Two Startups Creating Opportunities for Women and Girls Each Receive $50,000 Investments from the Points of Light Civic Accelerator
Thirteen Ventures Participating in the Program’s Spring 2015 Class Address Issues That Include Equal Access and Economic Justice
ATLANTA, June 30, 2015 – The Points of Light Civic Accelerator announced today that it will invest $50,000 each in Mission Propelle (formerly Smarty Pants Yoga) and Move This World – one for-profit and one nonprofit startup. Both are creating greater opportunities for women and girls to succeed in today’s economy.
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 came at the end of the sixth boot-camp-style startup program and investment fund, initially launched in 2012 with founding supporters PwC Charitable Foundation and Starbucks Foundation. Additional funders include the GE Foundation, Outerwall, Singing for Change, McKenna Long & Aldridge, and official hotel sponsor Hilton Worldwide.
This past spring, the Civic Accelerator convened 13 teams over 10 weeks with three in-person, weeklong sessions in Atlanta, Seattle and New York City, in addition to an in-depth virtual curriculum. The participants themselves selected the two ventures that will receive $50,000 investments.
This round of the program was an experiment to refine the accelerator model to convene like-minded founders, mentors and partners focused on one issue area, to go deeper into systemic solutions. Women founded or co-founded the participating teams – all focused on building innovative, inclusive and scalable models to address issues that include equal access and economic justice.
Mission Propelle, a for-profit startup based in Chicago, empowers young girls to advocate for themselves and their communities.
"The Civic Accelerator, along with our fellow participants and mentors, helped push us to clarify our message, open ourselves to critical feedback, and forge strategic goals that will propel our business forward,” said Mission Propelle CEO and co-founder Annie Warshaw. “We are creating a tech platform that aggregates school data, student data, and e-books and automates lesson plans to allow us to scale and empower girls throughout the country.”
Move This World, a New York City-based nonprofit venture, harnesses the power of creative expression to build capacity for educators and school leaders to address the emotional well being of themselves and their students in order to foster safe and supported learning environments.
“Move This World is honored to have been peer-selected for one of two $50,000 investments,” said Ben Fisher, Move This World’s director of advancement. “I’m personally grateful to the Civic Accelerator team, which guided me through an unparalleled professional and venture development experience. I’m amazed and humbled by this very special group of entrepreneurs, the friends I’ve made and the endless possibilities of social innovation to create change in the world.”
Ayesha Khanna, founder of the Points of Light Civic Accelerator, added: “With the 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 removing barriers in general – and empowering women and girls specifically. We are excited to see the results from our now more than 150 alumni who have so far raised more than $8 million in revenue and have engaged 6 million people to solve challenging social problems. 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 invested $600,000 in U.S.-based social entrepreneurs and has paired 74 teams with more than 150 mentors and advisers.
The participating ventures in the spring 2015 class are:
- Develop Link (New York, for-profit) is a platform that helps health care professionals in developing countries improve care coordination and make more effective strategic decisions.
- The Dress Project (Atlanta, hybrid) collects donated formal dresses and resells them in Malawi to fund education for young girls.
- Firelily (Chicago, for-profit) is a fundraising platform dedicated to those impacted by disaster and the organizations that serve them.
- GirlForward (Chicago, nonprofit) is dedicated to creating opportunities for refugee girls who have been resettled in the U.S. from countries around the world.
- HeartMob (New York, nonprofit) provides real-time support to individuals experiencing online harassment, and gives bystanders concrete actions they can take to intervene.
- Her Agenda (New York, for-profit) offers professional millennial women access to career advice and a curated database of advancement opportunities, panels and conferences.
- InvestNextDoor (Seattle, for-profit) is the first community-focused, online lending marketplace enabling small businesses to borrow directly from local investors.
- Mission Propelle (Chicago, for-profit) empowers young girls to advocate for themselves and their communities.
- MotherCoders (San Francisco, nonprofit) offers a tech orientation program with on-site childcare for moms headed toward careers in technology.
- Move This World (New York, nonprofit) harnesses the power of creative expression to build capacity for educators and school leaders to address the emotional well being of themselves and their students in order to foster safe and supported learning environments.
- MSwift (Chicago, for-profit) is a mobile financial management tool for individuals without access to banks in emerging markets that tracks financial data and provides intelligent suggestions on how to improve economic well-being.
- Pentorship (Atlanta, nonprofit) creates accessible, innovative and relevant educational products for the incarcerated.
- Women LEAD Nepal (Washington, D.C., nonprofit) empowers the next generation of female leaders in Nepal.
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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 its social innovation. 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 GE Foundation, Outerwall, McKenna Long & Aldridge LLC, Singing for Change and our official hotel sponsor, Hilton Worldwide. We are pleased to also welcome Georgia-Pacific as our Atlanta Regional Sponsor. 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.