Today UnLtd USA announced 5 new Austin-based social impact startups selected for its second cohort, joining our current portfolio. Twice a year, UnLtd USA selects cohorts of Austin’s most promising entrepreneurs tackling our toughest social and environmental challenges, backing them with seed funding and a full year of ongoing venture support. Over the course of the year, entrepreneurs participate in a series of workshops and trainings with top Austin-based founders, connect with the UnLtd USA Mentor Network and receive customized support from the UnLtd USA Venture Support team to accelerate their progress toward further financing, scale and impact.
Cohort II includes:
- Buzz White - BlueHub Health offers a digital platform for patients and healthcare providers to collect, store and share healthcare information, alleviating the administrative burden that diminishes the quality of patient care
- Casey Smith - Cooking Up Cultures breaks down cultural barriers in communities by fostering cross-cultural learning through immersive language and cooking instruction
- Joe Troyen - PenPal Schools promotes cultural awareness and literacy across cultures, connecting students in classrooms to discuss global issues
- Meg Erskine - Open Arms provides livable wage employment to refugee women in Austin through private label manufacturing for socially conscious businesses
- Paul Abumov - ScribeSense automates the grading process for teachers with 99% accuracy, saving teachers time and ultimately decreasing teacher turnover rates
Cohort II was selected at UnLtd USA's Final Selection Panels hosted at Capital Factory, along with the support of our Final Selection Panelists:
- Josh Baer of Capital Factory
- Brandon Marker of Techstars
- Micah Sagebiel of Michael & Susan Dell Foundation
- Suzi Sosa of Verb
- Eric Goff, Co-founder of the Compost Pedallers and UnLtd USA Cohort I alum
This year UnLtd USA has partnered with Washington D.C.-based The Hitachi Foundation, an independent, philanthropic organization that seeks to discover, demonstrate and expand business practices that both measurably improve economic opportunities for low-wealth individuals in the U.S. and enhance long-term business value.
With the support of The Hitachi Foundation, UnLtd USA will grow the number of Austin-based social entrepreneurs it funds and supports. “In 2014 we selected a first cohort of five entrepreneurs,” says Zoe Schlag, Founder & Executive Director of UnLtd USA. “Based on the quality and quantity of impact-focused startups we’ve been able to identify in Austin just over the past year, we’re increasing our efforts to select, fund and support two cohorts in 2015.”
“The Hitachi Foundation is pleased to help UnLtd USA bolster companies that solve social and environmental challenges in Austin,” said Barbara Dyer, president and CEO of The Hitachi Foundation. “UnLtd USA challenges entrepreneurs to think and act for the long-term good of society, a nice counter-weight to the prevailing pressures for short-term exits.”
Cohort II joins the entrepreneurs in UnLtd USA Cohort I, currently midway through their year of venture support. These include: the Compost Pedallers, GirlsGuild, Mentegram, PelotonU and Ten Acre Organics.
To learn more about UnLtd USA or learn more about applying for funding and support, please visit www.unltdusa.org. Applications for Cohort III will open in early Fall 2015.