While the primary goal of most startups is to scale their revenues and eventually turn a profit, there’s a segment of the startup world that’s also focused on doing good.
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The fancy name for that category of business operating is “social entrepreneurship.” Historically, socially-conscious companies haven’t been the most well-funded. But we think that’s slowly changing. More entrepreneurs—and investors—recognize that making money and making a positive impact on the world may not be mutually exclusive.
A quick search of companies that fall into the social entrepreneurship category turned up 879 organizations that have raised a combined $1.6 billion in funding. That’s a lot of companies and a lot of cash.
First, we’ll highlight some of those startups that have recently raised money. And it being the holiday season, we’ll also take a look at some companies who haven’t raised but are instigating positive social change all the same.
Starting Up For Good
According to TechCrunch, Karma markets itself an app-based marketplace that helps restaurants and grocery stores reduce food waste by selling unsold food at a discount direct to consumers. It’s raised a total of $16.7 million, most recently bringing in a $12 million Series A.
“One-third of all food produced is wasted,” Karma CEO Ståhlberg Nordegren told TechCrunch reporter Steve O’Hear in August. With Karma’s app, restaurants and grocery stores can sell their surplus food while consumers can buy the food at a reduced price, he added.
This company has developed a mobile application that helps provide a meal to someone in need each time a user takes a photo at a partner restaurant. It was founded in 2014 and recently raised $165,000, per its Crunchbase profile.
This five-year-old company aims to “enable industry leaders in oil, gas, and mining to predict and prevent environmental, social, and governance risks by turning mobile crowd-sourced data from stakeholders into actionable intelligence,” according to its Crunchbase profile. It raised $1 million in a seed round earlier this year.
Outside The Startup
There’s also a number of socially conscious companies that haven’t necessarily raised money this year or fall out of the traditional bounds of a startup.
This trendy startup made headlines earlier this year when Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, wore a pair of its ballet flats. It makes high-end 3D printed shoes out of recycled bottles and recently also launched a sneaker line. Founded in 2015, Rothy’s raised $7 million in 2017 in a Series A round led by Lightspeed Venture Partners. According to Anatta, Rothy’s saw its revenue increase by 600 percent from year one to year two. Its shoes are sold exclusively online.
This New York company describes itself as an ethical luxury handbag brand that uses “premium animal-friendly materials” and works closely with artisans to craft its handbags, per its Crunchbase profile. It has not raised venture funding that we know of.
In case we missed any startups in the space, feel free to email me. Doing good is always something we’re interested in hearing more about, and covering.
iStockPhoto / Grandfailure