WASHINGTON (PRWEB) February 20, 2018
Communication Service for the Deaf Names reFort as its Third Social Venture Fund Investment Partner
Startup to Reduce Durable Goods Waste From College Student Moves
Washington, D.C. (February 20, 2018) — Communication Service of the Deaf (CSD) today announced its third investment partner for the CSD Social Venture Fund (SVF) program: reFort, a Washington, D.C. startup that has a goal of reducing the waste generated when people move from or to residences with a particular focus on colleges and universities.
reFort, led by Ethan Kramer, Myles Goldberg and Sean Maiwald, was first conceived at a 24-hour “hack-a-thon,” Climathon, at The George Washington University in October 2016. Sean Maiwald, one of the original players, devised this idea with Goldberg and Zohaib Qureshi.
“The majority of the Climathon judges were from the D.C. area, and they loved our idea,” Maiwald said. “When we placed second in the final round, we knew we had something really good on our hands and decided to pursue it.” It was during the second round of the Climathon that Kramer came onboard.
“The idea is that at the end of each semester or academic year, many students simply dump or abandon their furniture/appliances, leaving universities to take care of disposal,” Goldberg said. “reFort is unique in that it functions on demand and picks up durable goods otherwise intended for disposal, and refurbishes and resells them at lower cost to those moving into residences.”
After placing third at the Gallaudet Business Pitch Competition in February 2017, they began piloting the project a few months later, and decided to apply for the CSD SVF.
“When we met with the group, we knew it was a perfect fit for our SVF,” CSD Chief Executive Officer Christopher Soukup said. “If you look at all three of our first-round investment partners, you’ll see that each is at a different stage. Mozzeria is a mature business at the expansion stage, DeafTax.com is a spin-off of a successful small business working towards growth, and now reFort is a genuine start-up that is still at the seed stage of development.”
Soukup continued, “The CSD SVF not only supports Deaf businesses, but works to support Deaf partners who are addressing global issues that affect everyone. reFort, through our support, will be better able to position and center Deaf people as leaders in addressing the problem of waste.” Soukup added, “It’ll be a tremendous process to support reFort from start-up to the development of a solid business structure, starting with building up their model and branding. We’re very keen about advising this enthusiastic team and providing the essential resources for a strong business infrastructure.”
reFort has many plans, such as building relationships with colleges and universities, building its brand and website through CSD Creative, and eventually developing a mobile app for buying and selling, transporting, refurbishing, delivery and storing recycled assets.
“It’s our goal to achieve sustainability within the first two years of operations,” Goldberg said. “Based on the amazing community response we’ve had so far, we’d love it if the community wants to support us. People can donate items, buy the items we have for sale and help spread the word about our business. That’s the proven Deaf ecosystem that we want to tap into and we’re very excited about partnering with CSD.”
Vice President Public Relations, Engagement and Policy