Well, it could be argued that the likes of Mark Benioff and others kicked off the most recent wave of tech philanthropy, but his “1%” pledge of equity, time and product to good causes has caught the imagination of entrepreneurs globally. Today however, a UK movement aims to put their own twist on this theme.
After germinating in 2013 at the – principally European-based – Founders Forum event, the Founders Pledge launches as a platform where entrepreneur founders will commit to donate a minimum 2% of their personal proceeds to social causes following an exit.
So far 53 founders have committed to the pledge, creating a total estimated fund of more than $28m (nearly £18.5m).
The tech startup founders who have taken the pledge for far include: Damian Kimmelman – co-founder and CEO of DueDil; Ted Nash – co-founder of Tapdaq; Mustafa Suleyman – co-founder of Deepmind, (and Head of Applied AI), which was last year acquired by Google; José Neves – founder and CEO of Farfetch. Others include founders from Huddle, Swiftkey and Zopa.
Just to put that in context, from 2010 to 2014, the UK saw 155 exits, raising an average of £183m each. If that kind of traction continues – and the likelihood is that it will increase – this pledge could raise a minimum of £22m a year.
David Goldberg, Director of Founders Forum for Good, says “Social responsibility is growing in importance to society today. This reality is regularly backed-up in consumer and business surveys alike and to my mind there has never been a stronger case for helping to facilitate like-minded people with a way to leverage their success for a greater good.”