"The Founders Pledge is well aligned with my values and provides me with the opportunity to commit to social causes early on. Pledging publically comes with future responsibility that I am happy to take."
Rouven is Founding and Managing Partner of the Berlin-based (pre-)seed VC Cavalry Ventures at which he contributes his expertise in strategic decision making, e.g. investment strategies, portfolio management as well as fundraising support to back the growth of portfolio companies.
Prior to Cavalry, Rouven invested privately in more than 35 startups worldwide that have created over $1.5bn in shareholder value. Among them are companies such as Tradeshift (world's largest network for businesses), Simplesurance (leading online provider for product insurances).
Rouven started his career at KPMG as a consultant in the Financial Risk Management practice. He then supported Morten Sondergaard in his investment activities and joined the early/mid stage VC fund Capnamic Ventures.
Aside from being experienced in the digital economy, Rouven possesses strong ties to the old economy as he grew up closely connected to his family’s business, Dresselhaus GmbH & Co KG, one of the largest providers of screws and fastening parts in Europe. Other than taking the Founders Pledge, he is an avid supporter of and donor for YUNUS Social Business to generate sustainable social impact.
Rouven holds a M.Sc. in Business Administration from EBS Business School, Oestrich-Winkel (with distinction) and a Master of Finance from EAE Business School, Barcelona (honors).
"I've always been interested in applying the lessons I've learned about scaling companies to problems for which there's a social and moral imperative. Founders Forum For Good was an obvious way for me to formalize my commitment to making a difference, and leverage the dedication and resources of like-minded entrepreneurs."
Justin is co-founder and COO of DueDil a private company research tool for lead generation and credit risk management. DueDil has raised $24 million from US and European investors including Oak Investment Partners, Notion Capital, Passion Capital and a series of prominent angels, and is one of the fastest growing technology companies in the UK. Justin was previously involved with two other prominent venture-backed companies, establishing offices for them in Asia and Europe. He occasionally tweets @ojfutures.
Co-Founder & CPO
"Why wouldn’t someone make the pledge? Given it’s structured solely around an exit event I see no reason for anyone to veto given they’ll already be receiving some serious pocket money… The Founders Pledge represents a far more concrete intent to “do good” beyond generic CSR mantles and creates a win/win/win for the Triple Bottom Line of business conduct. It’s a fantastic initiative and I expect a myriad of authentic, people-centric founders sign-up."
Ry Morgan is Co-Founder & CPO of Unmind, a B2B mental health platform. Unmind provides clinically-backed tools and training to improve people's mental wellbeing – creating healthier, happier, more human organisations.
His prior venture, Yomp (from which he also pledged), was acquired in early 2016 by a global employee benefit provider. A big fan of almost all things tech/startup, Ry is always happy to connect with those passionate about the early-stage ecosystem. x
Co-founder & Head of Business Operations of Poq Studio
"I took the pledge because I believe that every business needs to give back to the society that allows it to thrive. Also, it's perfectly aligned with the goals as a startup founder creating a win win situation."
Michael Langguth is co-founder and head of business operations at Poq Studio, a mobile ecommerce platform that enables retailers to launch and maintain performance of mobile websites and shopping apps.
With clients including House of Fraser, Orla Kiely and Missguided, Poq Studio increases conversion rates and mobile revenue, whilst providing a delightful mobile shopping experience for customers.
Michael is a serial entrepreneur, having previously founded SIFE at University College London and HomeAbroad. Poq Studio is his second digital business.
Founder & CEO of Beamery
"As a founder it is often difficult to find the time for get involved with charitable endeavours. The Founders Pledge is a phenomenal initiative and superb way to bring like-minded people together to make a collective impact. I am honoured and humbled to be among many great entrepreneurs that are a part of this."
Abakar is the founder & CEO of Beamery, the world’s most advanced Sourcing and Recruitment Marketing platform on a mission to make recruitment better by empowering companies to treat candidates like customers, and focus on communication not process. Abakar started his career at Goldman Sachs and went on to be an investor at Francisco Partners, a technology focused private equity fund. He holds a first class honours in Economics from the University of Warwick.
"Knowing that any exit or profit made from the business will go to insanely great causes makes me a massive fan of the pledge. By attempting to change the world, we can make greater impact together."
