Social Venture Fund

  • Featured News
    reFort Social Card

    reFort the Third Business Investment of the CSD Social Venture Fund

    - by CSD

    At the end of every semester, students generate tons of waste when they move out of residences. Have you ever wondered exactly how much waste is generated? It’s clearly enough to be a problem. Students leave colleges and universities with the expense of picking up after them and properly disposing of their waste. What can be done about this?

    Enter reFort, a startup concept that is led by Myles Goldberg, Ethan Kramer, and Sean Maiwald. It all started as an idea for a contest, and through pitch after pitch became more refined, and now is a business venture on the verge of breaking out.

    Kramer said, “reFort picks up durable goods otherwise intended for disposal, and refurbishes and resells them at lower cost to those moving into residences. We want to show that ‘going green’ can be beneficial for people and make good business sense, too.”

    Originally composed of Maiwald, Goldberg, and Zohaib Qureshi, reFort won second place in the final round at Climathon in October 2016, a 24-hour hack-a-thon hosted at the George Washington University. Many of the judges were themselves from the D.C. area and loved the idea. Ethan Kramer came aboard during the second round of this contest to fill out the team. They pressed onward, placing third at the Gallaudet University Business Pitch Competition in February 2017, and began piloting the project a few months later at Gallaudet.

    Ethan Kramer

    Ethan Kramer, Founder

    Myles Goldberg

    Myles Goldberg, Founder

    Sean Maiwald

    Sean Maiwald, Founder

    It was then they decided to apply for the CSD SVF, and are now the third recipient of SVF support. “We knew reFort was perfect for the SVF incubator program, CSD CEO Christopher Soukup said. “The reFort partners are representing the Deaf community as leaders in tackling the problem of waste, an issue that affects everyone on the planet.” Their focus right now is in the Washington, D.C. area, at Gallaudet University. They will be testing their model, and refining it, while building their brand and marketing through CSD Creative, which will help develop their logo and build their website. Eventually reFort wants to develop a mobile app to make their service even more accessible.

    “Based on the amazing community response we’ve had so far, we’d love 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,” said Goldberg.

    Soukup added, “We’re very keen about advising this young and enthusiastic team and providing the essential resources for a strong business infrastructure.” The reFort team never expected to get this far this quickly, and want you to know that you, too, can grow an idea to fruition. As Sean Maiwald says, “I can, you can, we all can!”

    Visit the reFort SVF Partner