My co-founder comes from a development background and I was in the corporate sector. We both did a lot of volunteering work before and it got us thinking. Whenever there is a natural disaster or an emergency, people go out and fundraise and work really hard to support a cause that they care about. But how about supporting other social projects on an on-going basis while making sure that the giving is used in an effective and transparent way and creates the social impact that is intended to? That’s how we got the idea of creating Socialgiver. Our platform connects businesses, social projects, and people in a way that benefits all parties. Everybody gives something but receives something much more valuable in return. That’s why this ecosystem of giving will be sustainable in the long-term.
We are going to change the world. We are going to revolutionize the way people spend money and break the barriers between spending power and donation money so that they will become the same thing. And every time people spend money they will be getting something for themselves and for other people or the environment at the same time. In Thailand the spare service capacity in the hospitality industry is $29 billion dollar per year. For us it’s really important that this becomes value for those businesses and the community, not just waste. Our vision is to fuel social impact and social progress through converting spare capacity.
I didn’t quit my job right away. I used to work until 6-7 in the evening and then work on Socialgiver until midnight or so. I did that for about a year. Then, when we started to build momentum and realized that our model is concrete, I felt that I needed to be here 100%. So I quit my full-time job. Some people manage to build really good teams but it is not the same thing as having your founders full-time. It depends on your plans and where you want to go. Our vision for Socialgiver is very ambitious. We want to go global and this requires not only us being fully dedicated but it’s also getting the right people on board that can build this with us.
We started off by bootstrapping it and we have been going on a lot of social venture competitions, which helps because they provide financial support. We have an angel investor and we have also been pitching to a few investors but we are still considering options. I don’t think it’s hard to find an investor if you have a really good product – particularly in the tech sector because you can more easily see whether your model can scale. It’s a matter of putting yourself out there. Some people find investors through co-working spaces or at business competitions or through crowdfunding. We have also been doing a lot of volunteering work and ended up meeting some investors this way. We focus on social impact investors because both the business and social aspects are very important to us. Investments are not hard to find but finding a good match to your business is going to be time-consuming.
There are lots of social enterprises in Thailand but not enough. Balancing the social and business side is very important. It’s not just the social aspect. You need to see it as a business and run it like one. The financial, technical and marketing aspects alongside with the operations of being consumer centric are all very important. Social enterprises need to be sustainable ourselves in order to create the change that we wish to see in the world.