FastFWD Accelerator Finishes First Round Focused on Public Safety - Generocity Philly

May 19, 2014 2:03 pm

FastFWD Accelerator Finishes First Round Focused on Public Safety

Image via FastFWD website The first 12-week round of the social entrepreneurship accelerator FastFWD came to a close last Friday with a day of investor pitches by 10 companies focused on public safety. The products and services they presented ranged from educational programs for prisoners to new ways to organize evidence for law enforcement agencies. The […]

Image via FastFWD website


The first 12-week round of the social entrepreneurship accelerator FastFWD came to a close last Friday with a day of investor pitches by 10 companies focused on public safety. The products and services they presented ranged from educational programs for prisoners to new ways to organize evidence for law enforcement agencies.

The companies, in most cases represented by their founders or top executives,  explained what they do, why it is important, and why it will work as a business in a short 10-15 minute pitch. In addition, each made the case for varying levels of equity investment and seed funding from the investors.

FastFWD was made by possible by a $1 million grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies, which Philadelphia competed for nationally, and a collaboration of the startup accelerator GoodCompany Ventures, the Mayor’s Office and New Urban Mechanics and the Wharton Social Impact Initiative out of the University of Pennsylvania.

“How do we enable cities to take risks?” asked Story Bellows, co-director of the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics, in an introduction to the pitch event.

The FastFWD initiative has attempted to answer this question by creating a venue for new ideas to scale. The initiative started by determining important social issues through the Wharton Social Impact Initiative and the city, and then helping to develop startups that could address those issues. The companies were given the opportunity to test their idea by launching pilots with the City of Philadelphia. Public safety was the issue chosen for the first round, with a focus on vacant lots, re-entry employment, enabling technology and neighborhood surveillance.

Just prior to the pitch event on Thursday night, FastFWD announced that public safety would also be the focus of the second round, but this time with a focus on community stability, including housing, gang violence and substance abuse.

“For cycle two, we welcome applicants who look not only at reactive approaches to improving public safety, but also those who are innovating to be proactive in overall community stability,” according to the FastFWD website.

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