Change.org wants to provide the world’s largest platform for social change, and has grown substantially since launching in 2007 as a social networking site for non-profits. The company, which now hosts a wide range of petitions from users around the world, just raised an additional $25 million in funding from a large group of A-list investors.
The company operates a platform that allows anyone to post petitions as a way to engage with their local communities and enact social change. While it’s free to post, Change.org makes money off petitions that users pay to promote and get in front of other like-minded individuals.
Change.org has grown as more people are taking issues online. The new capital was added as the company has increased from 35 million users to more than 80 million in the last 18 months, which is when Change.org last raised funds. That previous investment was led by Omidyar Network and amounted to $15 million.
For this round of financing, Change.org decided to open its round to leaders in the business, technology, and political sectors. By doing so, the company hopes those investors will help spread the message of the platform through their network.
Investors in the funding round include Code.org co-founders Ali and Hadi Partovi, HuffPo founder Arianna Huffington, Textmarks chairman Ariel Poler, A-Grade Invetments’ Ashton Kutcher & Guy Oseary, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Braintree founder Bryan Johnson, Google fellow Diane Tang, Twitter co-founder Evan Williams, former Facebook and YouTube CFO Gideon Yu, Ooga Labs co-founder James Currier, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner, retired JPMorgan Partners co-founder and managing partner Jeffrey Walker, Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang, Palantir co-founder Joe Lonsdale, Twitter VP of global media Katie Stanton, Grokker founder Lorna Borenstein, Bebo co-founder Michael Birch, the Dr. Mortimer D. Sackler Family, Nicolas Berggruen, LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, Virgin group founder Richard Branson, Y Combinator president Sam Altman, MITS Fund’s Shawn Byers, and the Trawalla Foundation.
While the support of a large list of thinkfluencers could help get the word out, the financial commitment they’ve made is also very real. With $25 million more in the bank, Change.org is looking to expand and invest particularly in its engineering department.
Currently the company has about 200 employees spread throughout the world. It operates field offices across 18 different countries to help support citizen movements in each, and is looking to add more. By having local staff in various cities, Change.org can better engage with the community and keep abreast of local issues affecting residents around the world.
On the engineering side, Change.org is hoping to build mobile apps that will allow users to create and back petitions while on the go. It’s also planning to build tools that will allow elected officials to see what issues are most important in their communities and to engage with residents directly about them. Finally, Change.org wants to improve localization to reach an increasingly global audience.