Starting A Startup At Charity Hack In London


If you have a game changing idea for a charity or one that will help a lot of charities and are wondering where to go to make it happen, then Charity Hack might be a good start. By Trang Du (Co-Founder & Designer, PositiveBid)

As a co-founder of PositiveBid, people are often surprised when I tell them that our product PositiveBid started at a Charity Hack run by Ebay and PayPal almost a year ago.

A lot has happened in that year - from starting as a hackathon idea, to getting funding from NESTA and now getting ready to launch our product. All from a team who met and had never worked together before this event.

I arrived early on the on the day of the Charity Hack to hear people pitch their ideas for products that could help charities. Our team eventually formed around the concept of bringing charity auctions online. Well why not use technology to make charity auctions easier to organise; as well as more social to increase participation and help raise more funds.

24 hours of hacking later, our exhausted team of two developers, a designer and a business analyst were ready to demo the product to the other teams. After a quick explanation of the application, we were in the midst of an auction with people rapidly bidding from their own mobile devices. Ebay donated a lovely slanket for our demo. It finally sold for almost twice its retail price and payment was taken electronically which went directly to the WWF.

Our product won first prize at Charity Hack 2011. Wow! We were humbled as there were many great products demonstrated on the day. It was then suggested that we might apply for funding from NESTA’s innovation in giving fund, so we did. After a presentation, a bit of jumping through hoops and some nail biting, we finally received £50,000 (approx $80,000 USD) in funding from NESTA. This happened in July this year and now three months into the project, we are almost ready to launch PositiveBid.

Charity Hack is an annual event which aims support new and innovative ways of helping charities promote their causes and garner support from the community. So if you have a game changing idea for a charity or one that will help a lot of charities and are wondering where to go to make it happen, then Charity Hack might be a good start.

So come and pitch an idea at Charity Hack whether you are a charity worker, business person, marketeer, designer or developer. Otherwise if you are a bit shy then send your idea to and they will promote it on the Charity Hack website and pitch it for you.

But do come along and form a team of people who are interested in converting great concepts into real products to help charities. Who know’s where it will lead? This year's Charity Hack will happen on November 3-4, 2012. Sign up for Charity Hack here.

As for PositiveBid, we will be speaking at Charity Hack 2012 so come and say “Hi” on the day. You can find out more about us here.

Women 2.0 readers: How has going to a hackathon changed your life? Let us know in the comments.

(Above) Photo credit: CRASHSpace on Flickr. photo_biggerAbout the guest blogger: Trang Du is the Co-Founder and Designer at PositiveBid, a NESTA-funded startup innovation project based at the Google campus in London. PositiveBid is developing an online social, mobile and digital auction platform (cloud hosted) for charities to use free of charge in the United Kingdom. Follow her on Twitter at @dudotty.