Hub Ventures - Accelerating Social Enterprises

Hub Ventures Spring 2011 Cohort

What happens when you put 16 up & coming social entrepreneurs together for 12 weeks to work out which 3 should split a $225,000 pot?

A whole lot of collaboration and stronger social enterprises.

Hub Ventures is a 12-week evening program in the SF Bay Area that provides funding and mentorship to a community of 16 entrepreneurs building solutions for a better world. My company, the Hoop Fund, was one of the 16 ventures accepted to the program, which is being built as a kind of Y-Combinator for social ventures.

The overarching goal of Hub Ventures is to make each of our ventures ready for our next stage of growth, and to match us with investors that will get us there.

At the heart of the program is a peer-review "Village Capital" process that leverages collective intelligence for success and empowers participating entrepreneurs to think like investors. In addition to the $225k in funding from Hub Ventures itself, the 16 of us have been meeting each week to get our ventures ready for Investor Day on June 16, where we'll all pitch to room full of investors looking to invest in social enterprises.

Some of the other ventures include:

  • Smart Markets: pioneering a system enabling households to "Save & Trade" unused energy & water.
  • NextDrop: winner of this year's Global Social Venture Challenge, is building a "lite" smart grid in South Asia that enables families to know when they're water is being turned on, saving thousands of lost hours waiting for water.
  • enabling families in South Asia know when they're water's coming,
  • LoudSauce - the world’s first crowdfunded media buying platform, where users promote ideas that matter through mainstream advertising channels like TV, billboards, and more.
  • Zamzee - an online rewards program for teens powered by their physical activity and a pocketsize Zamzee device that tracks their daily movement.
Hub Ventures Curriculum

We also benefit from great workshops run by leading business thinkers, social entrepreneurs, investors, designers and more. A few of my favorite workshops so far include Customer Validation by Rick Moss & Teddy Zmhral, Leveraging Human Capital by Premal Shah & Arno Harris, and Thinking Like an Investor by Penelope Douglas.

This is the first of what will hopefully be an ongoing series of Hub Ventures programs, with the next Hub Ventures cohort to be selected in the Fall. So if you're an early-stage social entrepreneur raring to take part, check the Hub Ventures site over the summer for details.