Our Network has taken the Diversity Pledge

In support of its social-impact mission, the Southwest Angel Network has pledged to increase diversity and inclusion in the tech community by taking actions outlined in the startup diversity and inclusion pledge.

The Startup Diversity and Inclusion Pledge is being launched in Austin, Texas in 2019 with plans to expand nationally.

Diversity and inclusion matter for a wide variety of reasons, including that it is better for business, increases investment returns, lowers volatility, and drives innovation. And while female founders receive less venture capital funding than their male counterparts, there’s data that shows that female founders outperform their male peers.

The core idea of the Startup Diversity and Inclusion Pledge is that startups will pledge to take a few concrete measures in the way they operate their company that should, over time, increase the number of women, people of color and people who identify as LGBTQ within their ranks.

The centerpiece of the pledge is The Walker Rule, which is inspired by the NFL’s Rooney Rule. The Rooney Rule requires every NFL team to interview at least one minority candidate for head coach vacancies. In the years following its implementation in 2003, the number of minorities hired as head-coaches dramatically increased.

The Walker Rule is named after Madam C. J. Walker (1867–1919) who was America’s first female self-made millionaire. She was an African-American entrepreneur, hair care industry pioneer, philanthropist, patron of the arts, political activist and one of the 20th century’s most influential businesswomen. That’s unbelievably impressive given she was born only two years after the civil war ended and built her company during the height of the Jim Crow era.

Speaking at the Angel Capital Association annual conference

Bob Bridge, Executive Director of our network, will be speaking at the annual conference of the ACA that will be held in Chicago at the end of April. Bob will be leading a session entitled, “Measuring Impact … and Impact Results”. The session will explore how to bring the same level of quantitative analysis to measuring social-impact results as is used to measure business results. And how is that level of rigor beneficial to impact investors?

Supporting the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Superstars Program

The Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce works to brighten the future of disadvantaged students through their Superstars Competition, which teaches entrepreneurial skills to students and which culminates in a city-wide competition for students from Austin’s five Title 1 high schools.

Heaven Leigh Contreras being award the Social-impact Scholarship

The Southwest Angel Network is involved in the competition in three ways:

  1. Our angels helped mentor and coach all the student teams at Akins High School in January and February.
  2. At the city-wide competition on March 6th, our network selected Heaven Leigh Contreras from Lanier High School, and her company Trace Ace, as the Social-impact Winner, and awarded Heaven a $2,000 college scholarship.
  3. Heaven will be presenting the Trace Ace business plan to our network of angel investors at our Q2 dinner pitch event in May.

Announcing funding of Binary Bridge

The Southwest Angel Network is pleased to announce that the network has led the initial investment in Binary Bridge. The company, under the leadership of Lori Most, has the mission to improve access to healthcare and increase the quality of care in underserved locations, providing software solutions for mobile clinics in remote, low-resource areas. BackpackEMR targets medical teams working in rural areas, Medical teams are not experts in technology, and hiring an IT person or staff is very expensive. Binary Bridge enables teams to focus more of their time and resources on the people they are serving.

Two social-impact investments

The Southwest Angel Network is pleased to announce two new investments, in Scriptly Rx and ResilientGrid.

Scriptly Rx

The mission of Scriptly Rx is to help people save money at the pharmacy on prescription medications. With or without insurance, people save up to 90% at 65,000 pharmacies nationwide! Too many people have to choose. Every day people choose between affordable prescriptions and food, or medical care, or clothing –  the list goes on. This is why Scriptly Rx is happy to distribute their savings program through non-profits around the country, in an effort to help ALL residents from having to make that tough choice. Scriptly Rx’s prescription discount program is 100% free to both the users and the non-profits. Scriptly Rx also donates to Feeding America each and every time someone uses Scriptly Rx to save money on their prescriptions. The company’s name was previously GoodNeighbor Rx

ResilientGrid

Resilient Grid provides a situational awareness & advanced visualization solution for utility grid operators, significantly improving decision making and dramatically reducing decision time by operators in times of grid emergencies or natural disaster. Energy management systems are growing more complex, as networks create a multitude of data streams. The ResilientGrid Map is a single pane of glass for all network data streams, improving operator performance and collaboration through visualization, analysis, and collaboration, and provides an architecture and interface built entirely around operator situation awareness and enhanced operator collaboration within, and across, organizations.

Announcing an investment in teleCALM

The Southwest Angel Network is pleased to announce that members have invested in teleCALM, which allows family caregivers to control phone usage by family members who face memory or judgment challenges while still allowing those members to continue to use the phone that they are familiar with.  This protects loved one from phone solicitors while keeping them connected to friends and family.

teleCALM is led by husband and wife team, Tavis and Jill Schriefer.

Portfolio company OneSeventeen Media announces platform to help Pre-K through 2 graders

With school safety and student mental health a national priority after school shootings, Austin-based, AI EdTech company OneSeventeen Media has launched a mobile-delivered mental health and behavior management tool for elementary schools. The ThinkingApp pilot launched May 2018 at the request of Austin ISD in direct response to a new law by the Texas State Legislature prohibiting behavioral expulsions of PreK – 2 graders.

