Supermodel Natalia Vodianova joins Disrupt in London to talk about digital philanthropy

TechCrunch Disrupt in London is beginning to appear over the horizon. We’ve already announced that Accel’s Sonali De Rycker and Atomico’s Niklas Zennström will be on our stage. Today we’re delighted to say that we’ll also be joined by world-famous supermodel Natalia Vodianova.

The Russian model, philanthropist and occasional film actress is well-known for her rags to riches life story and for her eight-season, seven-figure contract with Calvin Klein. But ‘Supernova’ — as she is known — also has an entrepreneurial streak.

Last year Vodianova founded Elbi, an app which makes it possible to donate micro amounts, of £1 or $1, to charitable organizations across the world. These include Save the Children, Walkabout Foundation, and many others. But the app has a twist: it allows users to raise awareness about projects with just a tap of their thumb on the screen, as well as send of support.

Elbi users can draw letters for schoolchildren who are learning the alphabet in Africa, send words of support to a child in a hospital in India, or volunteer content for a charity. Each day users are offered “three good deeds” to choose from.

Elbi is a simple way for charities to engage with the smartphone generation.

Drawings posted in Elbi can be tagged with the Love button (similar to a Facebook Like) and users can then make micro donations inside the app. If the content created is well received by users it will generate more “Loves” and therefore more money raised for a charity.

Elbi was launched in New York last year in the presence of Bill Clinton, Chelsea Clinton and Madeleine Albright, and has been endorsed by Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, and co-founder of the Bebo social network, Michael Birch.

Vodianova has previously said: “Elbi is a platform that brings the power of social and digital worlds to charities and connects them with people around the world. With Elbi you can do small actions that make a big difference. That is what Elbi stands for — little actions that can make a big difference.”

The two-day Disrupt conference runs December 5 to 6 in the Olympic Village’s Copper Box Arena and features Startup Alley and Startup Battlefield where one startup will take home £30,000. You can buy early-bird tickets for Disrupt London here.

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