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Two 5th Class Startups Receive $50,000 Each From Points of Light Civic Accelerator

by Milicent Atieno

Two 5th Class Startups Receive $50,000 Each From Points of Light Civic Accelerator

Project Scientist a nonprofit startup and Hello Tractor a for-profit startup are set to benefit from $50,000 each from the Points of Light Civic Accelerator. As the first accelerator and investment fund available in the USA, Civic Accelerator focuses on “civic ventures” under the for-profit and nonprofit start-ups category; startups that include people in the process of coming up with solutions that address critical social problems.

The accelerator aims at equipping startups looking for investments and boosts their social innovations. The announcement of the investment was made at the end of the 5th bootcamp-style startups program and investment fund founded through collaboration between Starbucks Foundation, PwC Charitable Foundation, and Village Capital. Other funders include the Blackstone Charitable Foundation, the Committee for Children, SAP and Hilton Worldwide, which is the official hotel sponsor.

Points of Light Civic Accelerator has now made it to a total of 122 entrepreneurs. In just the past fall, the accelerator convened 13 teams in 12 weeks with a three in-person weeklong sessions held in Atlanta, San Francisco and Chicago. The participating ventures picked out two ventures that will get $50,000 investment each.

Project Scientist, a nonprofit based in Charlotte, NC. It gives support to female scientists involved in the inventions of tomorrow’s greatest challenges by using tailored extracurricular STEM programming and a dedicated peer network.

Project Scientist Founder, Sandy Marshall said, “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 startups. This investment will cover our capacity needs to successfully launch Project Scientist in our second market, Los Angeles, CA.”

Hello Tractor for-profit startups based in Washington D.C. The venture supports African farmers through an innovative program for tractor co-sharing. The CEO and co-Founder of Hello Tractor said, “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.”

The President of the Civic Incubator at Points of Light, Ayesha Khanna 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.

On its 3rd year running, Civic Accelerator committed itself to invest $600,000 in social entrepreneurs startups based in the U.S. and has partnered with 61 teams with over 150 mentors and advisers. Startups in the Civic Accelerator portfolio have made over $8 million in revenue and are directly involving about 6 million people in coming up with solutions to critical social problems.

The fall 2014 class of venture included:

  1. Akimbo a for-profit venture based in New York that connects individuals facing significant boundaries to employment with professional opportunity.
  2. Community Farmers Markets – a nonprofit venture based in Atlanta, is preserving and growing the local food movement through sustainable marketplaces.
  3. GreenWave – a nonprofit venture based in San Francisco that is empowering people to remove guns from their communities through crowd funded gun buybacks.
  4. Hello Tractor – a for-profit venture based in Washington D.C. supporting African farmers through innovative tractor co-sharing platform.
  5. Library for All – a nonprofit venture based in New York trying to increase access to knowledge in the developing world by delivering locally relevant ebooks through a digital library platform.
  6. MentorMe – a for-profit venture based in Memphis that is reinventing the way communities invest in the people.
  7. Million Dollar Scholar – a for-profit organization based in New Orleans helping parents and schools guide their students through the process of making higher education affordable.
  8. Project Scientist – a nonprofit based in Charlotte fostering today’s female scientists who will lead the world in solving tomorrow’s greatest challenges.
  9. Quarterback – a for-profit venture based in Chicago that is building a new wave of leaders to impact the economy.
  10. SparkMarket – a for-profit venture based in Atlanta that is redefining community development through an online marketplace for business finance.
  11. Union Capital Boston – a nonprofit venture based in Boston. It is a mobile-based rewards program that allows low-income families to get ahead by giving back.

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