Competitions have been used to solve major problems by governments, big companies and, most recently, tech firms and startups seeking new products.
Now, one company is providing a platform to inspire competitions that solve critical social, humanitarian and environmental issues. BigLeap, a San Francisco-based online startup attempting to create "outcome-driven innovation," claims to be the world’s first crowdfunding prize and reward network.
“It’s really hard for nonprofits to drive innovation because they don’t usually have the money to take big risks,” said software veteran Victor Cho, who co-founded the company with serial entrepreneur Charlie Crystle. “But, there are all these great resources around the world that could be pulled in to solve a problem and create a big impact.”
Here’s how it works: Instead of asking for straight-up cash, like many crowdfunding sites for causes, Cho said BigLeap seeks prize money for funding competitions that will rally people to solve major and minor problems around social good.Each challenged posted on BigLeap’s site has to go through a number of stages, including identifying the problem they want to solve and targeting amount they need to raise. They must then mobilize a team of problem solvers to compete. Once the problem is solved, the winning teams are rewarded and the original need, hopefully, is met.
If, for whatever reason, the funding target isn’t met or the problem is not solved, donors get most of their money back — sans credit card processing fees. Meanwhile, BigLeap takes an 8 percent cut of the funds received.
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