Entrepreneur

FlipOver calls on social entreprenuers to tackle world’s most serious problems

Above: Founder Jorge Garcia del Arco in an Indonesian home.

World leaders are coming together to eradicate poverty in the next twenty years. FlipOver is a startup working at a grassroots level to achieve the same goal.

FlipOver.org is a crowd funding and crowd sourcing platform that empowers social entrepreneurs to create change in communities around the world. The startup is building a global network of social entrepreneurs and organizations to collaborate on solutions to pervasive social problems, like hunger, infant mortality, and lack of access to education. The crowdfunding component raises money for specific projects, while the crowd sourcing of ideas, services, material, and content aims to develop innovative methods of tackling challenges.

“Our goal is to flip social challenges over so that anyone in the world can get involved and support,” said founder Jorge Garcia del Arco. “We want to leverage crowdsourcing to address some of the world’s toughest challenges — we believe in a bottom-up approach to change.”

FlipOver is comparable to crowdfunding-for-social-good sites like Rally and Causes. Rather than the self-serve approach, where people and organizations are responsible for submitting their own stories, FlipOver researches and selects projects based on the team’s ability to deliver a solution. Projects that have realistic goals and are seeking sustainable change are then featured on the site. The company recently signed an agreement with Karang Taruna, Indonesia’s largest volunteer organization which has over 10 million members spread out over 75,000 towns. Garcia del Arco said this gives FlipOver unprecedented access to local communities.

Indonesia has the world’s 4th largest population on Facebook with 64 million active users. Despite its strong economic growth, Indonesia still has nearly 120 million who live on less than two dollars a day, which is roughly half the population. This makes it a ripe market for social entrepreneurs who are using the Internet to take on poverty and related issues. FlipOver was founded late 2012 and does not have nearly the same network as Rally and Causes. However the strategy of partnering with outreach organizations, focusing abroad, and soliciting funding as well as ideas, distinguishes it from competitors.

Last month, FlipOver launched a “social GPS network” to track global problems. People can post issues they observe, and the vision is to grow it into a comprehensive database that can identity hotspots for social welfare issues. Non-profits still face serious challenges and struggle to raise money for their efforts. Crowdfunding websites helped companies and individuals raise $2.7 billion in 2012, and it is proving a powerful alternative way to raise money.

Garcia del Arco founded the company after watching his mother struggle to raise awareness about Parkinsons disease in Europe. He spent most of his career working in telecommunications and is a long time proponent of social entrepreneurship. With FlipOver, the goal is to inspire and support social entrepreneurs in their efforts. It is based in Spain, but has outreach efforts all over the world.

Jason Green is a General Partner at Emergence Capital and an expert on social entrepreneurship. He said that this is still a nascent sector, but is gaining momentum in the U.S., as tech companies take on social challenges, as well as in emerging markets social entrepreneurship is seen as a way to improve the quality of life.

“People are realizing that there are big problems in the world and this is a way of solving problems that doesn’t rely on big government or companies,” he said in an interview with VentureBeat. “You can get a website and marketplace up on relatively limited capital, and build infrastructure that connects people globally.”


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