Our Story

Our Story

StartSomeGood was created out of the meeting of two people, Tom Dawkins and Alex Budak, joined afterwards by a critical third, Renata van Diest, who shared a desire to help social innovators and local changemakers access the resources they need to make a difference.

Tom and Alex met at Ashoka in Washington DC, an international NGO at the forefront of the social entrepreneurship movement worldwide. Inspired by Ashoka's vision of an ͞Everyone a Changemaker World, they both, separately, began thinking about how to support more innovation in the social sector.

The inability of the traditional social funding sector to support innovation – i.e. things not yet proven to work – is an acute problem in a world where the pace of change is constantly accelerating. We need new solutions to old problems, and new ideas to take advantage of new opportunities. Most funders, whether government, foundations or corporates, want to fund things they know will work, with strong metrics and evidence. There's a real aversion to risk and sense of shame whenever things don't work. We really need to shift that culture and learn from what we've seen in the technology industry – you need to make a lot of bets, and accept a lot of failure, to find the truly transformative ideas.

Tom and Alex were very inspired by Kickstarter as they started to grow fast in 2009. We felt they were solving a very similar problem to the one we wanted to solve: how do you help innovators go around the gate-keepers (for them, record label execs, publishers, gallery owners etc, for us, foundations, government funding, etc) and connect them directly with – and help them build - communities of supporters. We wanted to provide social entrepreneurs the same opportunity they were providing creative entrepreneurs.

And we felt strongly that it wasn't enough to just provide the technology, and knew from experience (Tom had founded 3 non-profits previously) that fundraising for causes is an art that can be learned, but requires knowing what works to be good at. We thought we could accelerate the learning and increase the success of projects by giving them access to better information and personal feedback based on a specific understanding of fundraising for community benefit projects.

StartSomeGood launched on March 1 2011, and has since helped over 1000 projects raise the funds they need to start good. We͛re a bit different from most crowdfunding platforms, which are all about launching the maximum number of projects as quickly as possible. Our mission is to help as many projects as possible to actually reach their goal. So we work with a smaller number of projects but offer them real assistance in crafting their campaigns and, once they are launched, in sharing them.

The end result is the highest projects success rate in cause crowdfunding.

Alex left StartSomeGood in 2012 to work on some exciting projects in Sweden, where he had moved. Tom headed back to Australia that same year for the birth of his first of now two sons, and Renata joined the company as CTO soon afterwards. It was a big year of change.

Since then we have raised (modest) investment, completely rebuilt this site and overhauled our brand, pioneered a matched funding model we call Crowdmatch with partners across the corporate, foundation and government sectors and launched an API which is powering partner sites like Dreamstarter. Find out more about these innovative partnerships.