Jamillah is the UK Editor for The Next Web. She's based in London. You can hear her on BBC Radio 5Live's Outriders. Follow on Twitter @jemi Jamillah is the UK Editor for The Next Web. She's based in London. You can hear her on BBC Radio 5Live's Outriders. Follow on Twitter @jemimah_knight or drop a line to [email protected]
This Friday expect a little disruption to your favourite websites, services and possibly the roads of Paris, as a group of tech leaders from the UK is about to embark upon an incredible journey.
40 UK startup, entrepreneurial, VC and tech folks are cycling from Paris to London to raise money for Room to Read. The two-wheeled charity event is the brain-child of Ezequiel Vidra, Head of the Google Campus in London.
“I had a crazy idea a few months ago – use the collective power of entrepreneurs to do some good. So I created Techbikers, a collaboration of entrepreneurs to raise money for charity through cycling. We sold out in 4 days,” says Vidra. So maybe it’s not such a crazy idea after all.
The initial aim of the event was to shoot for $20k to fund a project through Room to Read and it seems that Vidra’s persuasion and networking in the tech world has ignited the charitable urge in the community as they are now set to raise around $40,000. The first project the money will go to is a library in Nepal.
Room to Read is a non-profit organization based on the idea that lives can be improved through education. In the past ten years it has provided better access to education for around 6 million children.
Entrepreneurs leveraged for charity
Vidra has roped in a host of names from the UK tech world including Gerry Newton, a Campus resident and founder of Cyclr, Benjamin Southworth, Deputy CEO at Tech City Investment Organisation (TCIO), and Pru Ashby, Tech City Specialist at London & Partners to help rally the community behind the project.
The fundraising drive has seen support and donations from Campus London, Barclays, TCIO, Horizon, Yammer, Zendesk, Fitzgerald and Law, Connected Ventures, Alliotts, London & Partners, and Independent Shoreditch.
The money will doubtless go a long way to helping the cause, but it’s not just saddle sore and mileage that is on the books. Most of the participants are bound to lose a few pounds from the exercise and one might even lose his beard.
Ben Southworth has pledged to chop of his beard (three years in the making we are told) if he raises £2,000. Quite the commitment and of course another goal if anyone particularly hopes to see a clean-shaven Deputy CEO at TCIO.
As the event draws near, Vidra admits that he is a little nervous but also excited. Although he’s known to have managed 200 miles a decade ago, he says he is a little out of practise.”That was 10 years ago and I was 10 years younger. So, I don’t know if I can do this, but I hope I can,” he says.
Though it might not be the Tour de France, Techbikers has risen quickly to do some good. Vidra hopes that he can repeat the challenge next year as well as repeating the format in other locations around the world where there are geeks on wheels to be found.
Find more information about Techbikers here.
Image Credit: Salam Virji
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