CHICAGO, September 11, 2014 — Accelerator Impact Engine invited seven early stage companies to participate in its third program focused on businesses solving specific societal and environmental challenges. This year’s batch of startups is addressing a mix of domestic and international issues, ranging from global poverty to autism education.
Impact Engine is a 16-week accelerator program that provides entrepreneurs with the resources and tools they need to build companies that improve the human condition. Participating companies receive one-on-one mentorship, free workspace in Chicago’s startup hub 1871, access to world-class investors, $25,000 of upfront funding, and more.
“There are a lot of exciting things happening at Impact Engine, the announcement of our new class being one of them,” said Jessica Droste Yagan, Impact Engine’s Chief Executive Officer. “We’re eager to help these teams grow their businesses in addition to showing investors and the community as a whole that impact-focused businesses continue to be worthwhile financial opportunities.”
In June, Impact Engine announced the expansion of its leadership team, bringing on both Ms. Droste Yagan and Tasha Seitz as Chief Investment Officer. This new team will focus on strengthening the program as well as exploring opportunities to support more companies and impact investors starting in 2015.
This year’s program runs from September 29, 2014 to January 30, 2015. Impact Engine received applications from 17 states and 11 countries.
Impact Engine’s third class, known as Impact 3, includes:
- Basic Transfer – Basic Transfer is a mobile money startup sending cash transfers to the people who need it most. Through its peer-to-peer giving platform, Basic Transfer raises contributions from individuals around the world and wires money via mobile payment directly to ultra poor women living in developing countries.
- Guard Llama – Guard Llama is a simple and powerful way to keep students safe both on and off campus. Through Guard Llama’s wireless handheld remote, students can easily send their profile information and GPS location to authorities in the event of a crime or emergency.
- Inifiniteach – Inifiniteach is a digital learning platform for the one in 68 children diagnosed with an autism. Its first product, Skill Champ, makes it easy for parents and teachers to create customized lessons that are rooted in evidence- based autism interventions.
- Prana Diabetes – Prana Diabetes is tackling the growth of diabetes through a tool that brings together technology and social ties to promote good habits. The Prana platform enables simple phone-based monitoring and record keeping of key health parameters while also leveraging a patient’s personal support network.
- Project SAM – Project SAM is an inventory management platform targeted at multinational NGOs operating health clinics in developing countries. Project SAM allows workers in these health clinics to digitize and manage inventory records simply via automated voice calls.
- StoryPort – StoryPort is an educational, entertaining, and empowering writing portal for young authors and their guides. Its rich online writing environment empowers K-12 students to create stories of all kinds, educators to connect those stories to educational objectives, and parents to participate in the process.
- Totus Power – Totus Power develops battery packs for schools in developing countries by reusing lithium ion batteries from electric vehicles. Most of these schools lack access to reliable electricity to run their learning devices. By reusing these batteries, Totus Power captures their often-wasted value before recycling.
Co-founders Linda Darragh and Jamie Jones of the Kellogg School of Management launched Impact Engine in 2011 to build a community of entrepreneurs and investors looking to solve the world’s most pressing problems through business-based solutions. To date, 16 companies have completed the accelerator, and collectively, they’ve created 115 jobs and raised more than $12 million in seed and Series A funding.
About Impact Engine
Impact Engine is a 16-week accelerator program that supports for-profit businesses addressing today’s societal or environmental challenges. It empowers entrepreneurs, mentors, and investors to make a collective impact on society by applying smart business principles to the world’s greatest problems. Its 2014 program sponsors include CDW, Freeborn & Peters LLP, gravitytank, Hannah’s Bretzel, PayPal, SoftLayer, and Synergy Law Group.
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