This article was originally posted on the Tech North website.
What if all those customer loyalty cards in your wallet raised money for charity rather than points you never redeem? That’s the idea behind GoRaise, a Newcastle-based startup that wants your online shopping to help others.
Here’s how it works. First, you select a good cause. You can choose anything from well-known charities to small community sports and theatre groups. Then you can browse the many big-name online retailers that support GoRaise. When you click through and make a purchase, a percentage of your spend is donated to your cause.
100 percent of your donation goes to the cause. Completely separate to that, GoRaise charges a fee to retailers to operate what is essentially a loyalty scheme on their behalf. If you don’t want to do all your shopping via GoRaise’s website, there’s a browser plugin (currently for Chrome with more to follow) that alerts you when you’re on a website that supports the service.
Founder Gary Thompson has been in the digital and marketing sectors for 20 years. He sees GoRaise as bringing together the benefits of all that experience. Work started on the the startup in January 2015, and it launched late last year after going through Newcastle’s Ignite accelerator. We first talked to Thompson about the company last November when he was taking part in our Northern Stars competition.
On the up
Now things are really on the up. GoRaise has gone and raised £600,000 in funding from Northstar Ventures and a private investor.
Thompson plans to spend the cash on building awareness of GoRaise, as well as building out the product with more features. Support for offline purchases is on the roadmap, so you could soon be giving to charity when you buy at bricks-and-mortar stores. International expansion is also on the cards.
GoRaise faces competition from Give As You Live and The Giving Machine, but Thompson says that his aim is to make his offering stand out by being “simple and fun, and not spammy.” And in the world of marketing, that’s surely the holy grail.
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