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Win Win is a new mobile app that uses AR to gamify philanthropy!
Once users download our app, they will donate money into a collective pot that's region-specific, like NYC or SF. Then, once the pot reaches a certain amount of money – let's say $10,000 – the money is distributed ("dropped") in the form of virtual coins that users can see through Augmented Reality! So that means users will walk around town with their phones seeing their location on Google Maps as well as the nearby coins! Some coins might be worth a little, but others might be worth a lot, and the money they find, they keep!
So why is this philanthropic, you ask? Well, the coins that users collect are directed to charities of the user's choice! And not just any charities: we're only including charities based on the principles of effective altruism, meaning that every dollar donated is stretched to its maximum potential. All it takes is $2.50 to save a life if it's donated to the right cause, so users are making money for themselves, AND they're raising money for the causes that do the most good in the world. It's a Win Win!
Check out our description video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pqZvwv87ZeA
See our market validation report here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1n9jGjljWVnZlhGX3R0OWR5X3c/view?usp=sharing
The Problem, and Our Solution:
There's enough food on the planet to feed 15 billion people, and yet 1.5 billion are either malnourished or starving. Furthermore, there are thousands of people in developing regions of the world who die every day from easily preventable diseases – some of which haven't affected the West for decades – and yet most people in the US either don't know that, or don't care enough to do anything about it. This doesn't seem very fair at all. Unfortunately, the amazing charitable organizations that do tremendously effective work to alleviate this suffering are chronically underfunded, and their incredible humanitarian efforts are too often stymied by a lack of cash. This is not just tragically upsetting, it's simply indefensible.
Our goal is to get these agencies the money they need so that they can continue fighting the good fight against global hunger, extreme poverty, and rampant epidemics. Luckily, our dollars can become so much more valuable when they're spent effectively. For instance, $1 can buy 20kg of rice in South Sudan and feed a family of four for a week. Ask yourself, what did YOU spend your last dollar on?
We don't mean to guilt-trip people, though. We just want people to donate more money so that they can make a real difference in the world. That's why we're turning the charitable donation process into something enjoyable! We believe that if we can make philanthropy something that people actively want to do instead of something they feel obligated to do, they'll actually give more! To that end, we're designing Win Win to be as fun as possible! We're utilizing every gamification tactic that we can reasonably include so that we get users to have a great time while they're making the world a better place.
The biggest mechanic we're incorporating is a lottery-style cash reward tournament so that users can actually win money for themselves in the game. We're not naive, and we recognize that many people simply won't donate money out of the kindness of their hearts. If, however, they see the game as an opportunity to make money for themselves, they may be a lot more inclined to give it a try! We're all human, so we all have altruistic tendencies and self-interested tendencies: and we're not denying that – in fact, we're leveraging that! We're hoping to capitalize on those self-interested natures to get people to behave philanthropically! That's why 50% of the money raised gets pumped into the game; imagine the excitement if you were walking down the street and then, all of a sudden, money started raining from the sky! You'd be thrilled! That's exactly the feeling we're trying to emulate with our app! There will be other gamification mechanics as well. For instance, we can have premium features and in-app purchases that help users locate and collect more coins. There could also be level-ups and badges and leaderboards and timers and so much more!
Room for Growth:
Americans spend $70B on the lottery every year. That’s an insane amount of money! Even crazier, though, is the amount Americans contribute to charitable causes every year, which approaches a staggering $373B per year. If we can successfully marry those two markets (though perhaps “market isn’t the right term for the philanthropic sector), there is huge potential! But there’s arguably MORE potential through corporate partnerships. Let’s say we wanted to partner with Starbucks, for instance, they could pay us to have coins spawn near their stores, as that would generate lots of foot traffic for them! Separately, if Starbucks wanted to sponsor a round entirely, we could feature little coffee cups instead of coins, and the cups that users find could be redeemed in store for actual beverages! These are just some avenues to consider among countless others. And the most exciting part about this whole idea is the potential for growth. The collective pot doesn’t just have to be $10,000, it could be $500,000 or $25M dollars! The Powerball lottery can generate billions of dollars, and they have a drawing every week! That’s what gets us so excited about this project – the prospect of generating serious revenue and then channelling it to where it’s most needed is extremely enticing to us.
Ian, Yigal, and Aaron met on an amazing computer programming fellowship in Tel Aviv called TAVtech (www.taventure.org) where they became fast friends! They worked together on various assignments for the fellowship, until they came to the realization that they wanted to use their skills for something valuable in a global sense. That's when the idea to gamify philanthropy emerged, and they've been building it ever since! Ian's best friend Rahul, a super experienced project manager and a former Thiel Fellow, joined the team soon after the Tel Aviv fellowship ended and he has been a tremendous addition to the team!