Create the Future. Today

Much the way California-based Ark turns consumers’ online activity into donations for charity, so Netherlands-based Do The Bright Thing does something similar for solar energy. Specifically, for every purchase made through the site, 10 percent of the purchase value is invested in solar energy. Consumers begin by signing up with Do The Bright Thing before proceeding to shop for whatever they need through the site, which links directly to more than one million products from more than 500 online retailers. The company, meanwhile, has calculated for each of those products how much energy was needed for production, and it lists those amounts next to the products’ prices. For each purchase made, Do the Bright Thing uses a combination of affiliate marketing revenue complemented by bank loans to fund solar panels, which will eventually produce the equivalent energy used in the creation of the product in question. Consumers pay no more for the products they buy than they would anywhere else. Do The Bright Thing, meanwhile, keeps 20 percent of the affiliate fees it earns and invests the rest. Through a partnership with Fair Climate Fund, 5 percent of that investment takes place in developing countries. Consumers also receive an email within 60 days of their purchase with details about where the new solar panels funded by their purchase are being installed. The video below explains the premise in more detail: If all the tablet PCs purchased worldwide this year were bought through Do The Bright Thing, the result would supply 4 million households with green energy for a year, the company says. They have already established affiliate partnerships with Amazon UK and hundreds of other retailers. One to get on board with? Travelers around the world are familiar with the delays caused by airport immigration checks, and Kuala Lumpur International Airport’s Low-Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) is no exception, with wait times of over 45 minutes long during peak periods. Hoping to ease this problem, the terminal has introduced a pilot scheme to carry out biometric immigration checks while passengers are still on-board the plane. The pilot project — believed to be the first of its kind — is expected to start this month and will be introduced on “low-risk” Air Asia flights initially, before rolling out to other destinations if it proves successful. Biometric checks based on measurable biological characteristics will be used to verify the identity of passengers. According to a report in The Star, the program aims to have all passengers checked by the time they land at LCCT, therefore reducing congestion in the terminal. Passengers will not be checked again at the airport unless there are specific problems. The scheme is part of a larger plan which includes providing automatic check-in systems and groups of support personnel in an effort to improve customer experience. The LCCT expects the volume of human traffic to increase by 20 percent over the next year; a trend mirrored in other major airports around the world. Could these checks provide a safe and speedy solution to airport congestion? Spotted by: Raymond Neo Recent variations of the online dating game have included dating in pairs and matches based on social media activity. Now in Sweden, farmers’ cooperative Lantmannen pairs up singles to share leftover dishes or ingredients, creating an environmentally-friendly dinner date. According to Lantmannen, every fifth bag of food in Sweden is thrown away, which prompted the creation of Restdejting in an effort to reduce waste. Members are encouraged to combine their left over ingredients and create a meal with another person. They begin by visiting the website and entering up to five ingredients they have left over. This list is then published to Facebook for other Restdejting singles to browse. There is also a speed dating option, where users can select the ingredient they are looking for to complete their meal, before choosing whether they wish to set up a “dinner for two, three or four”. For example, a user may enter “Sea bass looking for crunchy fennel. Meal for two?” Lantmannen also provide recipe suggestions using the listed leftovers available, for those lacking culinary inspiration. Leftovers dating is a practical solution for reducing waste, with the potential to add a little more spice to dinner. Other entrepreneurs, what spin could you put on the dating game to create more than just potential matches? Hospitals around the world depend on blood donors for the treatment of patients in emergency situations, as well as for the treatment of patients with ongoing conditions. Some blood types, however, are less common than others, making it harder to find matches. Now in India, Socialblood is taking advantage of Facebook to connect people of the same blood group, facilitating blood donations in emergency situations. Socialblood was launched this summer by 22-year-old founder Karthik Naralasetty who won the Staples/Ashoka Youth Social Entrepreneur competition. The Facebook app invites users to register simply by selecting their blood group. They are then connected to one of eight Facebook groups — one for each blood type. They can invite friends to join the campaign via Facebook, post a message in case of an emergency or respond to requests for blood donations. Already Socialblood has seen participation from 1,500 people, and Naralasetty says a recent post from a man asking for blood for his daughter received 74 responses in 24 hours. Could a similar campaign help hospitals find suitable blood donor matches quicker in your locality, and could you be the one to set it up? Spotted by: Murtaza Patel Luan Cox is the founder of HelpersUnite, a crowd-funding platform that connects business ventures and artists with charitable organisations. Previously Luan spent over 15 years in the internet and finance space, as Vice President of Interactive Data Corporation, Executive Vice President of Pinnacor, and Director of Business Development of Quote.com HelpersUnite works by pairing business ventures seeking crowdfunding with charities. If the business venture successfully secures funding with the help of the HelpersUnite community, it must then pay its partnered charity a percentage. A similar model is also in place for event promoters, whereby the HelpersUnite community will help promote an event, provided a percentage of the ticket sales goes to a partnered charity.
