Interview with Alex Budak, Co-Founder of StartSomeGood
We recently spoke with Alex Budak, co-founder of social enterprise peerfunding site StartSomeGood, about the ways in which his organization helps social entrepreneurs raise capital. In the middle of our conversation, an earthquake struck the Washington, D.C. area and the StartSomeGood offices. Alex calmly described the situation—”I think we’re having an earthquake”—exited the building, and continued the conversation without missing a beat. Now that’s a dedicated entrepreneur.
Impact Entrepreneurs: How would you describe StartSomeGood in a single Tweet?
Alex: StartSomeGood is a platform for helping social good initiatives raise funds and grow a community of supporters. #Awesome!
What inspired you to create StartSomeGood?
The concept for StartSomeGood arose after I spent a few months living in India. While there, I volunteered for a local social enterprise focused on girls empowerment, and I came back to the States ready to dedicate my life to improving the world through social entrepreneurship. I had an idea for a social venture I wanted to start, but I realized that there was no good place to start raising the funds or growing the community that is so crucial to getting a social enterprise off the ground. It’s at that point that the lightbulb went off and thought that if I were struggling with this, so too must many other would-be social entrepreneurs. Indeed, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that there must be countless wonderful ideas out there for improving the world that never come into being.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve overcome so far, and how did you get past it?
Simply launching StartSomeGood! Having an idea is relatively easy — it’s executing it that’s the hardest part. I’ve learned a ton — and failed a lot along the way. But the most important hurdle was simply taking action.
How do you differentiate your organization from other social enterprise-focused crowdfunding sites, such as 33needs, Springboard Innovation’s changeXchange, or our own incubator graduate TippingBucket?
We’re huge fans of crowdfunding for social good, so we’re thrilled to see other players in the field. We’ve actually put together a chart comparing lots of the crowdfunding options out there so that people can see which site is best for them: http://startsomegood.com/Help/Difference
A couple of the ways we differentiate ourselves, though, include:
- Allowing both for-profit and non-profit organizations to raise funds side-by-side
- Our “tipping point” fundraising model unique to the needs of a social enterprise
- Allowing ventures to run multiple campaigns over time while retaining their initial supporters from a first campaign
At what stage of a business do you believe StartSomeGood is most useful to a social entrepreneur? For seed funding, product R&D, as a side project for an established organization, or something totally different?
All of the above! We were formed to especially address the lack of seed funding for transforming an idea for good into action and impact. But as our site has grown, we’ve seen more established non-profits use us as well for launching a new endeavor. One requirement of using StartSomeGood, though, is that the funds raised must go to producing a new social good.
How did you generate funding for StartSomeGood itself?
We actually crowdfunded it (how meta)! We did a small friends and family campaign on Indiegogo.com.
What’s next for StartSomeGood?
We’re continuing to look for great social entrepreneurs whose ideas we can help become reality. We recently began expanding to non-US markets and are excited about supporting social innovators around the world.
What single thing could someone reading this do to help support StartSomeGood?
Go take a look at http://startsomegood.com and check out some of the awesome campaigns currently running on our site. If one moves you, consider becoming a supporter to help someone, somewhere “start some good!”