"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.
"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
Founder & CEO of Ometria
"I already intended to allocate a significant portion of any potential financial success from Ometria towards starting a very specific charity that I'd been thinking about for almost a decade. The Founders Pledge allowed me to institutionalise this commitement, and ensure that whatever happens in the future doesn't derail this plan. There's simply no downside to signing the Pledge, and I believe that it's only a matter of time before all entrepreneurs join us in doing so."
Ivan Mazour is the founder and CEO of Ometria - a customer insight and marketing automation platform built specifically for retailers, giving them a unified view of their customers and allowing them to send individually personalised messages to each one. Ometria has received multiple rounds of VC funding and has been invested in by London’s most successful technology entrepreneurs. Ivan was previously the Founding Partner of Innova Kapital, and has himself invested in over thirty technology startups. As well as holding degrees in Mathematics from Cambridge University, and in Economics from the Open University, Ivan is a regular public speaker, and is the author of several books and a popular blog.
"As founders, we start businesses because we want to change the world. If we're successful in our mission, this is the most we could ask for in life, and any financial rewards are just a bonus. If someone else can help realise their dreams or have a better life, by spreading some of the rewards we reap, that makes the Founders Pledge even more worth doing."
Tushar Agarwal is the co-founder & CEO of Hubble, an online marketplace to rent, manage & share office space. Prior to starting Hubble, Tushar completed a degree in Economics from the London School of Economics before working as an investment banker specialising in mergers & aquisitions. After a few years in investment banking, Tushar decided to make the leap to startups. He believes that London is the greatest city in the world & is extremely passionate about making it a dominant hub for entrepreneurs.
Entrepreneur & Investor
"I have tried to give both time and capital to charity throughout my career; it's been inspiring to be part of a group that is committing to this on an ongoing basis - we will hopefully all do it smarter as a result."
Tom Hulme is a General Partner of Google Ventures, a European fund that invests $125m per annum into high growth technology ventures across Europe & Israel. Previously, he founded OpenIDEO in 2007, an open innovation platform that has over 58,000 users from more than 170 countries. OpenIDEO allows a global community of users to tackle big design challenges for social good. A serial entrepreneur, Tom also invests in startups, including: thread.com, YPlan, GoCardless, Qriously, Wonga, Duedil & Moveguides.
"It's crucial that amid the hype and chaos of building and growing a startup, we as founders are mindful of how fortunate we are. For me, taking the Founders Pledge was a great chance to pause and reflect on how I'd like my success to impact society in a positive way, and along with my co-founder, we're proud to be part of such a powerful movement."
James is the co-founder and CEO of Encore, the fastest way to find and book great musicians. James spent six years studying cello and piano at a music school in Scotland before masquerading as a computer scientist at the University of Cambridge. There, he started his first startup, and upon graduating, joined the Entrepreneur First accelerator where he met co-founder James King. Outside of the office, you'll probably find him performing at and attending concerts, cycling, or writing.
Founder & CEO of Third Space Learning
"I believe that innovation and enterprise will be the solutions to many problems we face. As such, my motivation in building Third Space was to create a profit-making business with social impact at its heart. The Founders Pledge fits with this ethos and I'm very pleased to be able to commit any value I create to charitable causes alongside a community of like-minded entrepreneurs as part of a movement for change."
Tom Hooper is the founder & CEO of Third Space Learning, a London-based EdTech company that uses technology to connect academic talent from around the world with children at risk of failure in schools across England. Third Space’s mission is to help address teacher shortages & social failure in the UK education system. Third Space's model, impact & traction has been recognised by the UK Department of Education, who are financing a two-year research study, & was voted UK Social Impact investment of the year in 2014. Tom is committed to social enterprise, believing that business can harness innovation for social good. He was selected as a rising star at Founders Forum in Singapore, is a CFA Charterholder & graduated with a masters degree in philosophy & politics.
"I had always felt uneasy about the established models of charitable giving, from the mixed motivations behind individual fitness/adventure challenges, to the confrontational methods used by street collectors. Common to all of them was a lack of a philosophical framework for the giver and the receiver. What's important about effective altruism is that it is dogmatic, but theoretical - agency is left to the individual. If I achieve personal financial success, I want to have a framework to help me use that gain effectively and charitably. Founders Pledge is a great part of that framework."
Toby Mather graduated from Oxford University in Russian & Italian language and literature, and spent a year teaching English to children overseas. He is the co-founder of Lingumi, an interactive method for early years language learning. The products use a method based on academic research into infant language acquisition to teach children aged 2-5 the building blocks of a language, through playful, gamified products and apps. Toby loves learning and speaking languages, travelling, and design.
"Making Founders Pledge was an easy decision for me. Not only am I making a pledge to myself that I am going to be successful some day, I am pledging that I want to do something with that and have a positive influence on the world and causes that matter to me."
James is a young entrepreneur turned "sort of a VC". He started a tech business with friends at University aged 20, went onto 2 accelerator programs (Ignite and Seedcamp), raised $1m in Angel/VC money and grew the team and product to relative scale.
The Now Native suite of mobile/web products were used by 130 websites, generating over 50m monthly pageviews with team of ~8 in Newcastle and London.
He now works as a Partner at Potential VC where he manages Europe's largest and most active AngelList syndicate, executing early stage investments in the UK.
"Having never exited a company I couldn't imagine what it might feel like. However, knowing that in some way I can make a contribution to a cause means that there is now a degree of certainty that I can make some sort of positive impact to somebody, somewhere."