Thanks Luan!
You can read more about HelpersUnite in our article here, or visit the HelpersUnite website here.
11. Any final words for aspiring entrepreneurs?
If you have an idea that is burning in your heart and mind, do your research fast (but not too much) and if it keeps you up at night, go for it…and fast. The world needs you. It needs you for jobs, innovation and passion. But…this is not for the weak of heart. It is back-breaking work and only for those with the innocence to continue and the intelligence to know how.
Thanks Luan!
You can read more about HelpersUnite in our article here, or visit the HelpersUnite website here.
10. Tell Springwise a secret…
This is truly a “scoopy” secret. We will launch our second site in January called GreenUnite.com. We will have a submissions site for featured projects live on December 2nd. Any guesses on what GreenUnite.com will focus on?
11. Any final words for aspiring entrepreneurs?
If you have an idea that is burning in your heart and mind, do your research fast (but not too much) and if it keeps you up at night, go for it…and fast. The world needs you. It needs you for jobs, innovation and passion. But…this is not for the weak of heart. It is back-breaking work and only for those with the innocence to continue and the intelligence to know how.
Thanks Luan!
You can read more about HelpersUnite in our article here, or visit the HelpersUnite website here.
9. If you weren’t working on HelpersUnite, what would you be doing?
Probably running a Vietnamese restaurant in Brooklyn. We just don’t have enough and probably creating one that donates a portion of all bowls of pho sold to charity. Now, that would be cool.
10. Tell Springwise a secret…
This is truly a “scoopy” secret. We will launch our second site in January called GreenUnite.com. We will have a submissions site for featured projects live on December 2nd. Any guesses on what GreenUnite.com will focus on?
11. Any final words for aspiring entrepreneurs?
If you have an idea that is burning in your heart and mind, do your research fast (but not too much) and if it keeps you up at night, go for it…and fast. The world needs you. It needs you for jobs, innovation and passion. But…this is not for the weak of heart. It is back-breaking work and only for those with the innocence to continue and the intelligence to know how.
Thanks Luan!
You can read more about HelpersUnite in our article here, or visit the HelpersUnite website here.
8. Where do you see your business in five years, and how will you get there?
HelpersUnite is only the beginning. Our vision from day one has been to build an ecosystem of crowdfunding and crowdsourcing sites all focused on “good.” Our business model and strategy leverages our experience in building scaleable platforms for data intensive and mission critical applications. We intend to utilize this for the greater good and to take the crowdfunding world to another level. That level is to think beyond simply funding someone’s demo CD because it’s cool. How about we fund that CD, donate 10% to a non-profit focused on helping aspiring musicians and perhaps provide support beyond the funding through crowdsourcing? Our passionate goal for the future is to continue to build out flexible technology that resides on every relevant site in the world with a common goal of making it easier for investors and donors to find information and analytics on projects, start-ups and charitable initiatives that match their ideals. We will be a Facebook for making things happen with transparency and a focus on good.
9. If you weren’t working on HelpersUnite, what would you be doing?
Probably running a Vietnamese restaurant in Brooklyn. We just don’t have enough and probably creating one that donates a portion of all bowls of pho sold to charity. Now, that would be cool.
10. Tell Springwise a secret…
This is truly a “scoopy” secret. We will launch our second site in January called GreenUnite.com. We will have a submissions site for featured projects live on December 2nd. Any guesses on what GreenUnite.com will focus on?
11. Any final words for aspiring entrepreneurs?
If you have an idea that is burning in your heart and mind, do your research fast (but not too much) and if it keeps you up at night, go for it…and fast. The world needs you. It needs you for jobs, innovation and passion. But…this is not for the weak of heart. It is back-breaking work and only for those with the innocence to continue and the intelligence to know how.
