ERIE, Pa. (Dec. 19) – Today, Erie Insurance took another step toward securing a bright, vibrant future for Erie, Pennsylvania, by investing in two startup companies.
Startups were part of the Erie Innovation District’s accelerator – Secure Erie Accelerator. A total of nine startups participated in the accelerator this past summer. Of the nine, Erie Insurance identified several for potential investment. Startups were fully vetted, and following the analysis it was determined that they would invest in two companies SimpleSense and CityGrows. Erie Insurance also announced they will continue to evaluate a third company for potential future investment.
“Our primary objective is to help drive economic growth in Erie, Pa., and to help the Erie Innovation District succeed. Through these investments, we hope to encourage other innovators to see Erie, Pa., as an entrepreneurial hub,” said Tim NeCastro, president and CEO of Erie Insurance.
Erie Insurance’s investments represent seed monies to support continued product development work as well as fuel efforts around sales, marketing, and additional investments.
SimpleSense is in the InsurTech space, speeding up emergency response with sensors and apps that share key information between building owners and first responders. The investment was made because their model aligns with Erie Insurance’s business strategy and objectives.
CityGrows is creating a solution to streamline and digitize government processes, simplifying online transactions. It is a cloud-based workflow management platform for local government. CityGrows makes standard processes like dog licenses and building permits easier to manage and use. CityGrows provides 24/7 digital access to government services. With CityGrows, permits and licenses are issued up to 75% faster, while communication with residents and businesses improves. CityGrows is growing rapidly and now serves governments in Pennsylvania, California, and Massachusetts.
“As an early stage startup, you can’t hope for a better strategic partner who not only understands the quirks of a startup, but also dives right in to product development,” said Eric Kanagy, SimpleSense CEO. “We have been pleasantly surprised with not only Erie’s speed to close but also their willingness to evaluate novel solutions to big problems.”
Catherine Geanuracos, CEO and Co-founder of CityGrows said "The CityGrows team is excited to grow our presence in Erie and in Western Pennsylvania with the help of this investment from Erie insurance. We'll soon be hiring our second Erie-based employee, as well as helping the City of Erie move more of its operations online. We have felt so welcomed and supported here in Erie, and it's a privilege to be part of such a civically engaged community working together to create economic opportunity."
“The investment Erie Insurance is making in these startups is a strong demonstration of the company’s commitment to drive innovation and economic development in Erie, Pennsylvania,” said Karl Sanchack, Erie Innovation District president & CEO. "Erie Insurance has widened the door to opportunity for these and other startups, building relationships and stimulating economic growth in collaboration with the district's partners and sponsors."