A new company must consider the social impact implications throughout its entire value chain.” Richard Branson
For those who don’t know me, my name is Marco Barbosa and I’m a co-founder of eSolidar, together with Rui Ramos and Miguel Vieira. We’ve been hard at work and are over the moon to announce some exciting news.
In May 2014, we launched officially what we call a “solidarity ecosystem”, so that technology could empower social impact (and vice-versa), connecting and engaging the different factors of the social economy. eSolidar.com is a 2-sided marketplace that combines charities and their communities, by offering easy ways to raise funds and awareness to amazing charitable causes.
The key to survival for many small charities is to successfully diversify their funding sources without losing the essence of what they do and why they are unique.” Lewis Garland
Since launching we’ve been surrounded with several questions regarding our business model, and our market approach. Is it possible to combine profit and social impact? Is it “ethical” to make money through supporting great charitable causes? Is there a profit vs. social impact issue? The consensus is that your company should either support causes OR you make money, there is no in-between. We believe we’re contributing to changing stubborn mindsets, where we can have profit AND social impact. We work daily to develop innovation in the way the community, companies, brands and celebrities get involved and collaborate with good causes, so they can empower each other. We truly believe that by connecting the best from the so called “for-profit” and “nonprofit”, we will be able to bridge the gap and make these two “worlds” stronger.
I’ve always felt that social impact and profitability are two sides of the same coin.” Richard Branson
We believe in social innovation and in the massive impact that technology can create within this sector. But we also believe that social impact can disrupt traditional business models, it is also our obligation to show it’s possible.
We have a visceral reaction to the idea that anyone would make very much money helping other people. Interestingly, we don’t have a visceral reaction to the notion of people would make a lot of money not helping other people” Dan Pallotta
Within the last 2 years, we are fortunate to have a community of close to 40,000 people and to have supported over 700 charities, mostly in Portugal, Brazil and UK. We’ve had the privilege to work with partners like Impact Hub, Rock in Rio and Vodafone, among others. We’ve done initiatives with 100+ celebrities including Miley Cyrus, Johnny Depp, Linkin Park, Maroon 5, Metallica, Muse and Cristiano Ronaldo.
We’ve been selected by the European Youth Award as the “Best Business Potential 2014” and by Forbes 30under30 Europe for Social Entrepreneurship, earlier this year. Our journey was never easy, and trying to make a startup grow when we work with charities, is something that’s not always appealing to venture capitalists. Also, impact investing is still in early days.
However, we’ve been fortunate to have investors that support us on a daily basis, and have a community that believes in our mission. In the last few months, a big part of our community showed interest by supporting us more actively and becoming part of our family.
That’s also why we’ve decided to open part of the company to anyone that believes in what we are building, and wants to empower us closely and more effectively. It means that, everyone can invest in our company, have a potential high financial return and, at the same time, support hundreds of charities. This will allow us to expand our operations and start our second phase of our growth strategy. This time, companies will also become part of the ecosystem, where we will be able to provide tools for companies to better engage with their employees through CSR strategies, becoming more effective on how they empower their employees and how to optimize their social impact.
Well, you and I know that when you prohibit failure, you kill innovation. If you kill innovation in fundraising, you can’t raise more revenue; if you can’t raise more revenue, you can’t grow; and if you can’t grow, you can’t possibly solve large social problems” Dan Pallotta
Because of all this (and much more) we’ve decided to give the opportunity to our community to become part of our journey. We’ve been growing rapidly, mainly in new markets, and this investment will allow us to go forward with our next stage. For that, we’ve started an equity crowdfunding campaign through Seedrs. Anyone can invest as little as £10 to become a shareholder of eSolidar and be a part of this new mindset.
Because we have a platform focused on supporting communities, we want the platform to be owned also by the community.
The campaign launched to the public on 28th of June and anyone can invest here: www.seedrs.com/esolidar
If you have any questions or would like to have a call/coffee, please reach me on firstname.lastname@example.org.