Would you be more inclined to purchase an item, be it online or in person, if you knew that a small portion of the price was destined to a nonprofit organization? The majority of consumers would answer “yes” to this question thus implicating a significant market, that is, in reality, highly untapped. Brian Bigelow, a Start-Up Chile participant from Seattle, is taking on the challenge to further develop that market and make it viable and accessible for anyone selling a product on Facebook.
As an experienced computer scientist and NGO consultant, he decided in June of 2010 to develop Causify, the company of which he is CEO. Causify, states Bigelow, “is a platform that facilitates adding a charitable layer to any transaction and that allows anyone to “sell existing products with a small donation attached that will have tangible impact, thus adding significant value to the purchase.” The platform, thus, facilitates the exchange, allows multiple nonprofits to converge in a single game or product, and provides transparency and visualization tools for the purchaser.
In addition, Causify is set to soon release their first product built on the platform, Good Gifts, that will permit any non-profit to setup a gift store on Facebook.
Bigelow has been able to progress the platform’s development by participating in Start-Up Chile, having arrived in January of 2011 after being “captured by the idea and slowly pitching it to [his] wife, Miyuki.” According to Brian, the program has allowed him to reduce risk, increase his operational team by hiring “talented Chilean artists,” and increase Causify’s credibility while reminding him “not to take things like amazon.com for granted.”
The goals he has set forth for his six months in the program are to complete a demo of the game that will run on Causify, sign with a major NGO partner, and to find game developers to utilize the platform. For the future after Start-Up Chile, Bigelow hopes to raise an investment round within six months, scale out the platform to become the leading charitable layer platform, and to build a concrete team and company.
Though unsure if he will stay in Chile after the program, he has certainly become accustomed to working in Chile, especially alongside the lake in “fabulous” Pucón, in the south of the country where he worked for a week in February.