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UrbnEarth awarded "Most Innovative Venture" at Points of Light Demo Night

STARTUPS WITH A SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE BENT PITCH THEIR IDEAS FOR PRIZES TO HELP THEM GROW

With more than 200 in the audience, the Civic Accelerator Demo Night and Good Frenzy Atlanta ended a day of innovation June 16 at the Conference on Volunteering and Service – shining a light on local and national social entrepreneurs.

  Representatives from the winning teams, from left – Piggybackr, City Pioneers and urbnearth – show their award certificates.

Representatives from the winning teams, from left – Piggybackr, City Pioneers and urbnearth – show their award certificates.

The evening at the World of Coca-Cola featured the graduating spring 2014 class of the Points of Light Civic Accelerator, a 12-week boot camp for entrepreneurs launching enterprises with a social purpose.

The event started with a VIP networking session bringing together startups with industry leaders, influencers and change-makers. A warm-up competition calledGood Frenzy Atlanta, a nod to ventures emerging in the Conference's host city, featured six innovative Atlanta-based social startups that presented three-minute pitches. Prizes included a featured interview on WXIA-TV (the local NBC affiliate) and a three-month team membership to NEX Atlanta.

Then the 14 startups participating in the Civic Accelerator had three minutes to compete for some startup essentials from prize sponsors, including legal services provided by Taylor English Duma LLP, a subscription to iMeet, compliments of PGI, and profiles on CSRWire.

Congratulations to the winners:

  • Best Pitch/People's Choice – City Pioneers of Atlanta, which connects local public organizations with hometown talent to solve city challenges and create an ecosystem of public entrepreneurs
  • Greatest Impact Potential – Piggybackr of San Francisco, which teaches teams of all ages and experience levels how to crowdfund
  • Most Innovative – urbnearth of San Francisco, which makes guided gardening kits that empower everyone to experience the health benefits of homegrown food


The guest judging panel included Joy Anderson, co-founder of SOCAP and Good Capital, and president and founder of Criterion Institute; Anna Cunningham, manager of global responsibility at Starbucks Foundation; Joe Sibilia, CEO of CSRWire; and Amy Stursberg, executive director of The Blackstone Charitable Foundation.

The audience selected the People's Choice winner by using a mobile app.  

To find out what else happened at the 2014 Conference on Volunteering and Service in Atlanta, click here.

UrbnEarth Pitches at Points of Light CivicX Accelerator in Seattle

ATLANTA, April 8, 2014 – The Points of Light’s Civic Accelerator – the first national startup accelerator dedicated solely to investing in civic ventures – announced today the 14 startups selected to participate in its spring 2014 program. This will be the fourth round of the Civic Accelerator since its founding in 2012. The ventures participating in the Civic Accelerator, which include for-profits, nonprofits and hybrids, all mobilize people to create positive change and come from across the United States.

The 14 ventures will gather in Seattle on April 22 for the start of an intensive, 12-week startup boot camp that includes mentoring, entrepreneur education, peer support and networking. 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 at a June Demo Day in Atlanta.

Application and selection committees screened more than 200 social ventures and reviewed 76 formal applications before selecting the top 30 finalists. Additional criteria were included in this year’s selection process – which focused on supporting local ventures from Atlanta and the southeast region and on including cutting-edge technology-for-good ventures from across the country.

The chosen ventures use innovative methods and platforms to bring people together to address social issues in areas including education, environmental sustainability, community and economic development and technology-for-good. The platforms used to confront these issues are equally as diverse. Some entrepreneurs have produced models driven by cause marketing and micro philanthropy. Others seek to empower communities through design thinking and youth fundraising.

“We are thrilled to have completed our seed phase and to have our founding and new partners at the table as we launch the next three cohorts over 18 months,” shared Ayesha Khanna, president of the Points of Light Civic Incubator. “We continue to see breakthrough models and new solutions that engage people to move the needle on critical social issues – in areas from STEM workforce readiness to food scarcity – and look forward to another fantastic cohort kicking off in a few weeks.”