See the Built-in Austin article.

ThinkingApp employs intelligent, adaptable machine learning to tailor advice to a child’s specific needs, helping them make wiser decisions. The platform assesses emotional and mental states, enabling students to process difficult emotions, understand their behaviors, and navigate those of others, while adults receive real-time, in-depth insight into what is on a child’s mind. Whereas many school safety solutions are reactive, ThinkingApp is based on trauma-informed, restorative and social-emotional learning (SEL) principles to provide real-time “emotional digital triage”™ for upset students before they escalate damaging behaviors, engendering a safer learning environment for all students.

OneSeventeen Media’s solution for PreK – 2 graders is smartly disguised as engaging, interactive eBook stories meant to transform this age group’s misbehaviors. Underpinning the powerful backend-technology are algorithms that deliver evidence-based, restorative exercises for creating safer campuses and inclusive learning environments to improve student mental health, school safety, attendance, and grades while reducing lost teaching time.

Backed by seven years of third-party, evidence-based research, components of the technology resulted in a “statistically significant reduction in students’ emotional distress.” One school reported a 77% decrease in alternative school transfers, preserving more than $100k while averting a potential school shooting. The real-time, actionable insights provided about a troubled student are a nod to the study’s observation that students share five times more information via the apps than they do in face-to-face interactions – data that makes OneSeventeen Media’s work crucial to today’s urgent need for improved school safety.

Cedars International’s Les Simpson noted, “the apps provide a secure way to de-escalate classroom drama, enabling teachers to focus less on discipline and more on teaching.”
For more information and to deploy ThinkingApp and reThinkIt!, visit www.oneseventeenmedia.com.

The Southwest Angel Network invests in DayOne Response

The Southwest Angel Network is pleased to join angel network Golden Seeds in investing in DayOne Response, which was founded and is headed by Tricia Compas-Markman.

Addressing the vital need for clean water in disaster relief situations, DayOne Response has developed one solution called the DayOne Waterbag. This is a 10-litre personal water purification unit that can be transported like a backpack. A closed system, which prevents contamination, it is designed specifically to be distributed after a disaster. It purifies 10 litres of water in 30 minutes, and is reusable so a family of four can have clean drinking water for up to 2 months.

Tricia has a civil engineering background with 6-years’ experience working on water treatment technologies for developing countries, such as Thailand, Nicaragua, and Haiti. Tricia is co-inventor of the DayOne Waterbag and her work has been recognized by President Clinton. She is an Unreasonable Institute fellow, recipient of the Junior Chamber International, Osaka Outstanding Young Person’s Award for social innovation, Creativity Foundation legacy prize winner, a North America Finalist for the Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards, 2013 Engineers Without Borders Outstanding member, a Pipeline Fellow investee, and a 2014 “Mother of Invention”. Tricia received her BS in Civil Engineering and MS in Civil/Environmental Engineering from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.

An Investment in start-up Accelerist

The Southwest Angel Network is pleased to announce that it has led the investment in Accelerist. Accelerist is the industry’s only matchmaking and measurement platform for companies and causes. The relationship between companies and social causes is powerful. Accelerist believes profit and purpose partnerships mean too much in today’s world to leave it to chance and circumstance. Through a deep data-driven approach, the Accelerist platform helps companies find the right partners and measure their impact on the company’s mission, stakeholders and bottom line. Accelerist’s company name previously was Catalist.

Accelerist was co-founded by and is led by CEO Brittany Hill. As a data seeker and trend translator, Brittany specializes in using analytics and innovations to connect companies and causes to do more good in the world. Brittany leads the product and business development efforts at Accelerist – the online matchmaking platform for companies and causes. As a nonprofit entrepreneur, Brittany is behind some of the industry’s newest products and tools that help nonprofits elevate their mission.

Brittany’s extensive background in the nonprofit and agency supports her vision for nonprofit innovations. Mrs. Hill has built multi-channel partnerships and award-winning campaigns with some of the most notable blue-chip nonprofit organizations (American Heart Association, UNICEF, Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, Make-A-Wish International) and corporate brands (Pepsico, General Mills, Hasbro, Best Buy).

An Investment in start-up company Family Plan

The Southwest Angel Network has made an investment in Family Plan, which works to reduce the stress on a family following a divorce.  Using Family Plan, parents can manage custody scheduling on a shared calendar in real time, arrange and make payments instantaneously and with authentication, and make and log texts and emails to support open communication and maintain a reliable record. No other mobile app provides this suite of functions. This app has been developed with input from a team of divorced parents, divorce lawyers, and ex-judges to address both an important social need and a large market opportunity.

Family Plan was founded and is led by Mark and Laura MacMahon, from Maine, who founded the company for the same reason many companies are founded – they had a problem they wanted to solve, and the available solutions just weren’t good enough. In the years after Mark’s divorce, he found that he was spending hours a week just trying to stay on top of managing his schedule, finances, and communications all related to the kids. Mark and Laura decided to build a set of tools that would help families thrive after a breakup – reducing conflict along the way.

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