On the weekend leading into May 2012, ~150 new economy thinkers, software engineers, designers & social entrepreneurs gathered at The Hub in San Francisco for the Creative Currency project. Over three days the initial 30+ ideas pitched resulted in a total of 12 compelling projects focused on innovating in the areas of economic development, housing, jobs, public health, education, payments & financial services. There were four winning teams provided with seed funding and mentorship.
Top leaders from the SF City government, community agencies and tech companies, including Square & Kiva, were present to deliver keynote speeches, provide mentorship, judge projects & envision project outcomes.
Project participants came from dozens of organizations including Visa, Square, Airbnb, Bernal Bucks, Code for America, Ashoka, EMC, LinkedIn, Kaiser, Google, Motorola, Stanford, Goodwill of Silicon Valley, Bay Area Timebank, & Kiva.
Mentor all projects which choose to continue on beyond the collaboration weekend.
Prepare for the demo day in August at which the SF Mayor & social capital VCs are expected to attend.
The Creative Currency judging team selected four teams for seed funding. Each team was awarded with $1,000, but must get back to the judges in two weeks time with their plans & requirements to further develop their projects. Judges will review the project plans and then determine which projects will obtain further investment. All teams were offered mentorship & introductions by the judging team. Teams will prepare for the next demo day in August.
The four winning teams, which had 5 to 13 participants each, are:
1) Team “TrustScore” created by Heidi Kim, Program Manager of Kiva Zip. TrustScore uses trust & recommendation as a creative form of currency that leverages informal networks to enable engagement in the formal economy. TrustScore is planned be an open source algorithm measuring a person’s trustworthiness. Kiva Zip will most likely use TrustScore as a part of their peer-to-peer loan process — to give lenders more confidence about borrowers.
2) Team “Bridge” created a platform prototype that facilitates real time information exchange and action through multiple devices, including web, mobile phone, and kiosks; service providers can offer resources like beds, showers & meals, which users can peruse & reserve. Jay Nath of the City of SF expressed Bridge has a good market opportunity; that the city is looking to solve this problem and will be soon looking to purchase a software such as this, which team Bridge may be able to develop.
3) Team “Your SQFT” proposed repurposing vacant spaces in Mid-Market connecting property owners and landlords with entrepreneurs, startups, pop-up retail & local labor. Over the weekend the team interviewed local residents & business owners, and connected with key stakeholders such as property managers, renters, & community organizations focused on job placement. Their enthralling presentation was perhaps the best received, by both the audiences & the judges.
4) Team “Refresh SF” designed a system predicated on the need to promote public health, build awareness of homelessness and encourage giving through an easy to donate system; there would be stations located throughout the Mid-Market which would provide wash rooms etc. Jay Nath said that the SF Department of Public Health would have interest in furthering this project; that such stations would have a significant social impact if implemented.
Other interesting projects included:
· Team “WorkToday” pitched matching day laborers to contractors via community based organizations, with rating systems, utilizing P2P escrow payments.
· Team “BACE Timebank is an existing organization – San Francisco Bay Area Community Exchange Timebank. Over the weekend they added an impressive SMS interface & prototyped UI/UX enhancements to their website.
· Team “Lemonopoly” created an online/offline mobile game using actual lemons as currency to increase the local lemon trade.
· Team “Financial Empowerment” conceived of a service design framework that will help increase financial literacy and empowerment for unbanked San Francisco residents, including use of prepaid cards.