The startups participating in the Civic Accelerator’s spring 2014 program represent California, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri and Washington, D.C. They are:

  • Accountability Lab (Washington, D.C., nonprofit) The Accountability Lab empowers citizens to fight corruption and promote accountability though media and innovation in the developing world.
  • Catalysts by Design (St. Louis, nonprofit) Catalysts by Design is a network of social design organizations that partner with communities and organizations to resolve critical social challenges. 
  • City Pioneers (Atlanta, hybrid) City Pioneers 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) CODE2040 creates pathways to success for blacks and Latino/as in the innovation economy, with a focus on the critical transition from learning to earning.
  • eatiply (Minneapolis, hybrid) Eatiply is a cause marketing platform that sustainably fights hunger while providing businesses and nonprofits a valuable marketing solution.
  • Edgeflip (Chicago, for-profit) Edgeflip uses technology and analytics to accelerate the influence of nonprofits, advocacy groups and other social good organizations.
  • Food Recovery Network (College Park, Md., nonprofit) Food Recovery Network empowers students to recover food from colleges that would otherwise be wasted and donate it to hungry Americans.
  • Piggybackr (San Francisco, for-profit) Piggybackr teaches teams of all ages and experience levels how to crowdfund.
  • Project SYNCERE (Chicago, nonprofit) Project SYNCERE is a STEM enrichment program for underrepresented students in grades four through 12.
  • SEMADevelopment (Atlanta, hybrid) SEMADevelopment sells community-created mobile app games to raise money for nonprofit organizations.
  • tinyGive (Washington, D.C., for-profit) tinyGive 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) UrbnEarth makes guided gardening kits that empower everyone to experience the health benefits of homegrown food.
  • WorkReadyGrad (Atlanta, for-profit) WorkReadyGrad enables students to proactively acquire the right skills, experiences and mentors to reach their career potential.
  • Zealous Good (Chicago, for-profit) Zealous Good connects people and companies with excess items to local charities with matching needs.

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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.

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UrbnEarth Releases Its UrbMat - Urban Guided Garden Kits

January 6th, 2014 – San Francisco, Calif. – UrbnEarth, an out-of-the-box garden company designed to help urban dwellers live more naturally, is beginning the journey of providing inner city areas, schools, and communities with small-space gardening tools and skills. Phil, the company's founder, saw a huge demand for homegrown food in urban areas that was not being met.

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During a recent crowd-funding campaign where Phil raised $107,000 for another homegrown product aimed at larger-space gardening, he came to realize that consumers were most interested in mats for smaller spaces, such as apartment patios and fire escapes. He also realized that the mat system could be designed to cater to urban dwellers even more so by focusing on indoor products including mats and apartment-based growing systems. “The focus is not only to create mats now, but to innovate the indoor and outdoor natural urban living space,” says Phil. “The massive rural to urban migration over the past few generations does not mean that we need to stop eating healthy, local foods.”

According to Phil, “Urban areas are often aptly seen as food deserts, when there’s no reason to be so. Right now, some cities don’t even have fresh food markets. Fresh food markets and gardens don’t just provide healthy food; they also help build community by bringing neighborhoods together with a common interest.”  

In addition to its consumer based e-commerce site, UrbnEarth will work with retailers in communities all over the world to start spreading the unified social movement to empower consumers to grow in urban areas. The UrbMat is the first in a line of natural living products that will be released by UrbnEarth.

UrbnEarth will be working with Two Degrees Food and Feeding America to donate meals to children in need for every UrbMat Garden System sold. Additionally, UrbnEarth will maintain their partnership with EcoScraps, an organic compost company, to install mats in urban neighborhoods and in schools.  

For more information and a peek at the new products, please visit www.urbnearth.com.

About UrbnEarth:

UrbnEarth is an out-of-the-box urban garden company that designs and makes solutions to help urban dwellers live more naturally in the city and build community in their neighborhoods. Founded by in 2013, UrbnEarth’s first product, the UrbMat Garden System, is sold online at www.urbnearth.com. For more information, email info@urbnearth.com or visit www.urbnearth.com.  

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