BUILDtheworld wants to organise the scattered social impact sector by bringing all relevant stakeholders onto one platform.

Facebook for social work This Hyd startup is building a platform to connect do-gooders Image for representational purpose only
Atom Startups Wednesday, November 15, 2017 - 18:52

There are several social enterprises in India that are picking up causes that don’t get attention. These startups look to make a positive impact in the society, mostly using technology, while raking in revenues. And this is in addition to hundreds of NGO and volunteer groups in the country, who strive to do their bit too.

But as an individual, when one wants to do good, they’re often lost as the social impact sector is extremely scattered. No one seems to have correct information on which NGO or social enterprise does what, who is trustworthy and who’s not. So, while the intent is always there, it’s the action part of it that is almost always lacking.

Sahil Mittal recognised this problem during his days at ISB (Indian School of Business) and through exchange of ideas with classmates and people from across the world, he decided to build a common platform for social work.

Working on the idea for over three years, Sahil founded BUILDtheworld - a common platform that brings different stakeholders online onto one platform and connects them smartly. BUILDtheworld wants to make social impact more fun, creative and youth friendly so they can inculcate the culture of doing good in the youth. It is like gamifying social impact to make it interesting and fun for people to want to get involved. Ajit Rangnekar, former dean of ISB is the co-founder and advisor of the startup.

The platform, which is still in Beta phase, lets people either create their own campaigns and initiatives, or find like-minded people with similar skill sets to create impact.

BUILDtheworld is based out of Hyderabad and is currently working out of startup engine T-Hub.

“Everyone wants to do good but they don’t know where to go and find things of their interest. So on our platform, say you are into music and want to create an impact using music, it is difficult to find NGOs around you who would use music to create an impact. On our platform, you can find like-minded people with similar skills and create campaigns, raise funds, get in touch with slums and do something for them,” Sahil says.

Sahil wants to be able to bring slums, refugee camps, and villages online so that volunteers can view them on one platform so that these entities get more visibility and allows people, corporates, and celebrities to adopt the slums and villages.

The team of BUILDtheworld

Where to start?

“Anyone can do that. Say you know a slum around you, go there, get information, what problems they have and what can be done. Create a page for them to give them visibility. This allows people to adopt the slum while keeping a track of what kind of work has already been taken care of,” Sahil says.

For those who do not know how to go about starting a campaign or initiative, BUILDtheworld has an Impact idea store where a few successful campaigns are listed across categories. Users can pick one from there and start the same one in their own locality. The problem statement, solutions, the process, impact and progress can also be tracked here.

The idea is to build a platform to learn, replicate and scale from the best practices of similar projects undertaken elsewhere and from existing impact startups from across the globe and replicate/franchise them in the local environment.

There will be campaign validators, who help keep a check on whether the work is actually getting done. BUILDtheworld  also has a Karma profile. Everyone who contributes on the platform has one profile and earns karma points for every campaign they do, which is added to their profile through pictures and videos. The karma points can be redeemed to meet celebrities, attend concerts.

The platform, which is slated to launch officially by the early next year, will eventually see the team of BUILDtheworld reach out to people. But the idea is that everything is crowdsourced. “Our goal is to not get into operations. If we try to do that, we are not scalable,” Sahil says.

The Role of Technology

While the entire platform is tech-based, BUILDtheworld is now trying to bring in artificial intelligence to make the platform more effective. AI will help understand the kind of activities a user is interested in and push relevant campaigns to them.

“We are also looking at how to use blockchain and cryptocurrency to make donations transparent. We are currently doing a research with UCLA to understand this better,” Sahil says.

In fact, BUILDtheworld has been doing extensive market research with various universities such as Stanford, National University of Singapore, ISB and others to understand what exactly is needed for ensure maximum social impact and how that needs to be done.

A campaign being run by BUILDtheworld to teach Brazilian martial arts (Capoeria) to orphanage kids

Business Model

Sahil says that BUILDtheworld  will generate revenues in three different forms. One will be through corporates and their CSR initiatives, which can be run on the platform. Another avenue will be through brand marketing where brands can offer discounts and offers on products through the platform.

The other means is through startups and firms that sell innovation impact products. BUILDtheworld plans on charging them to sell on the platform.

While the final platform has not been launched yet, the startup has run a few pilots with NGOs such as Camp Diaries, which used the platform to conduct a campaign. It has also done a few offline pilots to validate its idea.

It is also working with the government of Netherlands, which has shown interest in the platform that the startup is building. The startup is currently working on understanding their needs and exploring a partnership with the government. 

BUILDtheworld initially raised an angel round from Ravi khandelwal, founder of frankie rolls in Hyderabad and is currently in the process of raising another round of funds.

Once the platform is ready by the end of this month, BUILDtheworld will first start working with volunteer-run NGOs. It then plans to work with colleges, corporates and then regular NGOs. It also wants to eventually bring celebrities and influencers on board. Bringing each stakeholder on board will require slight tweaking to the platform, Sahil says.

The idea is to be able to bring all stakeholders online, connect them smartly and use existing resources in an optimal fashion to do good and create significant impact.

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