"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.
"Personally I think that the Founders Pledge is a phenomenal initiative, aiming not only to raise substantial funds for good causes, but to catalyse a debate within the start-up community about our social responsibility. It’s easy to think that you’ll do something tomorrow only to put it off indefinitely, whereas the pledge creates a real commitment to act on your intentions ahead of time. I’m excited about this, and passionate about helping it driver a broader culture change in our community."
David Garfield is the CEO of Garrison Technology, a London based start-up developing game-changing technology for cyber security. David has an impressive track-record of creating innovation based high-growth businesses in the security market. Over the last 20 years his focus on solving complex problems with advanced technology has helped revolutionize missions & operations for both government & commercial customers. David is also the co-founder of cyberY, a not for profit organisation designed by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs to generate success in the cyber security market.
"I am delighted to be a part of Founders Pledge as it is a great initiative to show leadership and kindness by giving back to other groups and individuals who need a hand up, and all through a powerful platform and community of like-minded entrepreneurs and investors."
David is the founder and Chief Executive of Pi Capital; a unique investor network. David previously founded, built up and sold several businesses and health club chains in the US and Europe. He has financial interests in several other businesses and industries (both as an angel investor or co-investor) and has been involved as an investor, advisor and board member of some of the largest and most successful health & fitness companies in world including Fitness First, 24 Hour Fitness and Zumba Fitness. He is currently on the Board of Directors of Zumba Fitness and Smartmatic and is a senior advisor to BC Partners and AMG (Affiliated Managers Group, Inc.) and a few other leading venture capital funds in the world. David is an active member of YPO and CEO global business organizations and a trustee of Speakers4Schools.org and Pro Bono Economics.
"We are privileged to work in the industry that we do. I've taken the Founders Pledge because it is also a privilege to be able to give back."
David Hickson is part of the founding team of Founders Factory and Head of Corporate Development. Founders Factory is a corporate-backed, multi-sector, incubator and accelerator at the very centre of the European technology ecosystem. David also co-founded Tribesports, where he previously worked as Chief Strategic Officer. Other past roles include Head of Corporate Development at mydeco and Head of Legal at lastminute.com.
Founder of Potential
"It's good to give."
Doug spent many years travelling around the world living on nothing. He enjoys playing and messing online and off-line, and he now brings together numerous companies under the umbrella of Potential.co, investing in loads of mad, funny, nice people doing interesting things.
"I'm excited to take the Founders Pledge. Now, more than ever, it's important to think about how we can give effectively and the Founders Pledge enables this in a stunningly efficient manner."
Ed co-founded Edge Mobile aged 16 with the aim of connecting action sports enthusiasts with the data behind the sports they love. Edge's first product, Edge Ski, has grown into one of the largest communities of snowsports enthusiasts, tracking millions of kilometers of skiing in over 600 resorts annually. More recently, Ed has been trying to improve the status of enterprise education in the UK. Young Founders runs free programmes for 16-18 y/o's, giving access to some of the early skills, knowledge and network required to found a startup.
Co-founder & Investor
"I love Founders Pledge concept. By embedding the giving pledge at the beginning of each entrepreneurial journey I know that my chosen charities will automatically benefit from my (and others’) focus on my new business ventures. It really is a win win situation."
Edward Wray co-founded Betfair in 1999 and was its first Chief Executive. He also set up the business in Australia. He became Chairman in 2006. Betfair floated on the London Stock Exchange in October 2010, valued at Â£1.4bn. He has twice been named Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year award.
Ed stepped down from his role as Chairman of Betfair in 2012, and currently holds Directorships at Funding Circle (the peer-to-business lending site) and LMAX Exchange (the world's leading exchange for FX), is Chair of the Development Board of the charity YouthNet, and is a Trustee of Nesta. He is an active Angel investor.
Founder & CEO of Jukedeck
"I made the pledge because it's a promise, a standard and effective altruism all rolled into one. It’s a promise in that it’s a commitment to doing something I want to do anyway - helping people. It’s a standard in that it lets me recruit others to the cause before I’m actually able to donate. And it’s effective altruism in that it lets me focus all my energies on running my startup for now, so that in the long term I can give, and help, more."
Ed Rex is the founder of Jukedeck, a startup building software that can compose its own unique, original music, primarily for use in video. He started the company in 2012, & with it has secured two rounds of investment & won the 2014 LeWeb startup competition in Paris & Pitch@Palace, hosted by the Duke of York, in London. Jukedeck is now a team of six people, working out of Old Street in London. Ed's background is as a composer - he studied Music at King's College, Cambridge, & his choral music is published by Boosey & Hawkes. He has written on technology & the arts for a number of publications, including The Spectator & The Independent.
