Noviaris was founded in Fall of 2016 by MC Villasenor, who at the time was a sophomore at San Francisco University High School. As part of the school curriculum, her class went on a field trip to St. Anthony’s, a San Francisco nonprofit dedicated to providing support and services to San Francisco residents living in poverty.
While at St. Anthony’s, MC learned about the Tenderloin Technology Lab, an initiative sponsored by the St. Anthony’s Foundation to provide computer classes and one-on-one technology training to underserved populations in San Francisco. Knowing how important access to digital devices is in her own life, MC saw an opportunity to complement initiatives like the Tenderloin Technology lab. Her idea was to seek donations of older phones, tablets and laptops from local businesses, educational institutions, and individuals, then redistribute this surplus technology to individuals in need, giving them 24/7 access to the digital ecosystem. In order to distribute the devices, to individuals who both needed them and could effectively use them, she would partner with local nonprofits, leveraging both their community relationships and technology training infrastructure. With an initial donation of iPads from MC’s high school, Noviaris was born.