Social entrepreneurship platform ChangeX raises €550,000

Platform backed by high-profile investors seeks more money as it launches new service

Members of the ChangeX team including founder and chief executive Paul O’Hara (second on left)

Members of the ChangeX team including founder and chief executive Paul O’Hara (second on left)

 

ChangeX, the Irish-headquartered social entrepreneurship platform which is backed by a number of high-profile investors, has raised €550,000 out of a targeted €850,000 in an ongoing funding round. The news comes as the organisation announces a new “impact as a service” model to track philanthropic investments in real-time.

The not-for-profit, which is based in Dogpatch Labs in Dublin, is behind a platform that aims to enable communities to replicate popular local projects across the country.

Among the projects that investors can currently back via the Change X platform are CoderDojo, Irish Men’s Sheds, Failte Isteach and GIY (Grow It Yourself).

ChangeX has previously raised €850,000 in funding from investors including Ben & Jerry’s co-founder Jerry Greenfield and Albert Wenger, managing partner of New York-based venture capital firm Union Square Ventures, to help improve the quality of life in Irish communities.

Other investors to back the organisation include Storyful founder Mark Little, Irish financier Dermot Desmond, Realex Payments founder Colm Lyon, Draper Esprit partner Brian Caulfield and John O’Farrell, general partner of Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz.

ChangeX chief executive Paul O’Hara told The Irish Times the organisation had raised an additional €550,000 in an ongoing funding round with investment coming primarily from returnee backers.

“We need to get another few investors onboard to get us over the line to €850,000 but we’re hopeful we’ll be able to have done this in a few months,” said Mr O’Hara.

The organisation’s new impact as a service model is intended to create more transparency for those funding investment projects.

“ChangeX was initially set up to help ideas that are working well in one place – such as GIY in Waterford – to easily spread to other communities. One of the biggest barriers, though, is finance so we wanted to create something compelling for investors that would allow them to easily finance the scaling of ideas. The main value of the impact as a service model is that there is a lot of key information missing from the market generally in terms of pricing and the effect of investments. The new model helps bring accountability to investments made,” said Mr O’Hara.

The new service is launching with more than €300,000 invested from philanthropic investors in both Ireland and the US, including Bebo founders Xochi and Michael Birch and MyFitnessPal chief executive Mike Lee.

ChangeX, which launched in 2015 in Ireland, currently employs eight people. It recently expanded to the US, basing itself in the state of Minnesota with a view to branching out further stateside.