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A Philadelphia startup incentivizes good behavior


MilkCrate, a Philadelphia-based app developer with deep social and environmental principles, is growing with its platform geared to “organizations that are changing the world,” says founder Morgan Berman.

Berman launched the company in 2013 with a Yelp-like app for environmentally sustainable Philadelphia businesses. Today, MilkCrate offers a customizable, gamified platform that rewards socially and environmentally impactful behavior while offering its clients – nonprofits, progressive companies, schools – data to track progress in meeting their goals.

MilkCrate founder Morgan Berman

Last month, the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance launched the STAMP by MilkCrate app.

The STAMP (Students in Museums in Philadelphia) program provides Philadelphia teens ages 14 to 19 free access to museums and cultural sites throughout the city. It launched in 2013 using paper membership cards, which the teenagers, being teenagers, lost or forgot to bring to participating sites. Meanwhile, the museums struggled with keeping track of STAMP admissions.

With MilkCrate’s new app, the kids – digital natives all – earn points for their check-ins, allowing individual teens, groups of friends or entire schools to compete for prizes. At the same time, the app provides the Cultural Alliance with real-time metrics and data about how teens experience arts and culture in the city.

Weeks earlier, the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School ran a one-month pilot for with MilkCrate’s Wharton Green Tracker. The Tracker’s goal was to encourage sustainable practices by Penn students and faculty by offering prizes.

“A majority of the activities individuals completed were personal tasks like cooking their own meals, taking the stairs instead of elevators and escalators, as well as switching the lights off,” explains Berman. “Bringing awareness to how every little thing, no matter how small, can have a large and lasting impact if a whole community can get involved.”

An app developed by MilkCrate

The pilot, she adds, was a success with strong growth throughout the month “stirring interest among staff and students, and hopes for it to move to a larger phase for the fall semester.”

MilkCrate lives by its principles. The company became a B Corp in 2016, a rigorous certification process for companies that embrace a triple-bottom-line of people, planet and profit. More recently, Berman joined the board of Philly Startup Leaders.

“We are dedicated to making Philadelphia a place where every entrepreneur can be successful and maximize their impact,” she says. “Embedded in this mission is a commitment to making the magic of startups accessible for all, with a focus on community – both things that are obviously very important to me and make for a special ecosystem here.”

ELISE VIDER is news editor of Keystone Edge. 

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