Impact Spotlight: Highlighting the Work of Paola Santana and Social Glass

Darlene Damm
Aug 6, 2020

For this Impact Spotlight, I would like to highlight the work of Paola Santana and her startup Social Glass.Paola originally joined SU as a GSP participant in 2011, hailing from the Dominican Republic. Before attending SU, Paola co-established the Dominican Republic’s Constitutional Court, and worked at the National Elections Court coordinating the Elections Litigation Chamber. She was also a Fulbright Scholar who graduated from George Washington University and Georgetown University. In addition to being an SU alum, she is also one of our faculty.At Singularity University, Paola co-founded the drone transport company Matternet. You can check out her 2015 SXSW talk where she explains more of her life story and why she made the leap from trying to drive social change through governance and law to driving social change though flying robots and entrepreneurship.After spending five years getting Matternet off the ground (literally) she then launched Social Glass.Social Glass is her second startup that is working to make our world a better place, this time by using technology to create high performing governments.How well governments perform is a life and death issue. Governments are key to ensuring citizens have access to food, water, shelter, safety and healthcare. Government performance varies greatly from country to country and community to community, and probably nearly all of us are witnessing the importance of good governance during our current pandemic.Paola believes that our world has actually never seen what a high performing government can look like – and that with data, we can build the world’s first high performing governments and even create new types of governance systems entirely. You can read more about her vision here, although the company has made even more progress since this article was published.Social Glass is working on executing this big vision by first tackling the procurement sector. Her software uses data and AI to help governments around the world manage their procurement processes more efficiently and save money. At the same time, governments can start making data-informed decisions.As Paola points out in this interview with the Silicon Review - governments are both the biggest decision-makers in the world and the biggest purchasers in the world. By tackling procurement, she has identified both a key business opportunity as well as a lever that, when pulled, can improve millions, if not billions of lives.Be sure to check out Social Glass and learn more about their work.