The Points of Light Civic Accelerator, with founding partners the PwC Charitable Foundation Inc. and Starbucks Foundation, and CapitalOne Investing for Good, Vodafone Americas Foundation, U.S. Small Business Administration, Dentons, Singing for Change, and hotel sponsor Hilton Worldwide, kicks off the Spring 2017 accelerator program with ventures working to increase economic mobility across the country.
The Points of Light Civic Accelerator – the first national accelerator dedicated to investing in civic ventures – announced today the 12 ventures selected to participate in its Spring 2017 program. This will be the ninth cohort of the Civic Accelerator since its founding in 2012. The ventures come from across the United States and include for-profits and nonprofits focused on financial well-being and economic mobility to help more individuals and families succeed.
The 12 teams will gather in Atlanta from April 17-20 for the start of an intensive, 10-week entrepreneur boot camp that includes mentoring, education, peer support and networking. The teams then travel to New York and Seattle. 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.
Application and selection committees received and reviewed more than 80 curated applications before selecting the top finalists. The selected cohort of ventures represent various sectors, approaches and solutions to improve financial success for underserved populations through inclusive financial education and health, economic resilience, and innovations around work-ready skills, employment, employer products and succeeding in the gig economy.
“We are excited to support, along with our funders and partners, such promising ventures to improve financial well-being and economic mobility in communities and populations that are often overlooked,” said Ayesha Khanna, founder of the Points of Light Civic Accelerator. “With more than 57 percent of adults in the United States struggling financially, and the financial health of many people increasingly threatened, our ventures provide diverse solutions that address gaps in financial education and access and building financial resilience. Some ventures also address how to disrupt cycles that can become systemic, like low wage jobs and economic challenges. We look forward to helping these teams and ventures grow, as they solve pressing social issues many face.”
The civic startups participating in the Civic Accelerator Spring 2017 program, representing Arizona, California, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Nebraska, Washington and Washington, D.C., are:
CommunityShare (Tucson, AZ) – Nonprofit
CommunityShare puts the public back into public education by connecting local community partners with the needs and goals of educators and their students.
Edquity (New York, NY) – For-profit
Edquity is a first-of-its-kind college financial planning app, supporting students through every financial decision on their road to graduation.
Hip Pocket (Lincoln, NE) – For-profit
Hip Pocket is a financial technology software company that creates apps to help people make better financial decisions from their phone in just minutes.
Mission Bit (San Francisco, CA) – Nonprofit
Mission Bit interrupts generational poverty by expanding coding education to high school students and offering affordable coding courses for low-income adults.
Mytual (Detroit, MI) – For-profit
Mytual helps owner-only businesses and freelancers maximize their retirement savings by streamlining access to Individual 401(k) plans.
NaTakallam (New York, NY) – For-profit
NaTakallam provides an income to refugees by leveraging their native language skills and connecting them to users worldwide for online language practice and learning.
Project Basta (New York, NY) – Nonprofit
Project Basta bridges the gap between employers and first-generation college graduates through an intensive professional placement and career mentoring program.
Sou Sou (Washington, D.C.) – For-profit
Sou Sou is a mobile-first investment platform that allows women investors to invest in women-led startups and build wealth together across the globe.
SpringFour (Chicago, IL) – For-profit
SpringFour improves loan performance for financial institutions by equipping call centers and consumer-facing applications with the most relevant, up-to-date and comprehensive financial health resources.
The Prison Scholar Fund (Seattle, WA) – Nonprofit
The Prison Scholar Fund opens access to postsecondary education and employment opportunities for incarcerated students with financing and mentoring.
The Virtual Scholarship Center (Atlanta, GA) – Nonprofit
The Virtual Scholarship Center is a scholarship preparatory platform that empowers students, counselors and parents to create 4-year college funding strategies.
YourCasa (Atlanta, GA) – For-profit
Your Casa increases Hispanic homeownership nationally by educating, preparing and connecting homebuyers with bilingual professionals that can help them achieve their American dream.
About Points of Light
Points of Light – the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service – mobilizes millions of people to take action that is changing the world. Through affiliates in 250 cities and partnerships with thousands of nonprofits and corporations, Points of Light engages 4 million volunteers in 30 million hours of service each year. We bring the power of people to bear where it’s needed most. For more information, go to www.pointsoflight.org.
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 innovation. The Civic Accelerator was launched in 2012, with support from founding partners PwC Charitable Foundation and Starbucks Foundation and in partnership with Village Capital. In addition, we receive support from CapitalOne Investing for Good, Vodafone Americas Foundation, US Small Business Administration, Dentons, Singing for Change and official hotel sponsor, Hilton Worldwide. Visit cvcx.org for more information or follow the accelerator on Twitter at @civicacceleratr and across social media at #CIVICX.