The three companies completed FastFWD, the Bloomberg Foundation-backed, public-private accelerator focused on companies tackling the issue of public safety. The program was touted as a way to reimagine city procurement, as each company that completed the program would be given an opportunity to contract with the City of Philadelphia.
The pilot programs will likely start in July, said Story Bellows of the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics.
Find more details on each company below.
- Jail Education Solutions ($30,000) will work with the Philadelphia Prisons to provide an educational program via tablet that aims to lower the rates of recidivism, or inmates returning to prison. JES CEO Brian Hill came to Philadelphia from Chicago for FastFWD.
- Textizen ($35,000) will work with Philadelphia RISE, the city’s reintegration services office, who will use Textizen’s SMS engagement service to communicate with individuals who are on parole and/or re-entering society after being in prison. Textizen CEO Michelle Lee was a Code for America fellow in Philadelphia in 2012 and stayed in the city after her fellowship.
- Village Defense ($30,000) will work with the Philadelphia Police. It offers a high-tech form of “town watch,” where neighbors can use the service to send alerts to each other if they see something suspicious. Village Defense President Sharath Mekala came to Philadelphia from Atlanta for FastFWD.
We’re working on finding out how many FastFWD companies applied to the city to run a pilot and also how long each pilot lasts. We’ll update this post as necessary.