Adit graduated from UCL with a MEng in Computer Science and then co-founded Lingumi, an interactive method for early years language learning. He loves building new tech products, reading books on personal development and drinking beer.
"I made the pledge as I want to be a part of a growing trend for those that succeed at capitalism to return wealth to the bottom of the stack. As entrepreneurship grows, it is so important that we become a beacon of social responsibility and not just another swelling body of greed."
Alex Foster trained as an engineer and having self-taught entrepreneurship through a series of (increasingly successful) startups, spent some time in mergers and aquisitions and venture capiltal. His current startup, WeSeeThrough, has just raised a seed round from several ex-founders, angels and the Saatchi guys. Alex has been giving away 50% or more of his income since university, is an active early member of the effective altruist movement and one of the founders of the Earning to Give movement. Alex believes that giving should be about reducing dispair - not vanity. Alex is a massive fan of this new Founders Pledge and keen to help however possible.
"I am very grateful to Founders Pledge for giving me a simple and seamless way to give back as an entrepreneur and amplify my impact beyond my natural ecosystem of start ups"
Alexis Bonte is the co-founder and CEO of eRepublik Labs, a dynamic games studio that gifts you moments of joy through games you can play with friends on any device. More than 6 million players worldwide have enjoyed its first game eRepublik.com and 1,5 million have already installed the recently launched Age of Lords. Prior to Erepublik Labs, Alexis was with lastminute.com as Managing Director (Italy). Alexis is also an angel investor with numerous investments mainly in the Internet space in Europe.
In 2012 the World Economic Forum (Davos) recognized Alexis as a Young Global Leader (YGL).
"The Founders Pledge represents something that is very closely aligned with the inherent aspirations of most startup founders. I think most of us want to make positive changes in meaningful and scaleable ways. The pledge feels like exactly that, along from the personal gratification of giving."
Andrew Crump is founder and CEO of Mitoo, a platform for the world’s sports where teams can share tables, fixtures, results and key statistics with their fans. Andrew also advises some start-ups.
The Founders Pledge represents something that is very closely aligned with the inherent aspirations of most startup founders.
Andrew Crump, Founder
Co-founder of Idio
"I believe that the journey is as important as the destination. Signing the Founders Pledge is important to me as one expression of a commitment to give back along the entrepreneurial journey."
Andrew is a co-founder of Idio, a predictive analytics platform that turns content into intelligence for clients such as JP Morgan, OpenText and Unicef. He previously co-founded a digital agency that built high-scale social media analytics systems for clients including O2, ITV and Number 10, and worked for Deloitte Consulting in their TMT division. When not writing in the 3rd person, he has a bias for action, enjoys working with problem-solvers, loves outdoor fun with his young family and relishes being the underdog.
Co-founder of Airlite
"Giving for me is the first step to appreciate the joy I continue to receive from this amazing world. Founders pledge made this even easier."
Arun Jayadev is a co-founder of AM Technology commercializing Airlite, an effective approach to mitigate air pollution, reduce the energy foot print and enhance lifecycle of built environment. He was previously a Venture Partner at Wellington Partners, a venture capital firm investing in the clean technology sector. He has served as advisor to Department of Energy and is a Kauffman Fellow from the Centre for Venture Education in Palo Alto. Prior to Wellington, Arun worked for two technology start-ups and a private equity fund.
Arun earned an MBA from IESE Business School, Barcelona and a Bachelor in Engineering from RVCE, Bangalore.
"I created Sober Grid to provide a vehicle to give back to the community, Founders Pledge is a tool in which I can fulfil our dream of giving back. Thank you for providing a way to do so."
Beau Mann is the founder and CEO of Sober Grid, the geo-social mobile networking app that connects sober people by allowing users to find one another based on their relative distance. Beau had the idea for Sober Grid while attending the Sundance Film Festival. Before starting Sober Grid, Beau helped a British software company expand into North America and become profitable after year 1. He also secured the largest contract in the company's 23 year history within his first year
"I guess you’re born with nothing and die with nothing so what happens in between that is important. The Founders Pledge was a very simple commitment to living and working for something more important than myself, and I’m keen for my kids to have that same commitment as they grow up."
