Meet the 10 companies in first FastFWD social enterprise accelerator class - Philly


Feb. 21, 2014 10:30 am

Meet the 10 companies in first FastFWD social enterprise accelerator class

At least half of the ten FastFWD companies are already located in Philadelphia. Others come from Chicago, Mumbai and Atlanta, said Garrett Melby of GoodCompany Ventures.

The entrance to Kensington's Impact Hub.

(Courtesy photo)

FastFWD, the public-private business accelerator, has announced its first class.

The $1 million foundation-backed accelerator aims to tackle the issue of public safety in Philadelphia by importing companies, training them, giving them access to city data and $10,000. Each company will have a chance to pilot its product in Philadelphia.

It’s an effort with many partners: the City of Philadelphia and its Office of New Urban Mechanics, GoodCompany Ventures and the Wharton Social Impact Initiative. They’ll work out of the Impact Hub in Kensington.

At least half of the ten FastFWD companies are already located in Philadelphia. Others come from Chicago, Mumbai and Atlanta, said Garrett Melby of GoodCompany Ventures. This first class was meant to have a focus on public safety and most in the class do or can be understood how they might intersect.

At least one, the Code for America-incubated startup Textizen, already has close ties to the City of Philadelphia. Another, environmental design company SHIFT_DESIGN, participated in a previous GoodCompany accelerator. Another company, Legal Science Partners, is a Temple University spinoff, while D8A is the new face of Metalayer, the DreamIt Ventures graduate and big data startup from Jon Gosier. There is also, curiously, an online art hub (inLiquid) in the first class.

Below, find a full list of the companies chosen for the 12-week accelerator. The descriptions are taken directly from FastFWD press materials. Read more on the Wharton Social Impact Initiative’s blog.


Safecity is an online crowdmapping tool that collates personal stories of sexual harassment and abuse. We launched in Dec. 2012 post the brutal rape of a girl in Delhi, India. Since then we have received over 1,600 personal stories from over 50 cities in India and formed partnerships with various organizations like WhyPoll, AISEC, got Stared at, DNA newspaper and the BBC to create awareness of sexual harassment, encourage people to share stories, educate them on their legal rights and empower them to take action.

Village Defense provides a real-time amber alert system for neighborhoods. Suspicious activity is reported to our 24/7 Hotline after calling 911. Our operators take the description and within seconds, the entire community will be noti?ed simultaneously through text message, voice call, and email. Village Defense has been serving neighborhoods in Atlanta and Detroit, reducing home burglaries by up to 80%. In addition, Village Defense has been used to increase community engagement leading to increased participation at meetings and events. In October 2013, Village Defense oficially launched its first international initiative called “Neighbourhood Watch 2.0” in Bermuda to help reduce gang presence in the community.

Textizen uses a powerful mix of offline outreach and digital engagement to allow anyone with a minute and an opinion to participate, by text. Our platform brings new participants into civic dialogue and turns their input into structured, real-time analysis.

Media In Neighborhoods Group (MING) provides media solutions for social problems such as violence, incarceration, re-entry, and recidivism. We create content that translates environments and sub-cultures to create a better platform for understanding and informed decision making for both service providers and their constituents. We train and hire at- risk youth and ex-offenders on our projects to provide them with the skills for a career in media and related arts. Through this model we tackle these issues not only through the media we create, but through our inclusive creative process.

Legal Science Partners (LSP) is a woman-owned small business born out of a 2013 technology-transfer spin-off from the Temple University, Beasley School of Law’s Public Health Law Research (PHLR) National Program Office, which aims to improve availability of data about public health laws. LSP is pursuing new business opportunities across several sectors in which there is value to understanding, analyzing, visualizing and monitoring policy differences across geographies and time.

Algorhythm leverages data to find the right insights and put them in the right hands at the right time. Our “impact analytics” begins in service to the hands-on change agent, using algorithmic predictive analytics to build models that determine the likelihood of an outcome, followed by prescriptive analytics to build models that identify all of the solution options to maximize success. The descriptive analytics work is in service to leaders and managers, creating a birds- eye view of what happened, what results were achieved, for whom, and how well the whole group of change agents did to help people find their pathways to success.

D8A‘s products help cities, government agencies, and civic organizations mitigate human risk by surfacing patterns in online and offline activity. This saves users time, resources and money by proactively pointing out problems and suggesting solutions before events unfold, in real-time.

inLiquid is committed to creating opportunities and exposure for visual artists while serving as a free, online public hub for arts information in the Philadelphia area. By providing the public with immediate access to view the portfolios and credentials of over 280 artists and designers via the internet; through meaningful partnerships with other cultural organizations; through community-based activities and exhibitions; and through an extensive online body of timely art information, InLiquid brings to light the richness of our region’s art activity, broadens audiences, and heightens appreciation for all forms of visual culture.

SHIFT_DESIGN is a Philadelphia-based company that designs and manufactures sustainable outdoor products. The studio’s environmental design strategy is focused on local manufacturing, mass-customization and reducing waste. Through a blend of precision technologies and traditional fabrication, our products facilitate a way of living that brings sustainable practices into daily life.

SHIFT_DESIGN has placed a significant emphasis upon its companies environmental strategy through the power of design, thus reinforcing local manufacturing and waste-reduction methods by choosing product components that are made from recycled content and are 100% recyclable after a long life-cycle. We will further partner with manufacturers across the country to fabricate our products within our node city locations.

Jail Education Solutions aims to reduce recidivism and increase employment opportunities for inmates through tablet technology that enables self-driven education.

Juliana Reyes

Juliana Reyes became's associate editor after reporting on the Philadelphia tech scene for four years. She's co-president of the Asian American Journalists Association Philadelphia chapter and a two-time Philadelphia News Award winner for "Community Reporting of the Year." The Bryn Mawr College grad lives in West Philly, likes her food spicy and wears jumpsuits often.


Sign-up for regular updates from