Our start-up BetterNow.org is turning 1 year old, and now might be a good time to sum up what we have learned and achieved during this first period – and share what our goals are for 2012.
It’s actually has been two years since we first got the idea. I was in Miami with my wife, and as I was swimming in the 30 degrees warm water. I felt so privileged and grateful that a “strange” feeling came up in me: why does there have to be poverty in the world? In mean, there is so much wealth (I was surrounded by it there at Ocean Drive, just look at the average no. of plastic surgeries per person in that area…) that no one really needs to starve, die of curable diseases, live in fear every day. I wanted to do something about it, so I started looking for a business idea to target one specific problem: how do we make the world more generous?
It had to be scalable, so we wanted it to be an online concept. We started looking at all the existing platforms and forums out there working on the topic of helping charities collect more money: Facebook Causes, JustGiving in the UK, GlobalGiving, Razoo, Crowdrise in the USA, EveryDayHero in Australia. They were successful, and are all having a very important social impact – but we envisioned a bigger game: we wanted to radically change the whole process and experience around donating to charity, and our aim would be to create a truly global next level donation platform. A big ambition, but a worthwhile mission we felt.
So a year ago we kicked it off for real. The founding team became myself (on behalf of Rainmaking), Bent Haugland and Søren Houen. Bent is an extremely talented entrepreneur, and Søren a kick ass developer. The three of us started the work. We got a handful of passionate and skilled freelancers and part timers to help us. And these are our six most important achievements during the first 12 months:
- We got the first 20 charities to commit to a partnership with us, among others Amnesty, Save The Children, UNICEF, Cancer Research and WWF.
- We got the first 700 people to set up online fundraising campaigns at our site, they asked their network to donate which 8,000 of them did, resulting in 200,000 GBP (1,7M DKK) for our charities.
- Launched first a beta site, and then a more proper version 1 site.
- BetterNow mentioned in more than 100 (that’s right!) articles in Danish magazines and newspapers.
- Got chosen by national Danish television (DR) as partner for their big annual fundraising show (Danmarks Indsamlingen).
- We just closed an investment round of 350,000 GBP (3M DKK) from a group of first tier business angels.
Going forward, the most important 3 goals for 2012 are:
- Go viral. So far we have done a hundred small things to attract our traffic. We have learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t, and now it is time to put that knowledge together and figure out a way to grow fast, fast, fast
- Get a good foothold in Sweden and Germany, we need to think and be international early on
- Raise minimum 1 million GBP (8.5M DKK) for charity during 2012. That would be a 5x growth compared to 2011, and would put us on the path of exponential growth that we are aiming for
We will soon hire a rock star programmer, and an excellent country manager for Sweden (Swedish, living in Stockholm, sales profile) – watch this space for more info.
So all in all a good start – but lot’s more to be done. Luckily it’s all good stuff and extremely fun and rewarding work. Thanks for taking the time to get yourself familiar with the progress in BetterNow