"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.
"From a technology background, the paperwork required to form a company is daunting at best. Founders Pledge is one very easy form that didn't require second thought. It's fantastic to think my daily efforts may some day also benefit others who are less fortunate."
Freddy is co-founder and CEO of Credit Kudos, an alternative data platform for the credit industry. After completing a BSc in Computer Science at the University of Manchester, Freddy moved to San Francisco to join the engineering team at Bitnami (YC W13). Prior to founding Credit Kudos, he was the first engineer at A16z-backed TXN, developing their transaction analytics platform.
"Being an entrepreneur is a constant struggle to become better at what you do while giving back to the world and to the people."
Zeynep is the founder and CEO of Mobilexpress, a fintech company originated from Turkey. Born and raised in Istanbul, Zeynep received her BA in Economics from Bosphorus University and her MA in Economics from Georgetown University. Having started her career as a management consultant focusing in financial services, Zeynep continued her career as a business development professional at the largest non-food retail group of Turkey; after which she combined her experiences in financial services and retail sectors to start Mobilexpress in 2011. Mobilexpress has been providing payment gateway, card-on-file and recurring payment solutions to many large companies in Turkey including Gittigidiyor (e-Bay Turkey) for almost 5 years and has become a prominent player in digital payments.
Founder & CEO, Cuvva
""Joining the founders pledge was a no-brainer, charitable giving is a given at the point of an exit so to get the benefit of this great community in advance is really powerful. We can clearly make much more of a meaningful impact together." "
Freddy Macnamara is the Founder and CEO of Cuvva, the on-demand app that lets you insure your car by the hour. He graduated from The University of Edinburgh with a BSc in Biological Sciences, he specialised in behavioural modelling and research. Before founding Cuvva he has started and successfully exited a hospitality and education business and built a profitable renewable energy consultancy
"I took the pledge because it's an absolute no-brainer for personal, tax, business, humanity reasons. I hope pledges like these become the new normal!"
Gesche is the founder of Trailblazer Ventures, a startup studio/lab, with a mission to increase the number of successful ventures launched by women. Their first product, Dreamers // Doers, is a high-impact community of entrepreneurial, trailblazing women. The platform is making waves by making it extremely efficient and effective for women to leverage each other as a resource. Prior to founding Dreamers // Doers, Gesche held senior positions at multiple venture-backed startups, in roles covering growth, strategy, finance, business operations, business development, and more. She also spent five years as an investor at a healthcare-focused hedge fund.
Co-founder & Chief Product Officer of Peak
"I am trying to help millions of people reaching their full potential every day at Peak and I really believe that joining the Founders Pledge is a meaningful additional way for me to give back to the people who might need it the most. It is my privilege to be committing a share of a potential exit proceeds to causes that I strongly support and I encourage more founders to do the same."
Xavier is the Co-founder & Chief Product Officer of Peak, the #1 self-improvement mobile app designed to help you improve your mental skills with fun, challenging games, reaching goals and building healthy habits. In April 2015 Peak completed a $7m Series A financing round, supported by Creandum and DN Capital & has raised more than $10m to date. Before launching Peak, Xavier was a serial product manager in gaming (Playfish, Electronic Arts) and e-commerce (Amazon.)
Co-founder & CEO of HiyaCar
"“Connecting our members and bringing communities together is an essential part of our mission at HiyaCar. Most of the monies received from a car hire goes straight back to the car owners, rather than to a corporation and as a company, each year we will be donating 1% of our gross revenue back into the most active communities on our platform. Giving back to the community is at the heart of what we do and signing up to the Founders Pledge shows how committed I am to this cause.” "
Graeme Risby is the co-founder and CEO of HiyaCar. Simply put, HiyaCar is the Airbnb for motor vehicles with all the insurance barriers overcome, matching car hirers with car owners and changing the way we use cars forever. Graeme is a social entrepreneur who believes strongly in using technology and peer-to-peer networks to improve people’s lives, make new friends and bring communities together.
"I believe all businesses should strive to benefit society as well as shareholders. Unfortunately, due to the multitude of other pressures, very few startups actually manage to achieve that in their lifetime. Making the Founders Pledge is a wonderfully simple initiative that allows entrepreneurs to bridge that gap by actively contributing as and when they create the opportunity. It's an important step in building a culture of social contribution that I'm proud to be part of."
Guy is co-founder & CEO of Lavanda, a pioneering property manager and hospitality service for the sharing economy. Prior to Lavanda, Guy was Head of Marketing at Shutl where he helped scale the business from inception through to its eventual acquisition by eBay in 2013. Guy has a Masters in European Business from ESCP-EAP and a Joint Honours BA in Spanish & Italian from the Universty of Bristol.
