Elevator Pitch: MakeSomeChange

Elevator Pitch is a regular feature on Lifehacker where we profile startups and new companies and pick their brains for entrepreneurial advice. This week, we're talking with Michael Battle and Jesse Richardson from charity group MakeSomeChange.

In 128 words or less, explain your business idea.

MakeSomeChange.com is a global game of giving that lets people support charities they care about, without dipping into their own pocket. People earn a new virtual currency called 'Change' by watching a sponsored message at MakeSomeChange.com. They then give their Change coin rewards straight to the charities they care about.

This year $170 billion will be spent on digital advertising globally. We’re tapping into that huge pool of revenue to create a new way to give that is fun, easy and rewarding. MakeSomeChange.com harnesses the power of the crowd so that we can all give each other a better world.

What strategies are you using to grow and finance your idea?

We’re paid by advertisers for every sponsored message that is watched on the site – and that money is converted into our virtual currency and goes to the charities chosen by the viewer. We have major brands such as Telstra, Schweppes, Officeworks, AAMI and Rate City on board and communicating with our audience.

Soon people will also be able to earn Change coins via eCommerce, customer rewards, in-game currency, and by buying it directly, or as a gift for others.

How do you differentiate your business from your competitors?

MakeSomeChange.com is a world-first digital platform that creates a social real-time 'crowdgiving' experience. It’s exciting to be part of something that’s completely new and with the potential to help thousands of people (and animals too – the RSPCA is one our beneficiaries).

What’s the biggest challenge facing your business?

The Change currency has the potential to diversify into many different areas, so our biggest challenge is going to be identifying where to focus our efforts and being able to scale effectively. And because it’s a unique venture, we’re also having to build and educate an entirely new audience. It’s a challenge, but MakeSomeChange.com works for users, for businesses and for charities.

What one phone, tablet or PC application could you not live without?

Slack has become an integral part of our business. It creates the kind of simple, real-time UX that we love and aspire to create.

What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve ever received?

Start with 'why'. It's not about what you do, but why you do it. Simon Sinek.

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