The Points of Light Civic Accelerator “Veterans Solutions Lab” graduated 11 startups that are addressing the unique challenges faced by veterans and their families as they transition to civilian life.
ATLANTA, July 31, 2018 – The Points of Light Civic Accelerator (CivicX) announced today that it will grant $50,000 each to Dog Tag Inc. (Washington, D.C.), a nonprofit enterprise, and Veterati (New York, NY), a for-profit enterprise. Both ventures are focused on empowering and equipping veterans and their families with the skills and resources to succeed in the new economy and civilian life.
The Civic Accelerator Veterans Solutions Lab, a first of its kind program sponsored by the PwC Charitable Foundation, is a startup boot camp and investment fund for nonprofit and for-profit startups supporting veterans and their families to successfully transition and reintegrate into communities and the workforce. The goal of the accelerator is to equip each startup to seek investments and scale their social innovations.
Throughout the program, CivicX Veterans Solutions Lab collaborated with veteran service organizations including Bunker Labs, Hire Heroes, Student Veterans of America, the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation, FourBlock, and others to connect the entrepreneurs with mentors, sponsors, potential customers and investors.
The investment came at the end of the program, which convened 11 startups (more than half of which were founded or co-founded by veterans) over 10 weeks for three in-person, week-long sessions in San Francisco, Washington D.C. and Chicago, in addition to a peer-driven virtual curriculum. Using investment criteria, the program participants themselves selected the two ventures that received the $50,000 grants.
Dog Tag Inc. (https://www.dogtagbakery.com/) empowers service-disabled veterans, military spouses and caregivers to discover professional fulfillment in the civilian world through a business fellowship program. Jaime Lunny, Director of Finance and Operations for Dog Tag shared, “Dog Tag Inc., was honored to participate in the Veterans Solutions Lab with other dynamic and inspirational ventures. The Civic Accelerator and the PwC Charitable Foundation, plus great coaches and mentors, helped challenge and further develop Dog Tag’s plans for expansion. Dog Tag will use the $50,000 grant to expand to a second location, so we can continue to serve and empower veterans, spouses and caregivers.”
Veterati (https://www.veterati.com/) enables on-demand conversations between veterans and industry insiders for critical advice, connections and community to hyper-charge their career journeys. “It is truly a humbling honor to receive this award from my peers and Points of Light Civic Accelerator,” said Daniel Rau, COO, and co-founder of Veterati. “Their investment in veteran founders serving the military community is a shining example of how institutions and corporations can make a real impact. With this support, Veterati is one step closer in our mission that every service member and military spouse, at every stage of their career journey, will be able to easily connect directly with industry insiders and successful professionals for the support to navigate their military transition and every transition beyond in their lives.”
The PwC Charitable Foundation is a founding and continuing sponsor of the Civic Accelerator. Their long-term sponsorship of the Civic Accelerator and commitment to veterans and their families created a unique opportunity to identify, accelerate and fund innovative and scalable solutions. “I am particularly excited about this program, which is part of the Foundation’s $10 million commitment to support U.S. veterans and their families,” said Frank Gaudio, PwC Charitable Foundation Trustee, and Veterans Liaison. “Our goal is to help 200,000 veterans, spouses and children overcome barriers they may face with education and career transition. The Veterans Solutions Lab is an innovative initiative to support these goals and to build on our relationship with the Civic Accelerator.”
“It is terrific to deepen our work with the PwC Charitable Foundation to support these ventures as they scale their solutions”, shared Ayesha Khanna, founder of the Civic Accelerator. “Veterans and their families face unique challenges and also offer the kind of experience and talent we need to unleash in this country to compete in a global innovation economy. More than 50% of veterans experience a period of unemployment as they transition to civilian life, with over 370,000 unemployed veterans in the U.S. last year. We need to accelerate new and scalable solutions that support a successful transition to civilian life for our veterans, military spouses, and their children. This is critical given the one million service men and women expected to return to civilian life in the next four years.”
The graduated ventures in the Veterans Solutions Lab cohort are:
Dog Tag Inc. (Nonprofit, Washington, D.C.) – empowers service-disabled veterans, military spouses, and caregivers to discover professional fulfillment in the civilian world through a business and entrepreneurship fellowship program.
Has Heart (Nonprofit, Grand Rapids, MI) – utilizes the mediums of art, design, and fashion to benefit, inspire and enrich our nation’s veterans by building a bridge between the worlds of veterans, creatives, and civilians.
Merging Vets and Players (Nonprofit, Los Angeles, CA) – provides combat veterans and former professional athletes a supportive team of peers as they progress into civilian life together.
MILLIE (For-profit, Arlington, VA) – reduces the pain, friction and uncertainty of the housing process for the military and veteran community through a digital services platform.
Operation Code (Nonprofit, Portland, OR) – helps the military community enter the tech industry and code the future.
OweYaa (For-profit, New York, NY) – matches employers to qualified veteran and military spouse candidates and equips the military community with skills training and career matches leading to 21st-century tech employment.
Patriot Link (Nonprofit, Washington, D.C.) – supports service members, veterans, families and those who serve them by connecting them with vetted service resources through a cloud-based navigation platform.
Veterans Legal Institute (Orange County, CA) – provides and connects pro bono and legal services to homeless and low-income veterans.
Veterati (For-profit, New York, NY) – enables on-demand conversations between veterans and industry insiders for critical advice, connections and community to hyper charge their career journeys.
VETS Indexes (For-profit, New York, NY) – creates investible financial indexes of public companies supportive of servicemen and women, reservists and their families.
Your6 (For-profit, Austin, TX) – helps businesses hire the best candidate with less time and money.
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 innovation. CivicX was launched in 2012, with support from founding sponsors PwC Charitable Foundation and Starbucks Foundation, and in partnership with Village Capital. In addition, we receive support from Capital One, Comcast NBCUniversal, Vodafone, Dentons, Singing for Change and official hotel sponsor Hilton. Visit cvcx.org for more information or follow the accelerator on Twitter at @civicacceleratr and across social media at #CIVICX.
About the PwC Charitable Foundation
The PwC Charitable Foundation, Inc., a section 501(c)(3) organization, makes contributions to the people of PwC in times of financial hardship and to nonprofit organizations that support and promote education and humanitarianism. The PwC Charitable Foundation’s sponsorship of the Veterans Solutions Lab is part of the Foundation’s extended $10 million commitment to support US veterans and their families with a goal of helping 200,000 veterans, spouses and children overcome barriers they may face with education and career transition.
Megan is the Director of the Civic Accelerator at Points of Light. In this role, she is responsible for the day-to-day management of the Civic Accelerator, including venture recruitment, program and curriculum development, portfolio monitoring and evaluation, direct investments, and developing
strategic program and philanthropic partnerships.