How a Teen Launched a Revolutionary, Free Charitable Donations Platform

July 6, 2015

2:00 pm

At 19-years-old, most teenagers are experiencing the freedoms and stresses often associated with the first year of university: living with a stranger from another part of the world, fretting about one’s chosen field of study, and trying (and likely failing) to remain lucid in an 8 AM lecture after a night of drinking. For Vincent Touboul Flachaire, however, this last year before becoming a duogenarian is focused on building a platform that allows anyone to make a charitable donation without having to, well, donate any money.

Goodeed is an online platform that lets people from all over the world make a charitable donation to top NGOs by simply watching 20-second sponsored ads. Revenues are generated from these sponsored ads, which are then distributed to the company’s various NGO partners, including the UN World Food Programme, UNICEF, the World Wide Fund for Nature (formerly the World Wildlife Fund), and WeForest. Initially debuted on March 2014 in France, the social good startup launched in public beta globally last month.

When Flachaire was 17-years-old, his grandmother gifted him with a copy of Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus’s book Building Social Business. An entrepreneur renowned for his founding of the Grameen Bank and establishing the concepts of microcredit and microfinance, Yunus’s work inevitably had a large influence on Flachaire, whose recognition of societal inequities started an even earlier age.

“When turning 12-years-old, I understood that some of us are protected and well-fed; [however], this is not the case for most people on our planet,” said Flachaire. “Even if I’m young, I am very aware that our planet is being destroyed and that people are suffering from disease, hunger, lack of medical care, and lack of opportunities.”

According to Flachaire, the idea for Goodeed came to him after having read Yunus’s book. It was Christmas time and everywhere he looked, Chrismas ads bombarded him from every corner. “That made me think of the colossal amounts of money that went into advertising campaigns. I asked myself: what if the money that went into these ads could be used to actually help people?”

After convincing two high school friends to help him build out his initial idea, the three eventually found themselves winning a youth entrepreneurship contest, winning them €5,000. While his two friends decided to continue their studies, Flachaire dropped out and found an angel investor that believed in his idea.

But the idea behind Goodeed is entirely revolutionary, and there were some obvious risks associated. How do you attract advertisers to actually work with you? How do you convince NGOs to become partners? Thankfully for Flachaire, things have worked out well – with both big advertisers and major NGOs choosing to partner with the company. Through these partnerships, the company has made several big accomplishments, such as more than 200,000 meals having been provided to children in Kenya through the UN World Food Programme; more than 100,000 trees planted in Burkina Faso and Ethiopia through WeForest; more than 180,000 donations for vaccines; and many more.

Goodeed currently has a team of twelve committed to bringing together advertisers, NGOs, and people across the world to grow the influence of its charitable donations platform. Said Flachaire:

“Our major focus is to gather an international community around Goodeed and our humanitarian and environmental projects…. We are very motivated by the idea that we can bring about real change in the way people approach advertising.”

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Ronald Barba was the previous managing editor of Tech.Co. His primary story interests include industry trends, consumer-facing apps/products, the startup lifestyle, business ethics, diversity in tech, and what-is-this-bullsh*t things.

Aside from writing about startups and entrepreneurship, Ronald is interested in ‘Doctor Who’, Murakami, ‘The Mindy Project’, and fried chicken. He is currently based in New York because he mistakenly studied philosophy in college and is now a “writer”. Tweet @RonaldPBarba.

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