Ben is co-founder of Unscriptd, the world’s first athlete publishing company and Cristiano Ronaldo was the first athlete to sign onto the platform in June 2015. Ben has spent the last 25 years in the sports & entertainment industry and is considered a global expert in sports marketing and storytelling.
Prior to Unscriptd, Ben was International Sports Marketing Director for NIKE Inc working with many of the world’s most famous athletes and teams to develop an emotional connection through uncovering the story behind the story and making a connection on not just a sporting level but also a human level.
Ben signed up to Founders Pledge in New York recently for the simple reason of reminding himself of the bigger picture of giving back to society. He was inspired by a quote from Karl Reiland: “in about the same degrees that you are helpful to others you will be happy”.
"Helping people has always been a big part of what drives me as a person. The knowledge that the time I have invested in a project has made an impact in helping the lives of others is something that fills me with inspiration."
Benjamin holds a Master’s degree in Communication Management with an emphasis in International relations and is trilingual. Originally from Paris, he founded iLemon in 2011, an advertising agency that helps companies to enhance their visual identity and automotive suppliers to design their booths for worldwide Auto-Shows. In early 2016, Benjamin moved to London as Co-Founder at AlertFilm, an app dedicated to movie lovers which helps you to track of all your favourite movies and notifies you when they are available on all your platforms.
"As a cancer survivor, I learned early in life that all the money in the world means nothing if you are not healthy. Taking the Founders Pledge and helping people through charity:water to get the most basic resource for a healthy living - clean water - is the least I can do to say thank you for still being alive."
Boris Pfeiffer is the founder and CEO of Riddle.com, where users can create interactive content, such as opinion polls and quizzes, for free. Starting companies has always been Boris' passion, setting up his first company when he was just 17 - importing American football and baseball equipment. Since then he has sarted multiple companies and set up the European operations for NetObjects Inc. and Kabam. He also worked as General Manager Europe for Monster.com’s internet advertising division. Boris is a husband and father of 2 wild boys, who keep him busy with all sorts of fun sport activities whenever he's not working.
CEO of Open Signal
"What really motivates us as founders is the impact we can have and the Founders Pledge is a great initiative to increase that further."
Brendan Gill is the CEO and Co-Founder of OpenSignal, a company that uses crowdsourced sensor networks to collect information on cellular networks, Wi-Fi hotspots and even the weather.
Previously, Brendan founded an e-commerce company based in California and studied physics at Oxford University. He is also an investor and mentor at the startup accelerator. However, the highlight of his professional career remains his days as a lifeguard at the local pool.
"We started Zesty to try to make a huge, positive impact on the world. In taking the Founders Pledge, I am publicly committing to maximising that impact."
Chris studied maths at Oxford, where he was in the top ten of his year, before moving to the City to work in technical consulting for the UK's biggest financial institutions. In 2013, he moved to San Francisco to start Zesty, with the mission to improve people's health. Today, Zesty serves tens of thousands of healthy meals per week from local restaurants to businesses across the Bay Area.
Managing Partner, White Star Capital
Christian has a long track-record of operating experience in technology companies, developing and scaling products and businesses internationally. Prior to co-founding White Star Capital, Christian worked at Facebook and led the international expansion of the company’s Business Development, Platform and Gaming Partnerships groups. He previously held leadership roles in the U.S. and Europe at Google and Microsoft and started his career in technology at MicroStrategy, a startup he joined prior to its 1999 IPO.
"The Founders Pledge made it incredibly simple for me to start the process of giving. Our goal with Paddle is to change an industry, by being a part of the pledge, we can help change the world."
Christian started his first company at 14, and after leaving school at 16 has been involved with a number of different startups. He’s now the founder and CEO of Paddle, an investor-backed tech startup that makes it easier for app developers to build and market their apps. Paddle offers straightforward payments solutions, in-app analytics, intelligent rating prompts and more – all so that app developers can focus on building better products and getting back to what they do best. Backed by a rapidly expanding team and more than $2million in capital, Christian is confident Paddle can change the way people build digital products.
"The Founders Pledge is another move from a world based on GDP to one based on common good, another sign that every company can have impact as well as income at their bottom line, and the more of one, the more of the other. This is the unit economics of renewal. This train is bound for glory."
