An Australian entrepreneur based in the United States is set to launch StartSomeGood.com, a niche crowdfunding platform aimed exclusively at social enterprises.
Tom Dawkins, co-founder of StartSomeGood.com, is originally from Sydney but has been living in San Francisco for almost two years after spending two years in Washington DC.
Dawkins, whose co-founders are from the US, describes StartSomeGood as “Kickstarter but for social change”, which is “lowering the barriers [for] people… who want to make a difference”.
“Currently, you’re told you have to register as a charity before you can access most fundraising platforms, which builds in costs and delays, and excludes social enterprises,” Dawkins says.
Dawkins says StartSomeGood enables “social good projects” from more than 100 countries to raise funds “based on their vision, plan and credibility, not their tax status”.
“So far, 35 initiatives, including several from Australia, have successfully raised from $1,000 to $100,000 on StartSomeGood,” he says.
Prior to StartSomeGood, Dawkins devoted his time to helping US-based social change organisations reshape their digital strategies around social media.
“I was the first social media director at [social entrepreneurship organisation] Ashoka, then worked as a consultant for Small Act, [which is a social media agency for nonprofits],” he says.
“I have previously founded a number of community and nonprofit initiatives, including Vibewire, a Sydney-based organisation that supports young creatives and social entrepreneurs.”
While Dawkins is planning to return to Sydney in the middle of the year, he has big plans for StartSomeGood.
“My goal in my remaining months here is to grow and iterate StartSomeGood as rapidly as possible and learn as much as possible, potentially via an incubator,” Dawkins says.
“My trajectory is unusual – [I’m] hoping to raise funds then move home. [It] doesn’t usually happen that way but with my co-founders staying, [it] will hopefully be possible.”
“I’m looking into Australia-based incubators as well.”
There has been a spate of new crowdfunding platforms in both the US and Australia, although those in the US are more niche than many of the platforms that operate here.
One of the most well-known US-based platforms, as mentioned earlier by Dawkins, is Kickstarter, aimed at creative professionals such as artists, designers, filmmakers and musicians.
In Australia, new businesses such as iPledg, Project PowerUp, edgeyo and Pozible are all vying for traction in the emerging crowdfunding market.