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SF-based HandUp wins tech startup competition in smart cities sector

Submitted by scc staff on May 21, 2014

HandUp, a young San Francisco company that uses crowd-funding to help the homeless, won top honors in the smart cities sector of the first annual Challenge Cup, a business competition hosted by Washington, D.C.-based startup hub 1776.

Launched last year, 1776 offers events and seminars and provides office space in D.C. to start-ups to help boost the local tech economy.  According to a Washington Post report, 1776 is also getting into venture capital and each of its Challenge Cup finalists will benefit from that.

Image removed.HandUp, which will receive a $150,000 investment, uses crowd-funding to solicit donations to help the homeless with basic needs – food, clothing and medical care among them. Through HandUp's partner organizations, homeless individuals create an online profile that explains their situation and how they will use donations. Members of the public can donate to a specific person or have HandUp choose; 100% of the donation goes to the homeless member's HandUp account. Watch the video below to see how HandUp helped Rodney Bell get his life moving in a new direction.

Runner-up in the Challenge Cup smart cities sector went to a Cape Town, South Africa startup that is developing a fleet of small electric cabs to transport people around cities inexpensively. The Post story says Mellowcabs expects to make money primarily from advertising in its mini-cabs. Mellowcabs received a $50,000 investment as a runner-up.

Read the Post story to learn about the Challenge Cup winners in 1776's other focus areas: education, health care and energy.