This is the sixth post of our new interview series to introduce our eight finalists in the week leading up to the Launch finals. To see DoneGood and other teams pitching on the big stage, come to the Launch finals at Kresge Auditorium on May 11!
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Team Name: DoneGood
Team Members: Garrett Parrish, Scott Jacobsen, Cullen Schwarz
Q: Give us a 1-sentence pitch of your idea!
A: DoneGood makes it easy to find businesses that share your values--and create change with every purchase.
Q: Why did you decide to apply to the 100K?
A: What could be more prestigious for a tech startup than recognition by the nation’s premiere technology university? How could we not apply? We’ve come to see the enormous effort MIT undertakes to make the world a better place. In the simplest terms, MIT’s mission is to teach its students to use technology to build a better society. Since our company mission is so aligned with that goal, we believed that we could be united with MIT toward a common purpose.
Q: What new trend are you most excited about (besides your own)?
A: We’re excited about the movement of entrepreneurs that want their venture to be a positive force for change in the world, and the movement of consumers that want to support those businesses. The old way of thinking is that “business” exists to maximize profits every quarter at all costs, and then charities exist to do good things for people or the planet.
That way of thinking is really being disrupted. There are more and more social impact companies and public benefit corporations started every day. Even major corporations are focusing more on corporate social responsibility. More businesses are realizing they want their company to operate in a socially responsible way, and are proving that business can be a force for good and be very profitable at the same time. We do what we do because we want to help these entrepreneurs be more and more successful.
Q: What’s been the most valuable piece of advice you’ve received?
A: That we should be careful with advice. Early on somebody told us about “advisor whiplash”. The more you talk to advisors, the more contradictory advice you’re likely to get. The advice was, seek out and respect advice from experts with varying perspectives. But at the end of the day, it’s your company, you know it best, and the advice from experts will often send you in opposite directions, so take in all the advice but then make up your own mind.
So we try to aggressively seek out expert opinions but also keep in mind that you can’t just take the first piece of advice you get on any topic as gospel. That said, there are times when you hear a nearly unanimous chorus from a lot of really smart people, and in those cases, it becomes pretty clear we should probably follow those recommendations.
Q: What’s been your biggest accomplishment in this process so far?
A: Creating a platform that people are using and telling their friends about! Meeting people who have already heard of DoneGood or already have it on their phones is the best.