Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) Interim CEO Steve Pike today announced CivicArena as the grand prize winner of the 2016 Boston Cleanweb Haccelerator, earning the emerging company $5,000 for its app that increases engagement between users and policymakers.
The final judging, held Wednesday night at MassCEC’s offices in Boston, was the culmination of an eight-week accelerator program featuring teams looking to form businesses out of ideas crafted during the Boston Cleanweb Hackathon, a weekend-long competition held in April that tasked programmers, developers and business experts with creating mobile applications to address our energy, water and resource challenges.
“Massachusetts has a long, rich history of innovation, pushing the boundaries of technology and endeavoring to address our toughest water and energy challenges,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “The Boston Cleanweb Haccelerator helps nurture these innovative ideas that can help us reduce our emissions and ensure affordability and reliability for Massachusetts’ ratepayers.”
“The Boston Cleanweb Haccelerator encourages the innovation of the Commonwealth’s clean energy sector, which creates economic prosperity for the Commonwealth while benefiting our state’s environment,” said Lieutenant Governor Karen Polito. “The teams who participated this year are developing the innovative solutions that will help Massachusetts achieve our greenhouse gas emission goals.”
The Boston Cleanweb Haccelerator provided teams interested in further developing their ideas with business advice, legal training, co-working space and expert mentorship from companies like Posternak, Solid Works, Trip Zero Travel, VentureWell, Impact Hub, Mass Bay Lines, and Plano and Simple to help them launch businesses and products.
“The companies born out of the Boston Cleanweb Haccelerator are well on their way towards helping the Commonwealth meet its ambitious greenhouse gas reduction goals, while creating quality local jobs,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. “The Baker-Polito Administration is committed to strengthening the state’s growing clean energy economy and supporting new, innovative technologies.”
“The companies of the Boston Cleanweb Haccelerator have taken the next step in turning their overnight ideas into promising companies,” said MassCEC Interim CEO Pike.
CivicArena has designed an app that makes it easier for users to identify local environmental issues, educate themselves on those topics of interest, and connect with policymakers to prompt action.
In addition to the $5,000 cash prize, CivicArena will receive $5,000 in legal services from Posternak.
"The Boston Cleanweb Haccellerator has proven to be an effective vehicle for developing our business case in launching our mobile app,” said CivicArena founder Celis Brisbin. “The CivicArena app serves a key role in connecting legislators with their constituents by making communicating with a legislator on key bills relating to cleantech and the environment as easy as calling an Uber."
Wednesday’s judging involved five teams – CivicArena, ElementTech, Energy Bee, Symsolar and Building Portfolio Analytics – pitching their companies to a panel of judges, who worked to determine which had the most potential as a viable company in the clean energy sector. ElementTech won the crowd favorite award.
The judges were Interim CEO Pike, Marcus Gay, Executive Director of the New England Water innovation Network (NEWIN); Andrew Lackner, Senior Director - Investments, GE Energy Venture; Ned Horneffer, Senior Analyst, Pure Energy Partners; and Kimberly Herb, Senior Program Manager - Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the NECEC Institute.