After selling three companies, Kai Buehler wanted to give some of his good fortune back. He began actively raising money for charitable causes, and ever-the-entrepreneur, found yet another business opportunity in the process.
Buehler went on to start Causora, which aims to be “the frequent flyer program for charitable giving.” The startup launched today and revealed that it has raised an initial angel round of funding.
Causora is a social giving platform that rewards donations. People donate money to charities through the site and receive the same amount back as a gift card from a participating merchants. The more they give, the more they receive back. After selling Watchpoints (which gives rewards for watching TV) to Viggl in 2011, Buehler got involved in raising money for his daughter’s school. He saw that donors were greatly incentivized if they received tangible rewards and a choice about where to redeem their rewards.
“Causora is on a mission to help charities and causes raise more funds by rewarding donors,” he said to VentureBeat. “The non-profit industry is in need of help, particularly from innovative entrepreneurs. Causora’s platform with incentives brings the best of private markets to the non-profit domain.”
So far 150 causes and 150 merchants have signed up. Causes include education, animal rescue, AIDS research, environmental projects, and arts initiatives. Most of the merchants in the network are spas, salons, and wellness centers around Los Angeles and San Francisco, with more merchants and cities coming soon. Causora will take a percentage of the transactions that go through its platform.
Americans donated more than $ 300 billion to charity in 2012. Non-profits and charitable causes rely on donations and are just starting to look for new, innovative, Internet-centric ways to fuel their fundraising. Startups like Causora, Kula Causes, Amicus, and Razoo each take different approaches, but all use gamification to help raise more money for social good. It is still early days for Causora and with the plethora of places to give online, its success will depend on building up a robust two-sided marketplace that attracts consumers, businesses, and charities.
The company is based in Los Angeles and has 7 employees.