"I took the Founders Pledge because it's just what you do."
Emma-Jane Cross is a serial entrepreneur, academic and former Charity CEO of the Year. Emma-Jane founded the tech for social good company Kvoti and the tech non-profit The BeatBullying Group, described by Forbes as an ‘online community powerhouse’. Nesta even named BeatBullying (together with Fairtrade and the Hospice) as one of the ten movements that ‘changed the world’. Emma-Jane has raised over £25 million, taken five digital support services, supporting 5 million people, to market and won 30 multi-sector awards. She has also led international, award-winning marketing and communications campaigns, and led a staff team of 150 with 10,000 volunteers to winning Charity of the Year, two years consecutively. An Ashoka Fellow and Government Adviser, Emma-Jane is a pioneer of digital support services.
Co-founder & Investor
"I am thrilled to be a part of the Founders Pledge, which should be a no-brainer for every tech entrepreneur going forward. I couldn't be more supportive of this important initiative and the trailblazing founders and investors who've joined it."
Fabrice Grinda is an Internet entrepreneur, angel investor, student and lover of life, aspiring Renaissance man and co-founder of OLX, one of the largest free classifieds sites in the world. He is an investor in over 200 startups including Uber, Airbnb, Beepi, Betterment and Palantir. He is an avid skier, tennis player and kite surfer.
I am thrilled to be a part of the Founders Pledge, which should be a no-brainer for every tech entrepreneur going forward.
Fabrice Grinda, Co-founder & Investor
"I have always had my own commitments about giving to charity in the event Quikkly goes well. The Founders Pledge makes it easy for me to honour part of that commitment. I recommend it to all founders."
Fergal is the CEO and co-founder of Quikkly, the offline-to-online company behind the biggest development in QR solutions in 21 years. Before Quikkly, Fergal held numerous director-level positions at companies including Facebook, MTG Media, Three Mobile and Ericsson. The red-line through Fergal's career is his passion for the internet on mobile, having evangelised it since the mid-90s, built it out with Three and launching the world's first flat-rate data plan for mobile. He has held positions on the IAB's mobile council and advised many tier-1 brands and businesses on how to leverage mobile.
"One of my three core values is giving back. Founders Pledge gives me the ability to give back without incurring direct costs. I'm building meaningful companies, that enable people to live better lives. But I can't yet reach everyone on this planet. By helping effective charities, via Founders Pledge, I hope my impact will be even more profound."
Floris is passionate about creating meaningful lives. He is an entrepreneur who values innovation, leadership and empowering others. Floris is CEO and co-founder of Queal, the provider of reliable nutrition. Floris holds an MSc in Psychology and has been the President of his faculty association, a member of the University Council and a Director of a non-profit student strategy consultancy. If not at Queal HQ, Floris can be found blogging at http://floriswolswijk.com or on twitter @FWolswijk.
Co-founder of SmartUp.io
"As a founder you start a business to impact the world in a positive way. In fact, every successful entrepreneur I know is driven by the desire to create change in their industry. And after all the sleepless nights and near death experiences when your dream has finally become a reality, success is unfulfilled unless you can share it with others. The Founders Pledge is the solution – it completes my journey."
Frank Meehan is a co founder of SmartUp.io, a gamified mobile learning app aimed at entrepreneurs. Frank is also an investor at MimeChat, a chat app that uses avatars to act out texts. Frank is a serial entrepreneur, having also co-founded Sparklabs Global Ventures & acts as a partner at SparkLabs. He also founded Kuato Studios, & INQ Mobile, an early pioneer of mobile internet. Frank was selected for the 2012 Wired UK Top 100 in tech & Vanity Fair's The Next Establishment list 2010. Frank began his career as a coder at Ericsson before joining Hutchison Whampoa, where he was responsible for the technical implementation of the first global 3G networks under the Three(3) brand. He went on to run the Three Group’s global handset business, which pioneered mobile & internet communications through Skypephone & INQ1.
Co-founder of Independents United
"I am delighted to sign up to the Founders Pledge. Success for entrepreneurs is usually hard won, but no one’s journey happens in isolation from the world around you. Committing to sharing your success when it happens is a great thing to do."
Frank Lampen is the co-founder of Independents United, an innovation company that helps corporates achieve discontinuous growth. Frank is also the co-founder & Chief Tasting Officer of Distill Ventures, the world’s first accelerator for new & growing spirits brands. Independents United are investors in Osper, state.com, Dressipi & IAmFy.co.
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!