Thanks Luan!
You can read more about HelpersUnite in our article here, or visit the HelpersUnite website here.
7. If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
As it always takes more time than you think to build a brand and gain more visibility, the only big thing that we would have done differently would have been to be a little more aggressive on our marketing efforts ahead of launch. Getting as much momentum as possible before launching a web site goes a long way. That said, having only launched two months ago, we are pretty pleased with where we are now.
8. Where do you see your business in five years, and how will you get there?
HelpersUnite is only the beginning. Our vision from day one has been to build an ecosystem of crowdfunding and crowdsourcing sites all focused on “good.” Our business model and strategy leverages our experience in building scaleable platforms for data intensive and mission critical applications. We intend to utilize this for the greater good and to take the crowdfunding world to another level. That level is to think beyond simply funding someone’s demo CD because it’s cool. How about we fund that CD, donate 10% to a non-profit focused on helping aspiring musicians and perhaps provide support beyond the funding through crowdsourcing? Our passionate goal for the future is to continue to build out flexible technology that resides on every relevant site in the world with a common goal of making it easier for investors and donors to find information and analytics on projects, start-ups and charitable initiatives that match their ideals. We will be a Facebook for making things happen with transparency and a focus on good.
9. If you weren’t working on HelpersUnite, what would you be doing?
Probably running a Vietnamese restaurant in Brooklyn. We just don’t have enough and probably creating one that donates a portion of all bowls of pho sold to charity. Now, that would be cool.
10. Tell Springwise a secret…
This is truly a “scoopy” secret. We will launch our second site in January called GreenUnite.com. We will have a submissions site for featured projects live on December 2nd. Any guesses on what GreenUnite.com will focus on?
11. Any final words for aspiring entrepreneurs?
If you have an idea that is burning in your heart and mind, do your research fast (but not too much) and if it keeps you up at night, go for it…and fast. The world needs you. It needs you for jobs, innovation and passion. But…this is not for the weak of heart. It is back-breaking work and only for those with the innocence to continue and the intelligence to know how.
Thanks Luan!
You can read more about HelpersUnite in our article here, or visit the HelpersUnite website here.
6. What motivates you to keep going?
The satisfaction of creating and building something that never existed before and that changes the lives of many is intoxicating. This, along with knowing that our families are believing in us and fully expecting us to succeed, is enough to keep you working around the clock.
7. If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
As it always takes more time than you think to build a brand and gain more visibility, the only big thing that we would have done differently would have been to be a little more aggressive on our marketing efforts ahead of launch. Getting as much momentum as possible before launching a web site goes a long way. That said, having only launched two months ago, we are pretty pleased with where we are now.
8. Where do you see your business in five years, and how will you get there?
HelpersUnite is only the beginning. Our vision from day one has been to build an ecosystem of crowdfunding and crowdsourcing sites all focused on “good.” Our business model and strategy leverages our experience in building scaleable platforms for data intensive and mission critical applications. We intend to utilize this for the greater good and to take the crowdfunding world to another level. That level is to think beyond simply funding someone’s demo CD because it’s cool. How about we fund that CD, donate 10% to a non-profit focused on helping aspiring musicians and perhaps provide support beyond the funding through crowdsourcing? Our passionate goal for the future is to continue to build out flexible technology that resides on every relevant site in the world with a common goal of making it easier for investors and donors to find information and analytics on projects, start-ups and charitable initiatives that match their ideals. We will be a Facebook for making things happen with transparency and a focus on good.
9. If you weren’t working on HelpersUnite, what would you be doing?
Probably running a Vietnamese restaurant in Brooklyn. We just don’t have enough and probably creating one that donates a portion of all bowls of pho sold to charity. Now, that would be cool.
10. Tell Springwise a secret…
This is truly a “scoopy” secret. We will launch our second site in January called GreenUnite.com. We will have a submissions site for featured projects live on December 2nd. Any guesses on what GreenUnite.com will focus on?
11. Any final words for aspiring entrepreneurs?
If you have an idea that is burning in your heart and mind, do your research fast (but not too much) and if it keeps you up at night, go for it…and fast. The world needs you. It needs you for jobs, innovation and passion. But…this is not for the weak of heart. It is back-breaking work and only for those with the innocence to continue and the intelligence to know how.
