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Erie Insurance to invest in two startups that were part of Secure Erie Accelerator

ERIE, Pa., Dec. 20, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Erie Insurance took another step toward securing a bright, vibrant future for Erie, Pennsylvania, by investing in two startup companies.

Eric Kanagy, SimpleSense CEO, demonstrates SimpleSense emergency response sensors.

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."

About Erie Insurance
According to A.M. Best Company, Erie Insurance Group, based in Erie, Pennsylvania, is the 10th largest homeowners insurer and 11th largest automobile insurer in the United States based on direct premiums written and the 16th largest property/casualty insurer in the United States based on total lines net premium written. The Group, rated A+ (Superior) by A.M. Best Company, has more than 5 million policies in force and operates in 12 states and the District of Columbia. Erie Insurance Group is a FORTUNE 500 company.

News releases and more information about Erie Insurance Group are available at www.erieinsurance.com.

About Erie Innovation District
In September 2016, Mercyhurst University received a $4 million grant to lead development of an "Erie Innovation District" in collaboration with corporate partners Erie Insurance, McManis and Monsalve Associates and Velocity Network, Inc. The Shaping Tomorrow grant was awarded by the Erie Community Foundation, Susan Hirt Hagen Fund for Transformational Philanthropy and the Erie County Gaming Revenue Authority. Since its establishment, the Erie Innovation District has been dedicated to reshaping the city and promoting economic growth through investment, startup acceleration and "smart city" implementation. 

More information about the Erie Innovation District is available at www.erieinnovationdistrict.com.

Erie Insurance. (PRNewsFoto/Erie Insurance) (PRNewsfoto/Erie Insurance)

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SOURCE Erie Insurance

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