It costs £375 to get in touch with Bill Liao, an entrepreneur, diplomat and founder of WeForest, but only £40 to connect with Adam Parr, the Chairman of Williams F1 and it’s just £30 to email with Rupert Turnbull, the Publisher of Wired Magazine. Once you’ve sent a pitch and paid your dues, you’ll receive a guaranteed response within 10 days. And where does all the money going? To a charity of their choice.
Our professional networks are growing by the day and it’s never been easier before to connect with so many people. But with great connectivity comes a lot of noise that can stifle innovation. To solve this problem, entrepreneurs Hamish Forsyth and brother and sister Damien and Robyn Scott, have launched a platform called OneLeap, which challenges the professional-network site model by adding a philanthropic twist.
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Here’s how it works: The British startup combines the ‘ideas market’ with philanthropy. Anyone with an idea to pitch can use the platform. Simply choose a recipient and pay the fee, which is £20-40 on average, 80% of which will go to the charity of their choice. The other 20% goes to OneLeap. (Additional currencies will be added in the future.)
The recipient will receive your email and can choose whether to respond on OneLeap or directly within their email client thus revealing their contact information. Messages are kept to a maximum of 400 words to ensure they’re succinct. You will receive a response within 10 days or your money back.
You can browse the OneLeap address book to see a rotating list of featured users like Nigel Kershaw OBE, the CEO of Big Issue Invest and Group Chairman of The Big Issue Company and Eugenie Rives, the Head of Strategy and Operations for Google Africa, or you can specifically search for people by name. These highly networked individuals are the kinds who are always inundated with emails. But OneLeap’s platform gives them a way to prioritize their attention to unknown senders if they know they are serious enough to commit money to a message. Scott says people have been increasingly sharing their OneLeap links with people as a way to get in touch.
Use cases for OneLeap are many. Say, you’re a social entrepreneur who wants to reach influential entrepreneurs and investors for advice and introductions or the CEO of a small business who wants to contact an influential angel investor. CK Swett, a charity auctioneer in New York City said he’d never enjoyed responding to an email so much as the ones he got from OneLeap just days after singing up.
OneLeap is the only UK company to get into the 2012 Unreasonable Institute, which fast tracks for-profit social enterprises that can reach more than 1 million people. Since its beta launch last month, OneLeap already has 1,000 users signed up to its platform.
“OneLeap is the first high level messaging service which lets a sender demonstrate seriousness by paying a demand driven fee – and then diverts the fee to charity to avoid the complications and stigma of paying for access,” says Robyn Scott.
Born in Botswana and raised in London, Scott–both an author and entrepreneur- is a willowy, tall blonde with a beautiful, hybrid accent. Her first social enterprise, Mothers for All is a non-profit supporting women in Botswana and South Africa who care for children orphaned or made vulnerable by HIV and AIDS.
After 2 years of planning and 6 months of full time work, Scott piloted OneLeap’s Alpha stage with Cambridge University, where she had met her co-founder Hamish Forsyth over 2 years ago. Scott’s brother Damien, the General Manager of the Williams Formula 1 Technology Centre in Qatar is the 3rd co-founder of OneLeap.
OneLeap raised an undisclosed seed round last year from a syndicate of angels that were all early users of the platform including Adam Parr, the Chairman of Williams F1, Rajan Jethwa the CEO of Virgin Health Bank, Lisa Spiro, the President of Women’s Network for a Sustainable Future and entrepreneur and philanthropist Lord Dennis Stevenson.
While there are many services online that allow you to charge for access, OneLeap’s philanthropic efforts set it apart. While the platform will still face the challenge of on-boarding highly influential users, I love the utility and truly believe there’s just so much good that can come out of it.
So, what’s the net worth of your network? Find out what kind of difference you can make with a philanthropic filter on OneLeap.
Tomo Jesenicnik via shutterstock