Christoph is founder at Open Cinema, an award-winning network of participatory cinemas and filmmaking programmes for communities of any kind. The company has recently diversified into a group, with Open Cinema Foundation housing Open Film Studio and Open Cinema Lab, and the spin-out Open Cinema International recently progressing through the Dotforge Impact accelerator and subsequently closing a seed round. Christoph formerly worked as a filmmaker and critic for the Times Literary Supplement. He is a regular contributor to national and international panels advancing the state of culture, community and social justice.
Co-founder of CRU Kafe
"What I love about founding companies is the creation of something out of nothing and what I love about giving back is that same creation. I try to have an element of giving back in everything I do and taking the Founders Pledge aligns perfectly with that goal. The Pledge allows me to commit a portion of my future value to a charity, meaning that those less fortunate than myself can reap the rewards of me and my team's hard work."
Colin is the co-founder of CRU Kafe, the ethical and eco-friendly alternative to Nespresso into a global coffee empire. Previously Colin was part of a very successful currency brokerage start up in Toronto that was sold in 2008. He then decided to seek out an adventure and in 2010, Colin completed the Guinness World Record setting Tough Rides:China with his brother Ryan. The two of them followed that up with a 2012 in India. Both of these trips were turned into TV shows originally aired on the Travel Channel. Colin completed an MBA from Hult International Business School in 2012, his main focus now is building CRU Kafe.
"Like most brilliant ideas, Founders Pledge is extraordinarily simple. I spend most of my week working with entrepreneurs and trying to make our investors even more money than they already have. By committing to Founders Pledge, I can make sure that any success I'm involved with will benefit my chosen charities. No brainer."
Damien is a founding partner of Episode 1, an early stage VC in London. At Episode 1, he focuses on working with entrepreneurs at the beginning of their company building and fund raising journey; helping them develop their companies and raise additional capital to fund the growth of a profitable and valuable business. One of nine children, and a father of two teenage daughters, he is passionate about the importance of education as a driver of prosperity, heath and social development . He is looking forward to helping improve access to the best possible education through his Founder pledge donations.
Co-founder & CTO of Medopad
"Giving for good is the very foundation of making the world a better place."
Dan Vàhdat is the co-founder & CTO of Medopad, the UK’s leading enterprise mobile health solution provider that helps hospitals & pharmaceuticals pool their patient data so it can be served up to healthcare professionals. Dan's professional career spans from IT to medical technology including two years at Johns Hopkins in the US. Dan studied Engineering & Mathematics, after which he pursued his PhD in Bio-Engineering at Johns Hopkins & Oxford University.
Giving for good is the very foundation of making the world a better place.
Dan Váhdat, Co-founder & CTO of Medopad
Founder & CEO of ASAP54
"I think the Founders Pledge is a revolutionary initiative that makes it easy for tech entrepreneurs to support big causes. The message behind the pledge is powerful, as not only does it help the not-for-profit sector, it helps to put tech businesses on the radar as social contributors. If I experience great success with my business, why not share?"
Daniela Neves is the founder & CEO of ASAP54, a fashion app that allows users to find products using the latest in visual search technology. ASAP54 also offers a social fashion community & personal styling service. Daniela has already created a buzz with ASAP54, having been voted runner up at the Battlefield Tech Crunch Europe Awards & having attracted funding from high profile investors. Daniela is also a founding member of the successful fashion portal Farfetch.com, a global community of over 300 fashion boutiques offering an inspirational shopping experience to fashion-forward consumers.
"To me, making Founders Pledge is a no brainer - my motivation has always been to make changes, and whilst innovating how people view content and buy fashion lifestyle and beauty products on mobile doesn't change people's lives - I've always hoped to be in a position to donate in a meaningful way one day, and this takes a lot of the off-putting process away from me, which is a huge benefit. I think what David and his team are attempting to achieve is impressive and resonates with my value system and it's a pleasure to contribute to his fantastic and clear vision."
Daniel is the co-founder and CMO at Grabble, the UK’s fastest growing mobile commerce app. He is responsible for helping grow Grabble from an idea to a product that was featured as "Best New App" in 34 countries by Apple, has twice trended nationally on Twitter, and once Globally. It is also regularly featured as the best shopping app and best fashion app on the App Store.
