir up ideas for such hot button topics as climate change and extremism. Last February, a three-day hackathon was held (sponsored by Facebook and Google) with a mandate to create campaigns to fight online hate and extremism. The winner was Activate Your Squad who invented a technology that allows social media users to send an alert when trolled online.