If you’re sweating through the summer and wondering if there’s a climate change-based app to help, know that DC funder Village Capital has the same question.
This fall, Village Capital is partnering with MetLife Foundation to create a program for US-based founders focused on solving resiliency issues. Known as ADAPT: Social Innovation for a More Resilient Future in the United States, the two-track program works with 20-24 startups pursuing solutions in climate change, healthcare, wellness and economic mobility. Startups will participate in programming from October through December, with two companies in each of the two tracks being selected by their peers to receive a $50,000 no-equity investment at the end of the process. This program accompanies additional programming in Argentina, Brazil and Mexico.
The program will also feature “sprint weeks” — two virtual and one in-person — where founders participate in a virtual curriculum, get to know their peers and hear from investors and industry professionals. An advisory board’s members will additionally serve as “super mentors” in the period between sessions.
Village Capital Manager Bryson Hearne explained that one of ADAPT’s two tracks, “Community Resilience,” will cover startups focused on disaster preparedness, financial preparedness and economic opportunity. The other, “Individual Resilience,” is for startups creating products in health and wellness, work and learning and financial health.
Hearne told Technical.ly that applicants can think of “resilience” from a disaster preparedness perspective, be it flooding, a disease outbreak or other similar crises. Village Capital is looking not just for companies that provide immediate solutions, but also those that can help communities withstand these issues economically (i.e. insurance tech).
Hearne said Village Capital typically looks to invest in sustainability, financial health, future of work and healthcare. He’s interested in seeing the startups selected for ADAPT because the program intersects will all those issue areas.
“If I have a flood that hits my city, that is both a disaster preparedness and there’s some sustainability tech there, but it’s also a financial health challenge,” Hearne said.
To apply, startups need to be for-profit entities with operations or headquarters in the US. They also need at least one full-time founder in the US, a minimum viable product and less than $1.5 million in equity raised. According to program rules, Village Capital also wants some sort of meaningful connection or business validation; this could be qualified with revenue, a successful pilot, user numbers or strategic partnerships.
In particular, Hearne said he’s excited to work with companies that are building technology for local governments and community organizing in the wake of natural disasters. Village Capital has previously worked with startups that built insurance tech for flooding and helped communities with medical debt. Hearne is additionally on the hunt for startups building resilience through mental health services and solutions.
“There’s a big opportunity for impact in helping local governments and regional governments respond to some of the challenges that they’re facing, and I think technology can play a role there,” Hearne said.