Tom Watson is the co-founder & CTO of Hubble, an online marketplace that matches those looking to rent office space with those who have it. Prior to starting Hubble, Tom completed a degree in Computer Science from the University of Warwick & spent a stint at IBM before recognising his love for startups. After university he joined the Entrepreneur First programme & it was there he met his co-founder, Tushar, & founded Hubble.
"As founders I think we have a tremendous opportunity to make a positive impact on the world. The Founders Pledge makes this simple, and gives me confidence that whatever the contribution it'll go where it's most needed, and be used in the most effective way possible. It's thrilling to be a part of this community. "
Theo is co-founder and CEO of CloudNC, which is developing artificially intelligent Computer Aided Manufacturing software designed to provide a step-change in the effectiveness of one of the most widespread pieces of manufacturing equipment in the world, the CNC milling machine. CloudNC is backed by Entrepreneur First and the UK Government's High Value Manufacturing Catapult.
Theo holds a master’s degree in Manufacturing & Mechanical Engineering with Business Management from Warwick University, during which he filed a patent in metals 3D printing, won an Institution of Mechanical Engineers Best Project Award, and was chief engineer on the university's Human Powered Racing Submarine project.
"We were put in this world to leverage our skills and abilities change the world, be it through business or through non-profit, it's all for the betterment of society."
James Yaakov Zar started his entrepreneurial career in college, as CEO and founder of angel-backed SocialRent. After graduating from Boston University, Yaakov started Dispatch to help enterprises gain new insight into their networks of employees or third-party field service providers. He focuses on product and business development.
Co-founder & CEO of Tapdaq
"Having been involved in a number of volunteer based events and charities, I am delighted to have the opportunity to confirm my intent to contribute financially to a cause close to my heart. Charitable organisations help so many people in very different circumstances so I feel very fortunate to be in a position where I can make a difference to a truly admirable cause.""
Ted Nash is co-founder of Tapdaq, which aims to provide developers with the most transparent, cost effective & user-friendly mobile advertising platform in the world. Tapdaq was recently confirmed as one of the biggest tech seed rounds in Europe, with the completion of $1.4m seed funding. Ted was recognized by Forbes magazine as one of the 30 Under 30’s for his work on Tapdaq & was awarded ‘Global Mobile Innovator Of The Year’ at the Mobile World Congress in March 2015. Ted is a serial entrepreneur who has been creating online companies from the age of 12, becoming the first teenager in the world to achieve 1,000,000 App Store downloads with Face Rate.
"I chose to donate through the Founders Pledge because I believe every person has a duty to help those who are less privileged and the pledge makes this easy for entrepreneurs. I grew up in Southern Africa and through the Founders Pledge I intend to support various causes close to my heart there. I hope by taking the pledge I will encourage other founders to do the same, because together I believe we can combat some of the worlds biggest problems."
Jay Patel is the co-founder & CEO of Intros.at, an early stage start-up solving how people network at events in a simple, relevant & engaging way. Intros.at is developing a sophisticated match-making platform, utilising artificial intelligence, natural language processing & big data to offer event attendees suggestions of people they may want to network with. Previously, Jay was the co-founder & commercial director of ubiCabs, a distribution platform for private hire cars & taxis. Jay began his career at IBM, where he worked in in strategy, marketing, CRM & process reengineering consulting projects. Jay has a BSc in bioengineering from the University of Illinois, an MSc in Biotechnology from the University of Pennsylvania & an MBA from London Business School
"It’s a real privilege to be amongst some of the most amazing people in the world. I’ve always been a fan of giving back. It’s something we don’t do enough and the Founders Pledge makes it easy for me to do that."
Stephen is the co-founder of Readbug, a mobile platform for award-winning independent and cult magazines. Prior to founding Readbug, after meeting Matthew on their respective honeymoons, Stephen worked for several of the largest companies on the planet in various senior finance positions. Readbug launched in May 2015, off the back of a successful crowdfunding campaign, and the platform now boasts 58 worldwide titles with more joining all the time. #honeymoonbrosforlife
"As founders, we're trying everyday to make the world a better place. To solve some of the world's biggest problems, a not-for profit approach is sometimes required. The Founder's Pledge helps us make a positive contribution towards solving those problems, making the world a better place, which is ultimately the only reason why we are here."
Jean-Michel is a French entrepreneur, co-founder and CEO of LeSalon - a premium mobile beauty service. LeSalon is changing the way beauty is delivered, offering a luxurious experience at home while empowering the professionals delivering the service. Jean-Michel was named to Forbes 30 under 30 list in the category Retail and E-Commerce for reinventing the way we shop, online and off. Prior to LeSalon, Jean-Michel worked as a management consultant at Oliver Wyman in AIG's European Headquarter's. He holds a Master’s degree from London Business School and a Bachelor’s degree in from ESSEC. He speaks English, French, German, Spanish and Vietnamese.
"I am delighted to sign up to 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."
Shilen Patel is the co-founder of Independents United, an innovation company that helps corporates achieve discontinuous growth. Shilen is also the co-founder & CEO of Distill Ventures, the world’s first accelerator for new & growing spirits brands. Independents United are investors in Osper, state.com, Dressipi & IAmFy.co.
Co-founder + CEO
"I made the pledge because my goal is to build a business that creates long term benefits for others. This means jobs, education and resources for those who might not otherwise have access."
Jeremy Bodenhamer is the Co-founder and CEO of ShipHawk, a logistics automation platform. He is a leading expert at the intersection of shipping and eCommerce, has been featured in TechCrunch, AOL, VentureBeat, and Fortune, and is a frequent speaker on innovation, technology, and business development. Jeremy is an active volunteer in the community, an avid Crossfitter, and lives in Santa Barbara with his wife, educator and youth advocate Bethany Bodenhamer, and their three sons.
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!