Thanks Luan!
You can read more about HelpersUnite in our article here, or visit the HelpersUnite website here.
5. What drove you crazy when building your business?
Assembling the right team has got to be one of the most important and can be one of the most frustrating experiences in building a business. So many people were and are attracted to the idea of working at a company such as HelpersUnite. While some of the folks we had on board early on were good at what they do, we needed greatness and above all a commitment to being able to ride the emotional ups and downs of building a business. We are in a great place now and learned an important lesson which is that just because someone loves your business idea doesn’t make them an entrepreneur.
6. What motivates you to keep going?
The satisfaction of creating and building something that never existed before and that changes the lives of many is intoxicating. This, along with knowing that our families are believing in us and fully expecting us to succeed, is enough to keep you working around the clock.
7. If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
As it always takes more time than you think to build a brand and gain more visibility, the only big thing that we would have done differently would have been to be a little more aggressive on our marketing efforts ahead of launch. Getting as much momentum as possible before launching a web site goes a long way. That said, having only launched two months ago, we are pretty pleased with where we are now.
8. Where do you see your business in five years, and how will you get there?
HelpersUnite is only the beginning. Our vision from day one has been to build an ecosystem of crowdfunding and crowdsourcing sites all focused on “good.” Our business model and strategy leverages our experience in building scaleable platforms for data intensive and mission critical applications. We intend to utilize this for the greater good and to take the crowdfunding world to another level. That level is to think beyond simply funding someone’s demo CD because it’s cool. How about we fund that CD, donate 10% to a non-profit focused on helping aspiring musicians and perhaps provide support beyond the funding through crowdsourcing? Our passionate goal for the future is to continue to build out flexible technology that resides on every relevant site in the world with a common goal of making it easier for investors and donors to find information and analytics on projects, start-ups and charitable initiatives that match their ideals. We will be a Facebook for making things happen with transparency and a focus on good.
9. If you weren’t working on HelpersUnite, what would you be doing?
Probably running a Vietnamese restaurant in Brooklyn. We just don’t have enough and probably creating one that donates a portion of all bowls of pho sold to charity. Now, that would be cool.
10. Tell Springwise a secret…
This is truly a “scoopy” secret. We will launch our second site in January called GreenUnite.com. We will have a submissions site for featured projects live on December 2nd. Any guesses on what GreenUnite.com will focus on?
11. Any final words for aspiring entrepreneurs?
If you have an idea that is burning in your heart and mind, do your research fast (but not too much) and if it keeps you up at night, go for it…and fast. The world needs you. It needs you for jobs, innovation and passion. But…this is not for the weak of heart. It is back-breaking work and only for those with the innocence to continue and the intelligence to know how.
Thanks Luan!
You can read more about HelpersUnite in our article here, or visit the HelpersUnite website here.
4. What’s the secret ingredient to success as an entrepreneur?
Being tenacious and unreasonable in your expectations of what can be accomplished, while having an almost child-like optimism about what is possible. Remember, there are no limits on what can be done with the right team and the right motivations.
5. What drove you crazy when building your business?
Assembling the right team has got to be one of the most important and can be one of the most frustrating experiences in building a business. So many people were and are attracted to the idea of working at a company such as HelpersUnite. While some of the folks we had on board early on were good at what they do, we needed greatness and above all a commitment to being able to ride the emotional ups and downs of building a business. We are in a great place now and learned an important lesson which is that just because someone loves your business idea doesn’t make them an entrepreneur.
6. What motivates you to keep going?
The satisfaction of creating and building something that never existed before and that changes the lives of many is intoxicating. This, along with knowing that our families are believing in us and fully expecting us to succeed, is enough to keep you working around the clock.
7. If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
As it always takes more time than you think to build a brand and gain more visibility, the only big thing that we would have done differently would have been to be a little more aggressive on our marketing efforts ahead of launch. Getting as much momentum as possible before launching a web site goes a long way. That said, having only launched two months ago, we are pretty pleased with where we are now.
