Points of Light Civic Accelerator Invests $50,000 Each in Two Startups in 5th Class
ATLANTA, December 22, 2014 – The Points of Light Civic Accelerator will invest $50,000 each in Project Scientist and Hello Tractor, one nonprofit and one for-profit startup selected by their social enterprise peers.
The Civic Accelerator is the first accelerator 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 goal of the accelerator is to equip each startup to seek investments and scale their social innovations.
The investment announcement came at the end of the fifth bootcamp-style startup program and investment fund, founded with support from PwC Charitable Foundation and Starbucks Foundation, and in partnership with Village Capital. Additional funders include the Committee for Children, the Blackstone Charitable Foundation, SAP and official hotel sponsor Hilton Worldwide. The accelerator has now graduated a total of 122 entrepreneurs.
This past fall, the Civic Accelerator convened 13 teams over 12 weeks with three in-person weeklong sessions in Atlanta, San Francisco and Chicago, in addition to a virtual curriculum. The participating ventures themselves selected the two ventures that will receive $50,000 investments.
Project Scientist, a nonprofit based in Charlotte, NC supports today's female scientists who will lead the world in solving tomorrow's greatest challenges through tailored extracurricular STEM programming and a dedicated peer network. "The Project Scientist team couldn’t be prouder to receive this recognition and support from Points of Light, as well as the vote of confidence from our amazing fellow start-ups,” said founder Sandy Marshall. She added, “This investment will cover our capacity needs to successfully launch Project Scientist in our second market, Los Angeles, CA.”
Hello Tractor, a for-profit venture based in Washington D.C., supports African farmers through an innovative tractor co-sharing platform. CEO and co-founder Jehiel Oliver, stated, "The Civic Accelerator enabled Hello Tractor to build deep connections with likeminded peers and mentors as part of a network to help us grow and succeed. Thanks to this program, we are closer to increasing food and income security for 35 million farmers in Nigeria and beyond”.
Ayesha Khanna, President of the Civic Incubator at Points of Light, said, “With the amazing support of our corporate partners, faculty and mentors, we helped to accelerate 13 of the most innovative impact entrepreneurs from across the country who are creating pathways to economic opportunity for all, bringing our total portfolio to 61 teams across the country. Together, we are disrupting what it means to be an engaged citizen and are pleased to welcome these innovators to the Points of Light network.”
In its third year, the Civic Accelerator has committed to invest $600,000 in U.S.-based social entrepreneurs and has paired the 61 teams with more than 150 mentors and advisers. Ventures in the Civic Accelerator portfolio have generated more than $8 million in revenue and are directly engaging almost 6 million people in solving critical social issues.
The participating ventures in the fall 2014 class include:
- Akimbo (New York, For-profit) akimboconnect.com
Akimbo connects individuals who face significant boundaries to employment with professional opportunity.
- Community Farmers Markets (Atlanta, Nonprofit) farmatl.org
Community Farmers Markets is preserving and growing the local food movement through sustainable marketplaces.
- GreenWave (New York, Nonprofit) greenwave.org
GreenWave transforms unemployed fisher(wo)men into restorative ocean farmers.
- Gun by Gun (San Francisco, Nonprofit) gunxgun.org
Gun by Gun empowers people to remove guns from their communities through crowdfunded gun buybacks.
- Hello Tractor (Washington D.C., For-Profit) hellotractor.com
Hello Tractor supports African farmers through its innovative tractor co-sharing platform.
- Library for All (New York, Nonprofit) libraryforall.org
Library for All increases access to knowledge in the developing world by delivering locally relevant ebooks through a digital library platform.
- MentorMe (Memphis, For-profit) getmentorme.com
MentorMe is reinventing the way communities invest in their greatest resource – people.
- Million Dollar Scholar (New Orleans, For-Profit) milliondollarscholar.com
Million Dollar Scholar helps parents and schools guide their students through the process of making higher education affordable.
- Project Scientist (Charlotte, Nonprofit) projectscientist.org
Project Scientist fosters today's female scientists who will lead the world in solving tomorrow's greatest challenges.
- Quarterback (Chicago, For-profit) qtrback.org
Quarterback is building the new wave of leaders for the impact economy.
- SparkMarket (Atlanta, For-Profit) sparkmarket.com
SparkMarket redefines community development through an online marketplace for business finance.
- STE(A)M Truck (Atlanta, Nonprofit) community-guilds.org/steamtruck
STE(A)M Truck is a mobile makerspace that inspires youth to learn Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math.
- Union Capital Boston (Boston, Nonprofit) unioncapitalboston.com
Union Capital Boston is a mobile-based rewards program that allows low-income families to get ahead by giving back.
The Civic Accelerator spring 2015 program will focus on ventures dedicated to increasing access and economic and educational opportunities for women and girls. Applications will open in mid-January. Interested applicants can apply at civic-x.org and find more info at civicXX.org.
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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 Committee for Children, the Blackstone Charitable Foundation, SAP and the official hotel sponsor, Hilton Worldwide. For more information, go to www.civic-x.org and follow @civicacceleratr #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 Committee for Children
The Committee for Children is a non-profit that creates research-based social-emotional learning materials to help children succeed in school and in life, while helping to create a world in which they can grow up to be peaceful, kind, responsible citizens.