9 Socially Conscious Startups Making Moves in DC

Founders, young to senior, wake up each day and try to make this world a better place through their innovation and solutions. The rise in social impact startups are gaining the attention from investors and experts who are looking for different ways to solve the world’s problems. To validate this effort, earlier this year, the Kairos Society announced they raised $600 million in investment to support the efforts of companies aimed at tackling global issues.

One incubator who has received national attention for their effort to incubate impact-driven ventures is the Phoenix- and DC-based SEED SPOT. They are recognized as one of the top 20 accelerators in the world and received a 2016 Emmy for their partnership with Univision supporting Latino entrepreneurs. Their Demo Day is one of the most well attended events by investors, mentors and community members looking for startup solutions to change the world.

This week at the SEED SPOT DC Demo Day, nine new startups showcased their solutions to a full house of investors, mentors and community members.

SEED SPOT cofounder and CEO Courtney Klein said, “Our Full-Time program surrounds each entrepreneur with the support they need to thrive. Demo Day is the culmination of an intense acceleration program and the perfect time for the community to rally around each founder to support and propel them to the next stage.”

If you’re interested in seeing what these startups are up to, read their bios below and check out their websites:


imby (in my backyard), is a digital platform that brings together real estate developers, governments, and citizens to create and support sustainable communities.

Founder: Michelle Chang

Empowered to Run

Empowered to Run is a nonprofit with a mission to empower people to run for office successfully and govern effectively.

Founder: Steve Sinha

Halona Foods

Halona Food makes delicious snacks out of food fortunes, the produce left behind due to misshape, overproduction, or distribution errors.

Cofounder: Stephanie Westhelle


Job-IQ, a paperless, accessible, and easy-to-use smartphone application designed to guide you on your career path.

Founder: Molly Matthews


Mayla creates, aggregates, and shares stories about people from around the world who protect nature.

Founder: Naamal De Silva

Read the interview with Courtney Klein and C’Pher Gresham of SEED SPOT on Galvanizing a Community


AcademME works with potential students to find their best education options while simultaneously working with education providers to lower their recruitment costs.

Founder: Brooks Garber


i4Spy is the SaaS cybersecurity solution that protects at-risk consumers against mobile spyware breaches.

Founder: Lavinia Popinceanu

Mia Learning

Mia Learning is a platform that uses machine-learning to help elementary school students choose books they love.

Cofounder: Darren Cambridge

The Mentor Method

The Mentor Method is the leading mentor-matching platform connecting companies to diverse tech talent.

Founder: Janice Omadeke

SEED SPOT doesn’t stop there, the SEED SPOT’s NEXT program is focused on youth, trains teachers in high schools across the country to teach social entrepreneurship as a full year course.

Learn more about the SEED SPOT program here.

Read more about emerging Phoenix startups at TechCo

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Written by:
Tishin is a technology journalist and correspondent. She has written for TechCrunch, Demand Studios and Fitness, and has regular network segments on local Phoenix affiliate stations. She holds a Master's degree in Clinical and Sport psychology, and has covered many areas of technology ranging from 3D printing and game development to neurotech and funding for over 15 years.
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