8. Where do you see your business in five years, and how will you get there?
HelpersUnite is only the beginning. Our vision from day one has been to build an ecosystem of crowdfunding and crowdsourcing sites all focused on “good.” Our business model and strategy leverages our experience in building scaleable platforms for data intensive and mission critical applications. We intend to utilize this for the greater good and to take the crowdfunding world to another level. That level is to think beyond simply funding someone’s demo CD because it’s cool. How about we fund that CD, donate 10% to a non-profit focused on helping aspiring musicians and perhaps provide support beyond the funding through crowdsourcing? Our passionate goal for the future is to continue to build out flexible technology that resides on every relevant site in the world with a common goal of making it easier for investors and donors to find information and analytics on projects, start-ups and charitable initiatives that match their ideals. We will be a Facebook for making things happen with transparency and a focus on good.
9. If you weren’t working on HelpersUnite, what would you be doing?
Probably running a Vietnamese restaurant in Brooklyn. We just don’t have enough and probably creating one that donates a portion of all bowls of pho sold to charity. Now, that would be cool.
10. Tell Springwise a secret…
This is truly a “scoopy” secret. We will launch our second site in January called GreenUnite.com. We will have a submissions site for featured projects live on December 2nd. Any guesses on what GreenUnite.com will focus on?
11. Any final words for aspiring entrepreneurs?
If you have an idea that is burning in your heart and mind, do your research fast (but not too much) and if it keeps you up at night, go for it…and fast. The world needs you. It needs you for jobs, innovation and passion. But…this is not for the weak of heart. It is back-breaking work and only for those with the innocence to continue and the intelligence to know how.
Thanks Luan!
You can read more about HelpersUnite in our article here, or visit the HelpersUnite website here.
3. How do you unwind or relax when you’re not working on HelpersUnite?
This IS relaxing.
4. What’s the secret ingredient to success as an entrepreneur?
Being tenacious and unreasonable in your expectations of what can be accomplished, while having an almost child-like optimism about what is possible. Remember, there are no limits on what can be done with the right team and the right motivations.
5. What drove you crazy when building your business?
Assembling the right team has got to be one of the most important and can be one of the most frustrating experiences in building a business. So many people were and are attracted to the idea of working at a company such as HelpersUnite. While some of the folks we had on board early on were good at what they do, we needed greatness and above all a commitment to being able to ride the emotional ups and downs of building a business. We are in a great place now and learned an important lesson which is that just because someone loves your business idea doesn’t make them an entrepreneur.
6. What motivates you to keep going?
The satisfaction of creating and building something that never existed before and that changes the lives of many is intoxicating. This, along with knowing that our families are believing in us and fully expecting us to succeed, is enough to keep you working around the clock.
7. If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
As it always takes more time than you think to build a brand and gain more visibility, the only big thing that we would have done differently would have been to be a little more aggressive on our marketing efforts ahead of launch. Getting as much momentum as possible before launching a web site goes a long way. That said, having only launched two months ago, we are pretty pleased with where we are now.
8. Where do you see your business in five years, and how will you get there?
HelpersUnite is only the beginning. Our vision from day one has been to build an ecosystem of crowdfunding and crowdsourcing sites all focused on “good.” Our business model and strategy leverages our experience in building scaleable platforms for data intensive and mission critical applications. We intend to utilize this for the greater good and to take the crowdfunding world to another level. That level is to think beyond simply funding someone’s demo CD because it’s cool. How about we fund that CD, donate 10% to a non-profit focused on helping aspiring musicians and perhaps provide support beyond the funding through crowdsourcing? Our passionate goal for the future is to continue to build out flexible technology that resides on every relevant site in the world with a common goal of making it easier for investors and donors to find information and analytics on projects, start-ups and charitable initiatives that match their ideals. We will be a Facebook for making things happen with transparency and a focus on good.
9. If you weren’t working on HelpersUnite, what would you be doing?
Probably running a Vietnamese restaurant in Brooklyn. We just don’t have enough and probably creating one that donates a portion of all bowls of pho sold to charity. Now, that would be cool.
10. Tell Springwise a secret…
This is truly a “scoopy” secret. We will launch our second site in January called GreenUnite.com. We will have a submissions site for featured projects live on December 2nd. Any guesses on what GreenUnite.com will focus on?
11. Any final words for aspiring entrepreneurs?
If you have an idea that is burning in your heart and mind, do your research fast (but not too much) and if it keeps you up at night, go for it…and fast. The world needs you. It needs you for jobs, innovation and passion. But…this is not for the weak of heart. It is back-breaking work and only for those with the innocence to continue and the intelligence to know how.
