Vancouver Startup Gives Back to Community Through Crowdfunding

Made famous by websites like “Kickstarter,” crowdfunding has become an easy and effective means of raising money for projects. Vancouver-based tech startup “Weeve” makes use of this practice to raise money for local community projects and is the first in the world which uses a “freemium” model, allowing nonprofit organizations to keep money raised on Weeve without transaction fees. Weeve launched its beta website this week and is already seeing donations come in.

Weeve users are asked to “give smarter” by allowing their dollars to go directly into community projects in need of funding. Beta-launch partners include Seva Canada, YouthCo, SharkTruth, and BC Children’s Hospital Foundation. Through Weeve, BC Children’s Hospital Foundation’s “Campaign for BC Children” is aiming to raise $5000 to help build a new hospital.

“Partners like the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation benefit from Weeve through a number of means. First of all, our website lets them keep every dollar that they raise,” says Trevor Loke, Founder and Chief Operating Officer of Weeve, “We equip nonprofits with the platform and tools needed to reach audiences they may never have tapped into before. We also give tech-savvy and socially-conscious citizens an easy way to give small amounts of money that add up to create real change right where they live – change they can see. Weeve empowers nonprofit organizations to reach these crowds.”

Alex Chuang, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, says that Weeve is the solution to a greater issue that is affecting nonprofits around the globe, “Individual giving in Canada peaked in 1991 when 30% of Canadians gave to charities. Today, that number hovers at less than 1 in 4 – an all-time low. Nonprofits worldwide are feeling the brunt of governments which are cutting their funding, making crowdfunding a tangible solution for the funding crisis in the nonprofit sector.”

Other organizations and community projects will be launched in the coming weeks. To check out current projects visit www.weeve.it.

Weeve founders consist of CEO Alex Chuang, a graduate of the Master of Management program at the UBC Sauder School of Business; COO Trevor Loke, a marketing, communications and fundraising professional who is also an elected official in the City of Vancouver as Vancouver Park Board Commissioner; and CTO Vincent Chu, who has worked for companies including SAP & IBM. All founders are 23 years old. And here is what they look like:

Alex Chuang- Founder and CEO

Trevor Loke- Founder and COO

Vincent Chu- Founder and CTO

Alex Chuang – Philanthropist 2.0

Who are you?

Hello! My name is Alex. I am the Founder and CEO of Weeve, an online social fundraising platform for nonprofit projects. I have an unquenchable thirst for learning new things and figuring out the better ways of doing things. I am a big fan of Disney, Apple, and the Canucks. I have a bunny who thinks the universe owes her its origin.

What do you do for fun?

Board games! I love strategic board games such as 7 wonders, Pandemic, Small World, and Dominion. Board games are awesome mental workouts. From reading the rules and understanding them to being able to explain them to your friends and apply them during the course of a game, you become more well-versed in communicating your ideas across. Here at the Weeve HQ, a lot of our team-building exercises involve boardgames.

What is your favourite community? Why?

I am very fortunate to be living in the most livable city in the world-Vancouver. I have been to many cities in the world and I must say that Vancouverites are the friendliest and most generous people.

The word community literally means “giving among each other” and the Vancouver community definitely fits that definition. Through my work at Weeve, I have connected with many local nonprofit organizations. Nonprofit organizations are an integral part of the society who provide a wealth of services that many people are urgently in need for. The people who work in the nonprofit sector are amazing. They are so passionate about what they do! I have a lot of respect for that and I really admire the work that they do. That is why the Weeve team is working so hard to help them have their stories heard.

What is your superpower?

My superpower is my ability to spot pain points and devise solution.

How do you use it to build community?

I noticed a pain in the nonprofit sector where thousands of nonprofit organizations are struggling to meet fast-climbing demands for their services due to lack of funding and exposure. My solution -Weeve – helps local nonprofit organizations raise money for their community projects through our free, simple and secure funding platform. At Weeve, our goal is to build sustainable and resilient communities across the globe.

My Three Favourite Things About Alex Are…

1. The way he pitched the idea for Weeve. I can’t describe it here, because I’m not Alex. So let me just say that when he presented me with the idea for Weeve the young man showcased one of the stickiest pitches I’ve ever seen. He drew pictures with voice-over (I’m sure that some Ken Robinson or Daniel Pink whiteboard-cartoonery will be coming down the pipe with Weeve’s pending launch) and, by the time he was finished, Alex had articulated a simple and elegant solution to some of the funding challenges that non-profit organizations face by connecting philanthropy, social shopping and technology – Alex is a Philanthropy 2.0 changemaker for sure.

2. Board Games! Fantastic stuff. Little else need be said about how cool liking board games makes Alex. All that’s left to say is this: well played, sir.

3. Passion for Positive Changemaking. Alex cannot hide his goodness. His persistence in aligning his work with the communities’ pain points is a true realization of the kind of creativity, positivity and drive (call it a sense-of-urgency) that it will take to untangle our planet’s problems and put them back together as solutions. Best of all, Alex is a master-connector who will be able to create and sustain the necessary buy-in to ensure that his ideas are transformed into tangible results.

Special Bonus Reason! Alex has a keen sense of style and, more than anyone else I know, he emulates the fashion sense of The Vancouver Tech-Startup Entrepreneur with impeccable precision. Lovin’ the hat-vest-combo, Mr. Chuang!

- As told by John Horn