Heeeelp.me is an online platform that will allow everyday people to tell their story, explain their current situation and their need, set the amount of financial support they need and show their gratitude to supporters through unique services and rewards.
Their USP is “Bottle your story”. As a winner of Crowdsourcing Week’s startup challenge, Heeeelp.me is crowdfunding to launch their Beta and their campiagn is LIVE! We spoke to Alexandros Melis about the story behind Heeeelp.me.
Tell us a little bit about your startup and the founders.
We are a passionate and dedicated team of 6 people – Alex, Fay, Popi, John, Anthi and Konstantina, coming from various fields, based in Greece, with a mission to change how people help each other. We use technology and crowdfunding/crowdsourcing techniques in order to bridge the gap between people that face barriers and need some financial support in order to fulfill a goal on the one hand and a passionate community that cares on the other. We believe that people and technology should work together in order to solve real problems and this is our first priority.
Heeeelp.me is a social peerfunding marketplace where solidarity is re-imagined, re-thought and redefined. Users can ask for financial support and provide small business services and rewards in exchange. All supporters are rewarded with Helpcoins, a virtual point system currency which is especially designed to reinforce contribution. And it’s not only this. As consumers are looking for better interaction with Brands, we allow Organizations to improve their social image by supporting 100% a Story that fits to their vision and get publicity out of it.
What is the problem that you are trying to solve?
People are often faced with difficult situations that they find hard to get out of. This can sometimes lead to more problems and an cause unhappiness in communities. We are here to change this. Up until today we could choose from a limited variety of solutions when we found ourselves in an urgent situation or needing something. One solution was to ask our family and friends for support or even get in the awkward position of asking for help from our boss.
On the other hand, people have always had the tendency to support a cause or engage in philanthropy missions, getting back the satisfactory feeling of self-fulfillment. Our essential value proposition is to wisely connect all these peers and create the world’s first peerfunding market place where people find services and at the same time help others.
What are some of the challenges you have faced in your current market?
One of the main issues that the world of today faces is trust. Although the willingness of many people to do good is strong, a lot of times the issue of trust becomes the barrier for turning words into action. We want to face this challenge by enhancing the means to prove the trustworthiness of each person. Heeeelp.me’s way of functioning along with the Helpcoins virtual point system currency wants to redefine the way trust is perceived in the online world. Another issue of more specific nature is the fact that people could mistake the mission and function of Heeeelp.me with that of Charity. Despite our willingness to reinforce people to do good, the overall concept should not be perceived as charity as there are services and rewards that the users can give in return. There is a win-win situation for every person involved and this aims at giving a boost to motivation for helping out each other.
What are the next steps for your startup?
Currently, we are getting in touch and doing strategic partnerships with Organizations for Social Good, Travel networks, Startup Communities and NGO’s all around the world, and we are looking forward to launching our beta platform.
We also trying to spread the word by attending conferences and events in order to connect with entrepreneurs and mentors and get useful feedback for the future development of our services. We are also looking forward to making our platform available to more than one language in a short period of time and find local partners from other countries affected by the recession with high unemployment rates, such as Greece, for which we know that a tool like Heeeelp.me could be very useful. Finally, we are putting out an open call for brands that are willing to support real stories from around the world.
What are some of the lessons you would like to share with other entrepreneurs?
First of all, entrepreneurs have to think about how they can create real impact on other people’s life and not just focusing on a $1 Billion exit. It’s our responsibility to build sustainable companies that will create jobs and will benefit communities. For crazy ideas, like ours, you have to learn how to really listen to other people’s problems, believe in your team and of course, the most important element is commitment, commitment, commitment!