Thanks Luan!
You can read more about HelpersUnite in our article here, or visit the HelpersUnite website here.
2. Can you describe a typical working day?
We have an incredibly talented and dedicated team that doesn’t stop. We work 24/7, literally, as it’s critical to our user-base that we are responsive and always on. It’s important to us that they know that we care as much about their project getting funded as they do, and we will do everything in our power to help them be successful. While at the office together, we have lots of fun but we are obsessed with reaching out to the world via social and mainstream media in order to get the HelpersUnite word out. When we’re not doing that, we are brainstorming on how to innovate the crowdfunding space as well as improve the user experience on HelpersUnite.
3. How do you unwind or relax when you’re not working on HelpersUnite?
This IS relaxing.
4. What’s the secret ingredient to success as an entrepreneur?
Being tenacious and unreasonable in your expectations of what can be accomplished, while having an almost child-like optimism about what is possible. Remember, there are no limits on what can be done with the right team and the right motivations.
5. What drove you crazy when building your business?
Assembling the right team has got to be one of the most important and can be one of the most frustrating experiences in building a business. So many people were and are attracted to the idea of working at a company such as HelpersUnite. While some of the folks we had on board early on were good at what they do, we needed greatness and above all a commitment to being able to ride the emotional ups and downs of building a business. We are in a great place now and learned an important lesson which is that just because someone loves your business idea doesn’t make them an entrepreneur.
6. What motivates you to keep going?
The satisfaction of creating and building something that never existed before and that changes the lives of many is intoxicating. This, along with knowing that our families are believing in us and fully expecting us to succeed, is enough to keep you working around the clock.
7. If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
As it always takes more time than you think to build a brand and gain more visibility, the only big thing that we would have done differently would have been to be a little more aggressive on our marketing efforts ahead of launch. Getting as much momentum as possible before launching a web site goes a long way. That said, having only launched two months ago, we are pretty pleased with where we are now.
8. Where do you see your business in five years, and how will you get there?
HelpersUnite is only the beginning. Our vision from day one has been to build an ecosystem of crowdfunding and crowdsourcing sites all focused on “good.” Our business model and strategy leverages our experience in building scaleable platforms for data intensive and mission critical applications. We intend to utilize this for the greater good and to take the crowdfunding world to another level. That level is to think beyond simply funding someone’s demo CD because it’s cool. How about we fund that CD, donate 10% to a non-profit focused on helping aspiring musicians and perhaps provide support beyond the funding through crowdsourcing? Our passionate goal for the future is to continue to build out flexible technology that resides on every relevant site in the world with a common goal of making it easier for investors and donors to find information and analytics on projects, start-ups and charitable initiatives that match their ideals. We will be a Facebook for making things happen with transparency and a focus on good.
9. If you weren’t working on HelpersUnite, what would you be doing?
Probably running a Vietnamese restaurant in Brooklyn. We just don’t have enough and probably creating one that donates a portion of all bowls of pho sold to charity. Now, that would be cool.
10. Tell Springwise a secret…
This is truly a “scoopy” secret. We will launch our second site in January called GreenUnite.com. We will have a submissions site for featured projects live on December 2nd. Any guesses on what GreenUnite.com will focus on?
11. Any final words for aspiring entrepreneurs?
If you have an idea that is burning in your heart and mind, do your research fast (but not too much) and if it keeps you up at night, go for it…and fast. The world needs you. It needs you for jobs, innovation and passion. But…this is not for the weak of heart. It is back-breaking work and only for those with the innocence to continue and the intelligence to know how.
Thanks Luan!
You can read more about HelpersUnite in our article here, or visit the HelpersUnite website here.
1. Where did the idea for HelpersUnite come from?
Some time ago, my partner and I started noticing the phenomenon of online crowdfunding just starting to take root. Only a few sites were out there at the time, and we noticed that they were all doing great work in helping fund creative projects, but it stopped there. When we took a step back and thought about how crowdfunding could be even more powerful and make a bigger difference, we came up with HelpersUnite. We decided to create a platform that could do social and artistic “good” through empowering filmmakers, musicians and entrepreneurs to help a charity in parallel with making their own dreams happen.
