ChangeX seeks to raise $3m in drive to fund community projects


Irish-headquartered social entrepreneurship platform ChangeX is seeking to raise $3 million (€2.7 million) as it plans to invest in bringing more ideas to communities around the world.

ChangeX focuses on tech for good and offers investors a way to fund community projects. Companies can choose a region they want to invest in and issues they would like to have an impact on, and ChangeX will offer potential projects on its platform that fit the criteria. For example, Microsoft teamed up with ChangeX to launch a $140,000 fund aimed at funding sustainability projects in communities.

Among the projects currently available to fund on ChangeX are walking school buses, playspaces for children, community orchards and pop-up museums.

The “impact as a service” model allows investors to track philanthropic investments in real time, creating more transparency.

Chief executive Paul O’Hara said the $3 million will be invested in building out the platform’s portfolio of ideas on areas including climate action, health, economic development and community cohesion. ChangeX plans to open offices in the UK and the US to help build on momentum and spread ideas around the world.

“We’re looking to raise $3 million for the next phase,” Mr O’Hara said. “There’s a very interesting opportunity for us to help [companies] do a good job in the communities in which they are operating or want to operate in.”

ChangeX has already signed up partners such as Microsoft , and is using its existing Palo Alto office to build further partnerships in the tech community.

“There’s good interest,” said Mr O’Hara. “There’s a shift from shareholder capitalism to stakeholder capitalism, it’s about companies not just maximising for shareholders but also for their employees, for their customers and for the communities in which they’re operating.”

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ChangeX was launched in Ireland in 2015, and has been backed by investors such as Ben & Jerry’s cofounder Jerry Greenfield, Realex Payments founder Colm Lyon, Draper Esprit’s Brian Caulfield, Andreessen Horowitz partner John O’Farrell and Storyful founder Mark Little.

Mr O’Hara said the next phase would involve opening an office in London and another in New York, joining its recently opened Silicon Valley office. The aim is by the end of next year to have 40 companies at scale using ChangeX as a platform to invest in communities.

“We want to make an investment in identifying the very best ideas across the world that communities can organise around, and then bring in sufficient numbers of funding partners,” Mr O’Hara said. “Making the ideas accessible is helpful but if you can combine making the ideas accessible with making finance accessible, then you are on to a total winner because there is a such a latent demand in communities to do good stuff. So we can find people anywhere to take the ideas on if we can enable them with the ideas and seed finance to do it.”



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