My second startup attempt aimed at addressing mass consumerism. The vision was to crowdsource philanthropy for sustainable businesses as a means of increasing consumer engagement. I learned a lot, but this project never took flight.
Chicago, IL and New York City, NY
I had grown increasingly dubious of mass consumerism and was diving deeper into this societal problem. I started to think, what if we could flip consumerism on its head and make it an inherently positive thing? What if by buying something you were actually making a positive impact on the environment and communities in need?
The startup idea was like a groupon for conscious local businesses meets kickstarter for social enterprises. Customers would discover conscious local businesses through deals. Each of the businesses would donate 1% of their profits to a fund and the customers would vote on which promising social enterprise project submissions from around the world most merited seed funding.
I learned a great deal about lean startup, web design, wireframes, content creation, and hustling. I started teaching myself to code ruby on rails (didn’t get very far). I conducted scores of interviews with various stakeholders, created a minimum viable product as sketches and fully embraced the LEAN startup approach.
The experience was fun and I felt like I was in pursuit of something positive. Alas, there were too many moving parts, varied stakeholders and we simply didn’t have the ability to execute the idea well. So, the idea died and both co-founders moved on.