2. Can you describe a typical working day?
We have an incredibly talented and dedicated team that doesn’t stop. We work 24/7, literally, as it’s critical to our user-base that we are responsive and always on. It’s important to us that they know that we care as much about their project getting funded as they do, and we will do everything in our power to help them be successful. While at the office together, we have lots of fun but we are obsessed with reaching out to the world via social and mainstream media in order to get the HelpersUnite word out. When we’re not doing that, we are brainstorming on how to innovate the crowdfunding space as well as improve the user experience on HelpersUnite.
3. How do you unwind or relax when you’re not working on HelpersUnite?
This IS relaxing.
4. What’s the secret ingredient to success as an entrepreneur?
Being tenacious and unreasonable in your expectations of what can be accomplished, while having an almost child-like optimism about what is possible. Remember, there are no limits on what can be done with the right team and the right motivations.
5. What drove you crazy when building your business?
Assembling the right team has got to be one of the most important and can be one of the most frustrating experiences in building a business. So many people were and are attracted to the idea of working at a company such as HelpersUnite. While some of the folks we had on board early on were good at what they do, we needed greatness and above all a commitment to being able to ride the emotional ups and downs of building a business. We are in a great place now and learned an important lesson which is that just because someone loves your business idea doesn’t make them an entrepreneur.
6. What motivates you to keep going?
The satisfaction of creating and building something that never existed before and that changes the lives of many is intoxicating. This, along with knowing that our families are believing in us and fully expecting us to succeed, is enough to keep you working around the clock.
7. If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
As it always takes more time than you think to build a brand and gain more visibility, the only big thing that we would have done differently would have been to be a little more aggressive on our marketing efforts ahead of launch. Getting as much momentum as possible before launching a web site goes a long way. That said, having only launched two months ago, we are pretty pleased with where we are now.
8. Where do you see your business in five years, and how will you get there?
HelpersUnite is only the beginning. Our vision from day one has been to build an ecosystem of crowdfunding and crowdsourcing sites all focused on “good.” Our business model and strategy leverages our experience in building scaleable platforms for data intensive and mission critical applications. We intend to utilize this for the greater good and to take the crowdfunding world to another level. That level is to think beyond simply funding someone’s demo CD because it’s cool. How about we fund that CD, donate 10% to a non-profit focused on helping aspiring musicians and perhaps provide support beyond the funding through crowdsourcing? Our passionate goal for the future is to continue to build out flexible technology that resides on every relevant site in the world with a common goal of making it easier for investors and donors to find information and analytics on projects, start-ups and charitable initiatives that match their ideals. We will be a Facebook for making things happen with transparency and a focus on good.
9. If you weren’t working on HelpersUnite, what would you be doing?
Probably running a Vietnamese restaurant in Brooklyn. We just don’t have enough and probably creating one that donates a portion of all bowls of pho sold to charity. Now, that would be cool.
10. Tell Springwise a secret…
This is truly a “scoopy” secret. We will launch our second site in January called GreenUnite.com. We will have a submissions site for featured projects live on December 2nd. Any guesses on what GreenUnite.com will focus on?
11. Any final words for aspiring entrepreneurs?
If you have an idea that is burning in your heart and mind, do your research fast (but not too much) and if it keeps you up at night, go for it…and fast. The world needs you. It needs you for jobs, innovation and passion. But…this is not for the weak of heart. It is back-breaking work and only for those with the innocence to continue and the intelligence to know how.
Thanks Luan!
