mystartupXX's Giventure Wins Recent Innovation and Entrepreneur Challenges, Aims to Launch Social Enterprise App in the Fall
When UC San Diego computer science undergraduate student Sneha Jayaprakash (BS '16) came up with the idea for Giventure, a social enterprise to engage users in volunteerism and social issues, she never expected to become an entrepreneur. "My co-founder Winnie Xu and I read articles about other college students starting companies, but it never seemed attainable for us personally," said Jayaprakash. "We were just building something to support a cause that we all cared about." It was only after pitching the concept for Giventure (known then as Bystanders to Upstanders) and being awarded $10,000 at the Microsoft Imagine Fund program in 2014 that Jayaprakash and her team members realized Giventure had evolved into a startup company.
Giventure is a social enterprise that localizes, personalizes and gamifies community service with the goal to make it simple for users to get involved and make a difference in their communities. "Giventure gives you personalized event suggestions, connects you with other volunteers and track your hours," said Jayaprakash. "We also help nonprofits manage event logistics online and enable companies to meet their employee volunteer engagement goals. We are your personal assistant for volunteer work."
This year, Giventure was accepted into mystartupXX, the Rady School's startup accelerator for UC San Diego female entrepreneurs. According to Jayaprakash, mystartupXX's sessions taught her the business skills she needed to run Giventure. "Winnie and I often say that we 'didn't know what we didn't know' when we started working on this project," said Jayaprakash. "The mystartupXX program has helped fill in all of the gaps, and our mentors have given us feedback and support during every step of growing this company."
Recently, Giventure won $10,000 at the University of San Diego's Social Innovation Challenge and an additional $6,750 in funding and prizes at UC San Diego's Entrepreneur Challenge. Giventure was also voted as an Impact Award finalists for San Diego Startup Week.
Jayaprakash and the Giventure team hope to release the current iteration of their app in the fall, close to the one-year-anniversary of its conception. In preparation, the next step is to expand their user base. "After building a really strong community of nonprofits, corporate partners and volunteers in San Diego, we will expand up the coast," said Jayaprakash. "We have huge plans in place for the next year, including a crowdfunding campaign soon, so keep an eye out for us!"