Points of Light Civic Accelerator Invests $50,000 Each in Two Startups: Piggybackr and Project SYNCERE
ATLANTA, June 30, 2014 – The Points of Light Civic Accelerator will invest $50,000 each in Piggybackr and Project SYNCERE, one for-profit and one nonprofit 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 fourth 12-week boot-camp style program, founded with support from PwC Charitable Foundation and Starbucks Foundation. Additional funders include the Blackstone Charitable Foundation, SAP and official hotel sponsor Hilton Worldwide. The accelerator has graduated a total of 48 teams of entrepreneurs.
This past spring, the Civic Accelerator convened 14 teams over 12 weeks with three in-person weeklong sessions in Seattle, New York City and Atlanta, in addition to a virtual curriculum. The participating ventures themselves selected the two ventures that will receive $50,000 investments.
Piggybackr, a for-profit venture based in San Francisco, teaches teams of all ages and experience levels how to crowdfund. Andrea Lo, CEO and co-founder of Piggybackr, and her team will use the investment to reach more young people across the nation. Lo credits the Civic Accelerator with helping her gain clarity and focus at a critical point in her venture's growth. “The accelerator helped us build a network of like-minded peers across the country and provided us access to relevant mentors, partners and potential clients,” Lo said.
Project SYNCERE, a nonprofit based in Chicago, is a STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) enrichment program for underrepresented students in grades four through 12. "This investment will go a long way in helping us achieve our mission of empowering the next generation of future engineers and innovators,” said Executive Director and co-founder Jason Coleman. “We were honored by this vote of confidence by our peers.”
Ayesha Khanna, President of the Civic Incubator at Points of Light, said, “We are thrilled to be working with so many teams solving complex social issues while disrupting what it means to be an engaged citizen. Much of the program’s success is due to engaged corporate partners, faculty and mentors who stay connected with the entrepreneurs long after the class ends.”
The Civic Accelerator has begun to focus on going deeper in several key regions, including the Southeast, Khanna said. This cohort included several Atlanta-based ventures, and the accelerator co-sponsored with Grok Ventures a pilot fast pitch for Atlanta startups.
Now entering its third year, the Civic Accelerator has committed to invest $500,000 in U.S.-based social entrepreneurs and has paired the 48 teams with more than 150 mentors and advisers. Ventures in the Civic Accelerator portfolio have generated more than $5 million in revenue and are directly engaging 150,000 people in solving critical social issues.
The participating ventures in the spring 2014 class include:
- Accountability Lab (Washington, D.C., nonprofit) empowers citizens to fight corruption and promote accountability though media and innovation in the developing world.
- Catalysts by Design (St. Louis, nonprofit) is a network of social design organizations that partner with communities and organizations to resolve critical social challenges.
- City Pioneers (Atlanta, hybrid) 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) creates pathways to success for blacks and Latino/as in the innovation economy, with a focus on the critical transition from learning to earning.
- Edgeflip (Chicago, for-profit) uses technology and analytics to accelerate the influence of nonprofits, advocacy groups and other social good organizations.
- Food Recovery Network (College Park, Md., nonprofit) empowers students to recover food from colleges that would otherwise be wasted and donate it to hungry Americans.
- Linkedcause (Minneapolis, for-profit) provides charities a platform to develop branded, transactional campaigns that engage and provide value to business donors.
- Piggybackr (San Francisco, for-profit) teaches teams of all ages and experience levels how to crowdfund.
- Project SYNCERE (Chicago, nonprofit) is a STEM enrichment program for underrepresented students in grades four through 12.
- SEMADevelopment (Atlanta, hybrid) sells community-created mobile app games to raise money for nonprofit organizations.
- tinyGive (Washington, D.C., for-profit) 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) makes guided gardening kits that empower everyone to experience the health benefits of homegrown food.
- WorkReadyGrad (Atlanta, for-profit) enables students to proactively acquire the right skills, experiences and mentors to reach their career potential.
- Zealous Good (Chicago, for-profit) connects people and companies with excess items to local charities with matching needs.
The Civic Accelerator will begin accepting applications for the fall 2014 class today. Interested applicants can apply at www.pointsoflight.org/CivicX.
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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.