January 25, 2021
Atlanta has been at the epicenter of the civil and human rights movement for decades. That made it the perfect place to launch Cox Enterprises Social Impact Accelerator, powered by Techstars.
Led by Barry Givens, the program just announced its 2nd cohort. The ten selected startups come from across the country and include founders working to change how people use technology to interact with government, law enforcement, and ultimately address ongoing social justice issues.
Givens told Hypepotamus that the program received hundreds of applications, including many from seasoned founders. “The fact that these companies continue to go unsupported and underfunded truly points to the inequities in the innovation economy. We have a lot of faith in this class and hope this will spark a trend to continue to support this vertical,” he said.
Notable Southeast-based startups selected include:
- Alabama-based Acclinate: Hypepotamus featured the biopharma startup as it opened a Birmingham office and launched its Now Included platform to help diversify clinical trials.
- Atlanta-based Empowrd: Hypepotamus covered Empowrd back in 2019. The team works to streamline how voters could connect with elected officials.
- Atlanta-based Legal Equalizer: A platform to share legal information and alerts loved ones in real-time during law enforcement encounters.
- Minwo (Virginia): Connects venture capital firms and incubators with minority and women-owned businesses to accelerate their growth and close the wealth gap.
Other startups selected for the cohort include:
- Co:census (New York City): Enhances equity in social surveys intended to assess community needs for people of color and/or with limited English proficiency.
- COMMUNITYx (Los Angeles): Founded by Chloe Cheyenne helps users connect and mobilize around common causes.
- Govrn (San Francisco): Makes politics simple, transparent, and effective for people who want democracy to be more trustworthy.
- JusticeText (Irvine, California): Helps public defenders to analyze critical video and audio data by enabling users to upload body camera footage, interrogation videos, courtroom proceedings and jail calls.
- STRE.ME (Indiana): Creates unique educational experiences for individuals to learn how to manage their biases in a safe, convenient, and confidential manner.
- Unpacking: Builds culturally competent teams through an online learning platform that navigates historical context, real-world scenarios, and interactive gaming.
This builds on the momentum from the program’s first cohort. Given told Hypepotamus that three companies (with a fourth on the way) raised funds in the first 12 months. “We believe this class will follow that trajectory,” added Givens.
We asked Givens what lessons Techstars Social Impact will bring into the future of the program after going through the first cohort. He said: “Resiliency – we saw how our first founders had to pivot during COVID and they were remarkable. When you break down the barriers to resources and networks, impact founders and underrepresented founders will thrive as well as any other demographic or vertical.”
Congrats to all those founders selected! We can’t wait to hear about your progress throughout the program.