They have been featured by Forbes as "London's hottest startup to watch in 2015". He has helped grow Grabble from a team of 3 to 15 in the last 4 months in London's Tech City and raised over £1.2 million from leading Angel investors between London and Silicon Valley as covered by Techcrunch and the Telegraph.
Grabble were one of the winners at the coveted "Pitch@Palace" event at St James Palace, and Daniel is the current "UK Young Entrepreneur of the Year" as awarded by Shell Livewire, and is one of Drapers "30 under 30" representing the most exciting young people in fashion in the UK.
Engaging in philanthropy following a successful exit is one way a founder can recognise the good fortune inherent in success and 'give something back'.
I learned about Founders Pledge a year or so before my own exit, and quickly saw the value in both encouraging founders to commit to giving, and also providing a framework to facilitate the effective use of donations.
BEN MEDLOCK – CO-FOUNDER, SWIFTKEY
Engaging in philanthropy following a successful exit is one way a founder can recognise the good fortune inherent in success and “give something back”. I learned about Founders Pledge a year or so before my own exit, and quickly saw the value in both encouraging founders to commit to giving, and also providing a framework to facilitate the effective use of donations.
Following the exit, Founders Pledge helped me to think through where I should donate to maximise impact and to explore some of the more challenging questions around my motivation for giving. The process was efficient and painless, and I’m looking forward to working further with the team in future.
Altruism is always a combination of emotional and rational motivations, and it gives our lives a purpose.
Seeing Founders Pledge apply data-science to charitable giving was fascinating and really reaffirmed that this initiative was the one for me.
SARAH WOOD – FOUNDER, UNRULY
What I really like about Founders Pledge is that I feel like part of a movement. It is also very true to our mission at Unruly, measuring impact and sharing a message. Altruism is always a combination of emotional and rational motivations, and it gives our lives a purpose. Seeing Founders Pledge apply data-science to charitable giving was fascinating and really reaffirmed that this initiative was the one for me.
What I most liked about the process was that I was locked in. Sounds daft or even slightly scary, I know, but how many times do you think ‘oh I am totally going to do that’ and then it somehow falls down your priority list and you never get around to it.
I know if I hadn’t signed a Founders Pledge, that would have been me too.
ALEX DEPLEDGE – FOUNDER AND CEO, HASSLE.com
Hand on heart, I had never thought about exiting Hassle.com – of course I made up some companies that might buy us for my pitch deck, but I hadn’t actually ever thought I would exit or what that meant. So when I did, I actually found it quite traumatic. Oh, I know... first world problems and all that, but here I was - suddenly wealthy - and all I felt was guilt that I didn’t deserve it. Founders Pledge was a balm to that. A strange kind of therapy.
Signing up to Founders Pledge was very real for me because I was negotiating our sale at the same time. It wasn’t some far off event. I gave it very detailed thought and, quite frankly, it turned out to be a no brainer.
What I most liked about the process was I was locked in. Sounds daft or even slightly scary, I know, but how many times do you think ‘oh I am totally going to do that’ and then it somehow falls down your priority list and you never get around to it. I know if I hadn’t signed a Founders Pledge, that would have been me too.
What I was most surprised about is the level of support I received. The deployment team listened to what I was most passionate about (Mental Health and Sex Slavery of Women), went away, and then came back with a comprehensive research report that highlighted the best way I could support those charities. They identified the best charities in terms of outcomes, data-driven giving and transparency. I now know that the money I’ve donated will actually help to free women from sexual slavery. That means a lot to me. I know the outcome and the impact I have had. My giving was effective.
What I have been most impressed with is the connection to like-minded, off-the-chart empathetic, thoughtful and in some cases mind-blowingly bright people. The Founders Pledge dinners host fascinating speakers that have really opened my eyes to how much good and impact even small efforts can have. At Founders Pledge Forum I left with my intellect slightly bruised, but walking taller and more full of hope than I had been in years.
What I am most in love with is David Goldberg. He’s not only wicked smart, so I know my giving is in safe hands, but he has assembled a world-class team around him. He has started a movement - one I am very proud to be a part of!