GiveBackHack 2016 Success: 12 Businesses & $16,000 in Seed Capital

by Suzy Bureau







The weekend of February 19th-21st in 2016, 115 people left their 40+ hour work week, showed up at the CCAD MindMarket and committed an entire weekend to taking a brand new social impact idea into reality.

GiveBackHack is the launchpad for social innovation. Born right here in Columbus, GiveBackHack connects the tech and social impact communities – two groups that do not come together often enough – to learn from each other for the benefit of both. It blends startup concepts – rapid prototyping, iteration, risk tolerance – with domain expertise in the social impact space to create the building blocks for social enterprise.

The non-profit world is often beholden to boards and donors and too risk averse to test out innovative business models. The tech scene is often woefully removed from the social issues right in its own backyard, but is consistently developing new, interesting technology. GiveBackHack connects these communities for the benefit of both.

The event was born from a need to provide citizens of Columbus who have ideas or would like to make an impact with the platform needed to take that idea into a reality. It lowers the barrier to entry, providing participants with mentors, resources, and the commitment of a weekend to test out ideas.

In this way, GiveBackHack works as a launchpad for social innovation within the community.

To help bring brand new social enterprise ideas into a reality in Columbus, GiveBackHack:

  • Provides innovative, entrepreneurial, idea-spurring space (the CCAD MindMarket)
  • Recruits a variety of 115+ participants from the technology and social impact communities
  • Provides a platform for community members to share ideas
  • Provides a framework and guidance for participants to vet ideas, identify business/impact models, and develop initial prototypes
  • Brings in mentors with expertise in entrepreneurship/social impact/technology sectors
  • Provides a platform for newly created ideas to be showcased to a larger community
  • Awards top teams with resources to help sustain ideas moving forward in the form of in-kind community resources and connection to IGS Energy, who is committed to providing $10,000 to top teams exiting the weekend (and at the conclusion of the event, was so inspired by the quality of teams that they raised that to $15,000)

Quick Facts on the success we saw at GiveBackHack 2015:

  • The first GiveBackHack was in April of 2015 in Columbus, Ohio
  • It was hosted by the CCAD MindMarket
  • The Create Columbus Commission provided $10,00 in seed capital to top teams
  • GiveBackHack only happens annually in a community so that the organization can focus on empowering top teams to sustain their ideas moving forward
  • In 2015, 12 teams were formed and 7 of those 12 teams are still working on their GiveBackHack Projects today
  • Winners from 2015 were Billion, CarryMeForward, and Abe’s Kitchen
  • Billion won $4,000 in 2015, and used a portion to incorporate as an L3C, as well as beta test their application at Independent’s Day Festival in September where they were able to take $700 and turn it into $8,000 for social enterprise in Columbus, while also validating their business/impact model
  • CarryMeForward launched their beta backpack campaign on the runway at the Fashion Meets Music Festival and has two campaigns benefiting at risk youth – one at OSU Star House and one at Huckleberry House.
  • Abe’s Kitchen has served over 600 healthy meals at Linden STEM Academy, while also winning additional funding at Columbus SOUP & Supper Club, and presenting at the United Way Pitch to Ditch Poverty event.

Quick Facts on GiveBackHack 2016:

  • This is the 2nd ever GiveBackHack, hosted again at the CCAD MindMarket
  • The event kicked off on Friday night (2/19) where 115 attendees from interdisciplinary backgrounds came together for the first time
  • These attendees collectively pitched 75 brand new ideas for solutions to social issues
  • Leveraging market-based validation, the 75 ideas were brought down to 12 teams
  • The 115 attendees joined one of these 12 teams
  • Teams spent all day Saturday (2/20, from 9am-11pm) and all day Sunday (2/21 – 9am-5pm) validating ideas with users, building business models, identifying social impact models and building a Minimally Viable Product (MVP), which teams can use to move their ideas forward after the GiveBackHack weekend
  • They did all of this with the help and guidance of mentors who are experts in the social impact, technology, and entrepreneurship spaces
  • The event culminated on Sunday night (2/21 at 5pm), where 12 teams pitched the brand new ideas they pulled into a well-vetted reality over the weekend
  • Prior to the event, IGS Energy committed to providing $10,000 in seed capital to top social enterprises coming out of GiveBackHack
  • Directly after Sunday night pitches, IGS Energy was so inspired by the quality of brand new social enterprises formed during the weekend, that they increased their support from $10,000 to $15,000 – and funded 5 teams instead of 3
  • In addition to IGS Energy funding the top 5 teams, GiveBackHack partnered with Billion, one of the winners of the first GiveBackHack, to do a rapid-crowdfunding competition to determine crowd favorite that raised over $1,000 for crowd favorite team “This is Your Bathroom” in just 30 minutes.
  • A grand total of $16,089 was presented to the top teams coming out of GiveBackHack 2016 that they will use to push their social enterprises forward.

Winners of GiveBackHack 2016:

omniBUS: 1st Place
Seed capital received to help team move forward: $5,000 from IGS Energy
omniBUS is a mobile app that eliminates transportation uncertainty by showing users where their bus is in real-time. Don’t worry. Just ride.

omniBUS created a live, working prototype for their bus-tracking smartphone application during the weekend, had discussions with local COTA riders & employees, as well as engaged local advocates of Columbus transportation to validate their idea, build a business model that increases ridership, and an impact model that demonstrated the positive impact increased public transit ridership would bring to the community.

Round It: 2nd Place (tie)
Seed capital received to help team move forward: $3,000 from IGS Energy
Round It allows you to round up your credit card transactions to support causes that you and your friends care about.

Volundate: 2nd Place (tie)
Seed capital received to help team move forward: $3,000 from IGS Energy
The Tinder for people who are passionate about social good. Match with social good events and singles in your area and meet for a date!

KindQuest: 3rd Place (tie)
Seed capital received to help team move forward: $2,000 from IGS Energy
Combating the mind’s innate negativity bias by creating a mobile app to gamify altruism.

Project Hygeia: 3rd Place (tie) & Crowd Favorite
Seed capital received to help team move forward:
$2,000 from IGS Energy & $1,089 (in 30 minutes of crowd funding within the audience) raised by the community on the social enterprise crowdfunding platform Billion (previous GiveBackHack 2015 winner)
Recycles and repurposes bathroom amenities from the hospitality industry to improve homeless hygiene.

This Is Your Bathroom:The mission of This Is Your Bathroom is to create transportable stations to provide bathrooms for people in need.

Feed the Need: When you order food for delivery, adding the option of delivering to the homeless community at the same time.

AltU: AltU guides students in exploring alternative career paths by connecting them with companies who care.

TechTerminal:Connecting students, adults, and families with art, design, and technology through a hands on facility.

Capital Capital:Directing grassroots donations for congressional campaigns.

Communikey: Providing access to other people who speak a different language to help others learn new languages and cultures.

Civic Machine: Data Repository for community statistics driving social change.

Want to check out photos from the event?

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