ChangeX: Dublin Do-Gooders Go Global

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One Dublin startup has attracted the attention of noteworthy global investors like John O’Farrell of Andreessen Horowitz. Why? Because they care.

Have you ever thought about getting involved in something that has (or will have) an impact in your community, but didn’t quite know where to start?

This is where Dublin-based startup ChangeX comes in. “There are lots of people who would like to get involved in something that has an impact, who feel a responsibility to give something back to their communities with the skills they have, but just don’t get to that first step of actually starting something”, explains ChangeX founder Paul O’Hara.

“I’ve worked with lots of social entrepreneurs during my career”, says O’Hara, a former director of Ashoka Europe. “The ideas that spread best were the ones that provided a good online infrastructure with a website, an online community and online support to help people to get involved. ChangeX is building a technology that allows people to do that on a bigger scale, with all kinds of social innovations in one place.”

The types of innovations suggested on the ChangeX platform target every imaginable demographic in a community. They include:

CoderDojo a free coding club for kids, run by volunteers. The kids learn to programme their own websites or even to work with hardware and build robots. Volunteers with technical skills start classes in their communities.

GIY Groups for anyone who is interested in learning to grow their own fresh food. GIY groups often are the starting point for other community projects, like urban gardens or school gardens.

Irish Community Rapid Response building a network of local volunteers to help local GPs to get the equipment they need to help out in emergencies. Volunteers help with fundraising and building awareness.

How it works: the site offers a step-by-step guide to participating; you pick an initiative and fill out a short registration form: from there, you are promptly connected with a mentor, and get your own micro-site on changex.org.

The startup is backed by well-known investors, amongst them Dubliner John O’Farrell, General Partner at Andreessen Horowitz, as well as Albert Wenger, managing partner at New York’s Union Square Ventures. “We all live in communities, and it is up to us to make our community stronger“, says Wenger of ChangeX. ”This is the true beauty of the Internet; that we can freely connect with each other and exchange knowledge to make everyone better off.” ChangeX plans to announce its next seed round at the end of July.

Ultimately, ChangeX’s ambition is formidable: “It’s a movement of movements,” says O’Hara. “If we can bring all the present and future change makers from Ireland, and ultimately from around the world, to one place to connect with and learn from each other, in the next 10 years we can positively impact the lives of a billion people.”

The immediate goal: help and encourage 100 teams to get started in 100 days. “That will be our proof of concept”, O’Hara says. “If our platform is useful for 100 pioneers joining the #ChangeX100 challenge, we know that we can change the world.”

MORE: ChangeX: 100 People, 100 Community Projects, 100 Days

 

 

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