Online charity platform eSolidar, used by the likes of Elton John and Katy Perry, helps people shop, sell and donate easily to their favourite charitable causes.
Founder – Marco Barbosa, 28 years-old.
Launch Date – May 2014
Country – Portugal
Success Story – eSolidar has achieved over 120% growth in the past 9 months and it’s Marco’s 3rd startup to date.
How did you discover eSolidar and how does it works?
eSolidar is a global giving marketplace that allows people to shop, sell and donate to their favourite charitable causes.
At the same time, it enables charities to diversify their fundraising base and reach new audiences through online charity shops, donations and special charity auctions with celebrities or brands.
The inspiration was about having social impact and profit in the same equation. I’ve always been passionate about social impact, but started my entrepreneurship adventure through traditional businesses, but always with a social impact side.
Now, my team and I have decided that social impact is as important as the business model or the potential to scale.
It should be equally important and the combination of all aspects of the business should be greater than the sum of its individual parts.
What type of funding support have you received for the business?
So far, we’ve been funded by business angels and venture capital. We are now equity crowdfunding, so our community can become stakeholders and support us even more.
Some partners have also been very helpful, including Impact Hub, Rock in Rio and TAP.
The future of eSolidar – How Do you Plan To expand into the UK?
We’ve been partnering with several music festivals in the UK and we are already working with over 200 charities. Also, partners like Impact Hub have been helping us adapt the technology to the UK audience and introducing us to industry experts to support our strategy.
What Was The Attraction To Social Entrepreneurship?
The idea of having a direct correlation between growing and impact is what drives our motivation. We can’t grow our revenue without raising more money for charities and vice-versa.
Since I was little, I dreamt about changing the world and for that, I thought I needed to become a billionaire first, like Bill Gates. Of course, then I realised, I don’t need to be a Bill Gates to do that.
Now, the team and I are using our knowledge and tech expertise to start changing how the community, charities, companies, and celebrities engage in order to raise more funds and awareness for those amazing charitable causes.
Our journey was never easy but it has been worthy. However, trying to make a ‘for-profit with purpose’ start-up grow, when you work with and for charities, is something that’s not always appealing to venture capitalists.
I would say that’s also due to the fact that we are in a kind of a ‘blind spot or grey area’ between web/tech/e-commerce and charity/non-profit/social impact. But, at the same time, eSolidar can be an investment opportunity that offers the potential for a high financial return while doing good.
Any More Success Story To Share?
Being able to attract venture capital to a social business is a great achievement. Also, working with big companies in a creative way to develop their social responsibility has been a good challenge, but with great results.