A Village of Bees, Sparking change Close to Home


A unprecedented 30 days of entrepreneurial events in Seattle came to a close last night at Impact Hub Seattle with the FledgeDemo Day”.  This flurry of events began with Startup Week, continued with the Slow Money Northwest showcase, a night of 600+ attendees at McCaw Hall for Social Venture Partners third annual “Fast Pitch” showdown, then this week to the Northwest Entrepreneur Network’s “First Look Forum”, the fourth Seattle Angel Conference, and finally, last night, Fledge’s third “Demo Day”.  Across all these events, over 200 entrepreneurs participated, with over a half million dollars invested.

Despite the seemingly endless series of events, Impact Hub Seattle was standing room only last night, to meet the latest crop of “fledglings”, and to hear their visions on how to do good, while doing good business.

The event began with Fledge’s founder and Managing Director, Michael “Luni” Libes, explaining the non-traditional approach of Fledge, as compared to the other business accelerators.  Fledge focuses on “conscious companies”, i.e. mission driven companies that aim for profits, but which at the same time aim to solve important social and environmental problems.  Four new fledglings presented:

DemoDay 2013a on-stage

  • Self Spark – Informing, teaching and measuring lifestyle change, using Open Science techniques.  Spark Weekend, coming January 4-5, is a mix of Startup Weekend and TED, helping people learn about tools that can improve one’s life, with a day of hands-on assistance, to ensure those changes stick.
  • Hydrobee – A portable, turbine-powered, battery, harvesting energy from nature to power the growing number of USB powered devices.  Hydrobee is initially targeting the American camping market, but aiming to provide power to the 100+ million people worldwide who live off-grid, yet own cellphones and use LED lights.
  • Village Green – Everyone has needs, especially entrepreneurs.  Village Green is an online “needs exchange” where needs can be easily posted, searched, followed, and fulfilled.  Based on two years’ experience matching needs in-person via dozens of Green Breakfast Club events in New York City and around the world.
  • Close to Home –  An online marketplace for post-disaster homes, finally fixing the problem of how to rebuild communities after natural disasters like we’ve seen in Hurricane Sandy, in the floods of Boulder, Colorado, and just this week with the tornados just outside Chicago.


Plus three of the Summer 2012 fledglings came back on stage to provide updates:

  • The Buy Nothing Project – From the team that created Trash Backwards, a community building project to share goods and services between neighbors.  Tens of thousands of people have signed up to the dozen Buy Nothing groups since it launched less than six months ago.
  • myTurn – A cloud-based service that makes it as easy to rent goods as to buy. myTurn announced traction not only from 120+ rental stores, but from numerous Fortune 500 companies, who are sharing their own resources within their companies.
  • Community Sourced Capital – Providing loans to local businesses, aggregated from their own customers and supporters.  CSC announced the completion of their 12th loan this year, totaling $175,000 from over 1,000 “squareholders”.

And in keeping with the theme of social good, dinner was catered by Project Feast, winner of Best Startup Non-profit at last week’s SVP Fast Pitch event.  Project Feast works with refugee and disadvantaged women, teaching them the skills to work in the food industry, and at the same time, including but not limited to catering Burmese, Sudanese, and Iraqi cuisine.

For everyone who missed the event, a video is viewable online here, along side the first two Demo Days.


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