You can read more about HelpersUnite in our article here, or visit the HelpersUnite website here. According to US company Mobisante, more than 70 percent of the world’s population are without access to ultrasound devices, usually because they are too expensive and not portable enough. However, with the recently launched MobiUS — a smartphone-based ultrasound imaging system — they hope to offer a convenient and affordable solution. The MobiUS device and abdominal probe are designed to allow medical professionals to take ultrasound images and videos wherever they are, and share information with remote providers via a mobile or wifi network. Measuring 5.1” by 2.75” the device can fit into a pocket, however a version compatible with Windows-based tablets is also in development with a bigger screen and higher image resolution. Users select what type of patient examination is taking place — for example cardiac or vascular — before starting the scan. Ultrasound images can then be adjusted in contrast and intensity, and the software can also calculate measurements and add text. A camera on the phone, meanwhile, can capture external images and video which can be shared via email or saved to a PC. Mobisante believe the device and probe — costing USD 7,495 — will facilitate quicker diagnosis, and will be ideal for disaster relief teams and mobile medical professionals. The video below explains Mobisante in more detail: It should be noted that the MobiUS device cannot be used to make and receive calls or text messages, nor can the probe be used on other smartphone devices. However, there’s plenty of inspiration here for entrepreneurs hoping to make other medical tests more accessible using smartphone technology. Spotted by: Florent Lesauvage Earlier this year we featured Boxpark in London, a pop-up shopping mall to be constructed from 60 shipping containers. Now in Christchurch, New Zealand, Re:START have used shipping crates to form a temporary retail center on the site of the Cashel Mall that was destroyed in February’s earthquake. Having received funding from the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal and ASB bank, Re:START created the project in order to stimulate economic recovery and tourism in the city center while plans are made for a more permanent use of the space. The precinct currently features 27 shops, including a variety of retailers and two cafés, and a series of concerts were used to mark its opening, which coincided with the activity and excitement around this year’s New Zealand Cup and Show week. Mayor Bob Parker believes the mall will restore pride in the city, saying “is the beginning of our city making the most extraordinary comeback”. The video below shows the temporary mall in more detail: Regular Springwise readers will be aware of the numerous incarnations of the humble shipping container — from health clinics to cinemas — and now we’re seeing how it can be used to regenerate areas in need of an economic boost. Inspiration for an area near you? Spotted by: Clare Burgess We’ve seen the creation of halal baby food and halal cosmetics over the years, both free of ingredients that are forbidden by Islamic law. Given that alcohol is also one of those forbidden ingredients, it makes sense that there’s now ArKay, a brand-new halal-certified whisky beverage that’s entirely alcohol-free. Gearing up for a global launch this week, Florida-based ArKay bills itself as “the world’s first alcohol-free, whisky-flavored drink.” The beverage includes no alcohol and so is technically considered a soft drink; at the same time, it’s said to taste just like the “real thing,” its maker asserts. Not only that, but the product conforms to halal guidelines and is made with certified halal ingredients. From December, ArKay will be available in one-liter glass bottles and 12-oz. aluminum cans for USD 10 and USD 4, respectively. With a potential market that amounts to roughly a quarter of the world’s population, ArKay is now seeking qualified distributors and importers around the globe. Retailers far and wide: time to get in line? In this era of financial crisis, many banks find themselves struggling to gain favor and trust among young adults. Hoping to rectify this, Singapore’s OCBC Bank recently launched a new banking service targeting just those consumers, with a variety of specially designed products and services. We’ve already seen banks target immigrants, gay consumers and women, but — similar in some ways to microcharity Jolkona’s youth-targeted approach — OCBC Bank’s new FRANK brand aims to deliver a fresh new array of banking services to young consumers. Trendy retail stores take the place of staid banking branches, for example, while customers can choose from among more than 130 stylish designs for their credit and debit cards. Savings accounts, meanwhile, offer a considerably higher interest rate than most competitors. There are no initial deposits required, and no monthly fees for those under 26 years old. The video below summarizes the basic concept underlying FRANK: If there’s any industry in need of a fresh approach today, it’s banking. Other financial institutions around the globe: what about you? Spotted by: Wee Hoon Tan Just as non-profits can benefit from an infusion of outside professional skills, so too can government leaders. That is essentially the premise behind San Francisco-based Fuse Corps, who are attempting to tackle the most pressing problems in the US by enlisting entrepreneurial professionals for one-year fellowships with visionary governors, mayors or social entrepreneurs. In anticipation of its next March-to-March fellowship cycle, Fuse Corps is currently interviewing professionals from the private sector who have at least eight years of experience, demonstrated leadership skills and a commitment to public service. The 10 to 20 applicants who are selected will begin their fellowship with an intensive, two-week leadership course, equipping them with the core skills necessary to be successful in government and cross-sector environments. Fellows will then be assigned either to “cabinet-level” positions, working with leaders in state and local governments, or to community-based organizations, working on grassroots projects in education, health care, low income housing, economic development, workforce development and green initiatives, for example. Fellows can either be “on-loan” from their employers, receiving salary and benefits as usual, or they can receive a stipend in their Fuse Corps placement. The video below offers an overview featuring Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, who will have two Fuse Corps fellows reporting to him in 2012 on energy reform and education. Entrepreneurs far and wide: time to bring your hard-won business skills to the public table?