This article was originally published by Points of Light, with founding support from PwC Charitable Foundation, Inc. and Starbucks Foundation, and added support from Blackstone Charitable Foundation, SAP and official hotel sponsor Hilton Worldwide.
The Points of Light’s Civic Accelerator – the first national startup accelerator dedicated solely to investing in civic ventures – announced today the 14 startups selected to participate in its spring 2014 program. This will be the fourth round of the Civic Accelerator since its founding in 2012. The ventures participating in the Civic Accelerator, which include for-profits, nonprofits and hybrids, all mobilize people to create positive change and come from across the United States.
The 14 ventures will gather in Seattle on April 22 for the start of an intensive, 12-week startup boot camp that includes mentoring, entrepreneur education, peer support and networking. Points of Light will offer two of the most promising ventures – as selected by the entrepreneurs themselves – a $50,000 investment following the conclusion of the program at a June Demo Day in Atlanta.
Application and selection committees screened more than 200 social ventures and reviewed 76 formal applications before selecting the top 30 finalists. Additional criteria were included in this year’s selection process – which focused on supporting local ventures from Atlanta and the southeast region and on including cutting-edge technology-for-good ventures from across the country.
The chosen ventures use innovative methods and platforms to bring people together to address social issues in areas including education, environmental sustainability, community and economic development and technology-for-good. The platforms used to confront these issues are equally as diverse. Some entrepreneurs have produced models driven by cause marketing and micro philanthropy. Others seek to empower communities through design thinking and youth fundraising.
“We are thrilled to have completed our seed phase and to have our founding and new partners at the table as we launch the next three cohorts over 18 months,” shared Ayesha Khanna, president of the Points of Light Civic Incubator. “We continue to see breakthrough models and new solutions that engage people to move the needle on critical social issues – in areas from STEM workforce readiness to food scarcity – and look forward to another fantastic cohort kicking off in a few weeks.”
The startups participating in the Civic Accelerator’s spring 2014 program represent California, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri and Washington, D.C. They are:
- Accountability Lab (Washington, D.C., nonprofit) The Accountability Lab empowers citizens to fight corruption and promote accountability though media and innovation in the developing world.
- Catalysts by Design (St. Louis, nonprofit) Catalysts by Design is a network of social design organizations that partner with communities and organizations to resolve critical social challenges.
- City Pioneers (Atlanta, hybrid) City Pioneers strengthens cities by connecting local public organizations with hometown talent to solve city challenges and to create an ecosystem of public entrepreneurs.
- Code2040 (San Francisco, nonprofit) CODE2040 creates pathways to success for blacks and Latino/as in the innovation economy, with a focus on the critical transition from learning to earning.
- eatiply (Minneapolis, hybrid) Eatiply is a cause marketing platform that sustainably fights hunger while providing businesses and nonprofits a valuable marketing solution.
- Edgeflip (Chicago, for-profit) Edgeflip uses technology and analytics to accelerate the influence of nonprofits, advocacy groups and other social good organizations.
- Food Recovery Network (College Park, Md., nonprofit) Food Recovery Network empowers students to recover food from colleges that would otherwise be wasted and donate it to hungry Americans.
- Piggybackr (San Francisco, for-profit) Piggybackr teaches teams of all ages and experience levels how to crowdfund.
- Project SYNCERE (Chicago, nonprofit) Project SYNCERE is a STEM enrichment program for underrepresented students in grades four through 12.
- SEMADevelopment (Atlanta, hybrid) SEMADevelopment sells community-created mobile app games to raise money for nonprofit organizations.
- tinyGive (Washington, D.C., for-profit) tinyGive is a micro-philanthropy platform that enables individuals to support causes and social good organizations through simple, social and meaningful actions.
- UrbnEarth (San Francisco, for-profit) UrbnEarth makes guided gardening kits that empower everyone to experience the health benefits of homegrown food.
- WorkReadyGrad (Atlanta, for-profit) WorkReadyGrad enables students to proactively acquire the right skills, experiences and mentors to reach their career potential.
- Zealous Good (Chicago, for-profit) Zealous Good connects people and companies with excess items to local charities with matching needs.
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About the Points of Light Civic Accelerator
The Points of Light Civic Accelerator is the first accelerator program and investment fund in the country focused on “civic ventures” – for-profit and nonprofit startups that include people as part of the solution to critical social problems. The three-month, boot camp-style program convenes 10-15 teams in person and online with the goal of equipping each startup to seek investments and scale their social innovations. The Civic Accelerator was launched in 2012, in partnership with Village Capital, and receives generous support from PwC Charitable Foundation and Starbucks Foundation, both founding partners, and from the Blackstone Charitable Foundation, SAP and the official hotel sponsor, Hilton Worldwide. For more information, go to www.civic-x.org and follow @PointsofLight #CivicX.
About PwC Charitable Foundation, Inc.
The PwC Charitable Foundation, Inc., a section 501(c)(3) organization, makes charitable contributions to the people of PwC in times of financial hardship, and to nonprofit organizations that support and promote education and humanitarianism.
About The Blackstone Charitable Foundation
The Blackstone Charitable Foundation directs its resources and applies the intellectual capital of the firm to foster entrepreneurship and job creation in select geographic areas across the United States and globally.