"I made the Founders Pledge to maximise the impact of my giving. Not only will SmartUp and my personal donations make a positive change in the world, but my Pledge will help build this global movement of Founders thinking proactively about giving. Eventually Founders Pledge will become the standard for all new founders, bringing millions of dollars to good causes."
Henry Lane Fox is co-founder of SmartUp.io, a new business in gamified mobile learning aimed at entrepreneurs. Henry is also a partner at Founders Forum, a series global events in London, LA, NYC, Istanbul, Hong Kong & Shanghai for leading entrepreneurs & rising stars. Henry leads Founders Intelligence & advises on digital strategy to companies including Unilever, News Corp, Tesco & Diageo. He was also responsible for launching executive search service Founders Keepers. Previously, he was part of the founding team at lastminute.com, co-founded specialist contract manufacturing service Maximpos & was CEO of long-form journalism aggregator, The Browser.
CEO & Co-Founder
"The Founders Pledge initiative is a great idea and I can trust in the team to see it through as they come highly recommended. I think committing to make a pledge is powerful as, like most optional things, we (or at least I) have a tendency to kick the can down the road and say one day. The Founders Pledge makes it possible to commit today to donating when you are better able to make a donation."
Husayn Kassai is the co-founder and CEO of Onfido Background Checks, a data-driven platform that helps build trust into the sharing economy by providing automated identity, financial, criminal & other checks. Husayn sets the overall strategy for Onfido, prior to which he served as the President of Oxford Entrepreneurs along with co-founder Eamon Jubbawy. Husayn has a BA in Economics & Management from Keble College, Oxford. As a sharing economy advocate, Husayn is a big believer in how technology can be used to solve problems, especially as we transition into a new & unknown world.
Partner, Frontline Ventures
"We started our fund with a community focused mentality in our portfolio. We all give and take at different times and are able to get further as a collective than individually. I love that Founders Pledge allows me to pass my gain from that to the greater community as well. Paying it forward is important part of our culture!"
William is a founding partner at Frontline Ventures, a €50m community focused venture capital firm investing in early stage technology companies across Europe. He was the Co-Founder and CEO of Osmoda.com and one of the founding employees of Ondra Partners, a start-up investment-banking boutique. Ondra grew from a four-person team, to have over 70 people in London, New York and Paris, and it was named top investment banking boutique globally by Euromoney. William is passionate about entrepreneurship, he was the London Ambassador for the Thousand Network for over 3 years, sits on the board of several early stage companies, and is a mentor to some of the top start-up accelerators, including Tech Stars, Seedcamp and Wayra. He is also a keen adventure traveller and extreme sport enthusiast.
"We all want to give back once we succeed, but it's easier said than done. The Founders Pledge make it super seamless: you pick a pledge percentage, pick your charity and you're done!"
Ilan Abehassera is a second time entrepreneur based in New York City since 2004. He is now founder and CEO at Insensi, makers of ILY, a new kind of communication device and platform for families. Ilan started his first company, Producteev, in New York, from where it grew to be one of the leading task management platforms for teams before being acquired by Jive Software (a Nasdaq listed company) in November 2012. Ilan and his family then moved to Palo Alto, where he stayed until the summer of 2014, before moving back to New York to start Insensi. Ilan is also an angel investor in great companies such as Sunrise (acquired by Microsoft), Wit.ai (acquired by Facebook), Algolia, Checkr.io, OKPanda, Sabi, Campaign, Circa and 15 more. Ilan is a dad of 3, and lives with his wife in Manhattan
"Every day, I am driven to make Desktop Genetics' vision a reality. By taking the Founders Pledge, I am supporting other causes dear to me, which gives me even more energy and ambition to succeed. Sharing success and giving back to others is the strongest driver of all."
Victor is chemical engineer driven by the vision of transforming biotechnology through software and unlocking the full potential of genomics and personalized treatment. Since founding Desktop Genetics in 2012, Victor has led the company’s business development and CRISPR genome-editing initiatives, placing the fast-growing company at the forefront of CRISPR therapeutics research. Victor has a track record of raising c $3M business financing.
Victor holds an MEng in Chemical Engineering from Imperial College London and an MPhil in Bioscience Enterprise from the University of Cambridge.Victor supports the promotion of entrepreneurship in schools and universities by regularly speaking and mentoring at university clubs and business plan competitions.
By taking the Founders Pledge, I am supporting other causes dear to me, which gives me even more energy and ambition to succeed.
Victor Dillard, Founder
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!