Before we dive into a great interview with an awesome Atlanta based startup, I get applause and a lot of flack from the term slacktivist. It’s definitely not a bad thing, and actually I’m hoping the term gets picked up. As busy as people are in 2012 “slacktivist” are the things that people can do without any additional, trying to actually contribute back to the community. Tom’s shoes for instance is a great example of slacktivism. Pubslush is also another great example of slacktivism.
I certainly don’t have the time to get out there and participate in relay for life races anymore or bake sales, although I am looking forward to selling girl scout cookies with my daughter. In the meantime though I am definitely a proud slacktivist and I love platforms like SocialVest. I’m that guy that always rounds up at GoDaddy and at Petco, why because it’s super easy and it helps. So check out this awesome Atlanta startup.
SocialVest is probably the easiest platform for a slacktivist or ok you don’t want to be a slacktivist, how about it’s the easiest platform for anyone who wants to make sizable contributions to a cause through shopping. After all you can only buy so many Live Strong bracelets at Radio Shack (are people still doing that these days?).
Once you register for an account at Slacktivist you accrue cash back awards from the 100s of retailers that are partnered with SocialVest. Then you take that reward money and select one or as many causes as you would like, out of over 1.5 million causes, to receive that bonus. Socialvest calls it “Purchase On Purpose” and it’s really really easy.
As they explain in the interview below, partner retailers give back up to 35% of a purchase (based on the retailer and their agreement with Socialvest) that money than goes into your reward account and is given to the causes of your choice at the intervals and amounts you choose. The more you shop online the more you contribute to the causes that matter most to you. Without doing an extra thing, period.
Pretty awesome right?
Check out the interview below and don’t kid yourself if you don’t have time to get out and do the volunteer things you want or write that check to the cause you love, sign up for Socialvest. It’s easy.
What is Socialvest?
Socialvest is the fastest growing cause-based shopping platform benefiting worthy non- profit organizations. With hundreds of retailers to choose from including Amazon, Best Buy, J&R, Bonobos, Warby Parker & more members earn money every time they shop online at a participating retailers site. The money they earn accrues in their Giving Account and can be donated to any combination of registered organizations (over 1.5 million) at any time at no additional cost to the consumer.
Socialvest provides 4 great ways to earn for the causes you care about, through our browser apps (supported for IE, afari, Chrome & Firefox), through the Socialvest iPhone app, the mobile optimized site and through the Socialvest mall.
Socialvest retailers give back anywhere from 1-35% of your total purchase at no additional cost to the consumer.
Who are the founders and what are their backgrounds?
Socialvest was founded by social entrepreneur Adam Ross.
Adam, a graduate of University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill has always believed that people inherently want to do good. That’s why he’s made it his mission to turn the traditional business model into sustainable social enterprise.
Adam’s light bulb moment to start Socialvest came to him during an event with some of the world’s largest brands. When the conversation steered towards how the companies gave back, Adam recognized a major disparity in how brands were giving back and why consumers were engaging with brands because of their philanthropic efforts.
So Adam set out to revolutionize the way brands and consumers interact by focusing on three extraordinarily powerful forces: shopping, consumer consciousness and social media. The model allows consumers to buy the things they want and need, while simultaneously giving them a chance to support their favorite causes and inspiring their friends to join them. In addition to running Socialvest, Adam sits on the board for First Step, which helps homeless men and women obtain income.
What is the startup scene like in Atlanta?
Atlanta has a vibrant and quickly growing startup ecosystem including well-established companies such as WhatCounts, Scoutmob, and Kudzu to exciting new companies such as We&Co, eRemedy, Socialvest (shameless self-promotion) and more.
Atlanta is also home to a number of venture capital firms, individual & networks of angles and incubators.
Do you have access to the resources you need in Atlanta?
Yes. Atlanta has a good mix of creative agencies, developers, email service providers and other resources a startup might need.
What problem does Socialvest solve?
Socialvest was built to solve three related problems. One, create a “real” loyalty program that builds true value for brands. Two, empower consumers to leverage an action they take everyday; shop, to enact change and three, provide non-profits with a steady stream of unrestricted funds.
Who is your target user?
Really our model resonates with people across the board but our focus is on cause-minded consumers.
What is your secret sauce?
A great team & perseverance. Every startup will face challenges you never expected but the team you build is ultimately your best opportunity for success. From our employees, to our board members & advisors, as well as our agency relationships we’ve built a really strong team of smart, creative and talented people.
What is one dilemma you faced in the startup process?
One, that’s a joke right? If I have to narrow it down it’s really time and money and unfortunately they work against each other.
What is one challenge you’ve overcome in the startup process?
Not being discouraged by rejection. Most startups, mine included, receive a lot of “no’s” before you get a “yes.” The most successful startups have the ability to believe in themselves and what they’re trying to do and keep going.
Who are some of your business role models and mentors?
I’ve been very fortunate to meet great people throughout my career that have become board members or advisors for Socialvest including Doug Curling, former President of ChoicePoint, Alan Taetle, General Partner at Noro-Moseley and Greg Block an entrepreneur.
I also admire entrepreneurs like Richard Branson and Marc Cuban who never color outside the lines and have created cultures of positivity and innovation.
What’s next for Socialvest?
Continuing to build community partnerships locally and across the country. Socialvest was built to be a tool to empower, support and mobilize and our best opportunity to see that vision become a reality is by getting the tool in peoples hands (lots of them).
In addition to community partnerships we are also actively building out offline retail relationships to further extend consumers opportunities to shop and earn for the things they care about at every opportunity.
Check out Socialvest at their site socialvest.us
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