Business Technology

Founders Pledge has UK tech minds from SwiftKey and more donate £18.5m to social good

4 min read

10 June 2015

Former deputy editor

More than 50 tech and digital entrepreneurs have committed £18.5m to social good through philanthropic campaign the Founders Pledge, which is funded by them donating at least two per cent of their personal salaries following an exit.

The idea for the Founders Pledge, a creation of Founders Forum for Good, was originally thought up in 2013. As of 10 June, the platform is ready to enable entrepreneurial and philanthropic digital founders to donate between two and ten per cent of their annual income.

Some 53 UK business creators have committed to the Pledge already, which has the fund at an estimated £18.5 million already and growing on a weekly basis. The minds behind SwiftKey, Zopa, DueDil, TapDaq, Farfetch and Huddle are among contributors.

The project is designed on the back of 155 exits from the technology sector between 2010 and 2014 achieving an average of £183m each. It calculates that £22m could be raised for social good annually from the UK sector alone.

“Social responsibility is growing in importance to society today. This reality is regularly backed-up in consumer and business surveys alike and to my mind there has never been a stronger case for helping to facilitate like-minded people with a way to leverage their success for a greater good,” said David Goldberg, director of Founders Forum for Good.

“Over the last ten years, the tech and digital sector has grown an inspiring group of founders that are building game-changing businesses. Through the Founders Pledge, this new generation of entrepreneurs has a mechanism to give back apply their disruptive mindset to be a change for good.

“The initial level of commitment has already been fantastic and we are looking forward to seeing how this drive for change grows and expands in to a global movement.”

Read more on social responsibility:

Studies have shown that two-thirds of consumers would rather work for responsible businesses that care about the world around them, while millennials have said social development should be a primary focus. It demonstrates staff want more than just a payday.

Indeed, Real Business has explored the best and worst companies to work for and found that innovation and culture are at the heart of the most successful firms.

Damian Kimmelman, co-founder and CEO of DueDil, said: “I strongly believe that philanthropy is not just about writing a cheque to charities, just as venture capital or private equity is not about writing cheques to startups. It requires a deeper level of engagement.

“Although startup founders are typically not in the position to contribute financially to charities, by pledging a portion of their personal proceeds to social causes, they start considering it from an early stage.

“As an American living in the UK, the one thing I’ve noticed is how the corporate culture of philanthropy isn’t as pronounced as it is in the US. Undoubtedly this is largely due to differing charity tax deduction policies – however I’m confident that the Founders Pledge will go a long way towards helping to close this gap.”