The first iteration of UpPrize, the BNY Mellon Social Innovation Challenge culminated on Friday, July 31st in front of an audience of approximately 300, representing non-profits, start-ups, private firms, and investors. During the event at New Hazlett Theater, attendees heard the polished pitches of the eight UpPrize finalists, and learned the recipients of the $800,000 of grants and investments. The grand prize of $400,000 went to Conversant Labs, a local start-up improving the quality of life for the blind community by offering voice-enabled applications that fit seamlessly in everyday life. Marinus Analytics received $200,000 to continue their mission to provide law enforcement and victim service organizations with the data they need to help stop human trafficking perpetrators and rescue their victims. The other runner-up and recipient of $200,000 was PHRQL (pronounced freckle) who uses their software analytics engine to improve diet and nutrition through food access, technology, and coaching for vulnerable populations.
Congratulations to Chris, Emily, Paul, Trevor and their teams!
The entire UpPrize process would not have been possible without the overwhelming community support we received. Beginning with the research phase in fall 2014, over 100 nonprofit partners worked with our team to identify a set of high impact opportunities for purpose-driven innovation. The UpPrize Advisory Team had the arduous task of narrowing the field of over 100 applicant down to eight finalists. Local organizations and mentors provided personalized support for these eight finalist teams as well.
Thank you to everyone who was a part of this process, those who designed it, those who guided it, those who supported it, those who participated in it – we couldn’t have done it without you!
UpPrize is a demonstration of what can happen when a community comes together, and it’s clear that Pittsburgh is a hub of passion and creativity focused on improving the lives of those around us.
This post was first published on the UpPrize Blog.