Get to know We Make Change - Techstars Sustainability Paris Accelerator

Dec 05, 2023

Jens Christian Trier (COO) | James Sancto (CEO)

We Make Change makes impact easy. Our online platform enables anyone, anywhere to volunteer remotely with startups changing the world.

1.   Describe the problem/the industry that you are trying to mediate (and precise the UN SDG-s you are solving).

Have you ever wanted to make impact, but didn’t know how? We know the feeling. Despite living at a time when we can get almost anything with a click, it’s still so hard to make impact. That’s why although 90% of people want to volunteer, only 25% actually do. And while 73% of companies give employees volunteering time off, only 14% of it is actually used. While there are literally thousands of early-stage impact startups with solutions to the challenges the world faces today, who can’t afford the skills they need to scale.

We make impact easy by enabling anyone, anywhere to volunteer remotely with startups changing the world. Through our online platform simply choose your causes, skills, and schedule, and you can start making change in just 3 clicks. Companies make impact through our paid online volunteering events where colleagues connect, develop their skills, and make change in just a few hours. While impact startups can get whatever skills they need, whenever they need them for free.

We enable anyone to support the causes they care about by volunteering with startups covering each of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals. But at our core is Goal 17 (Partnerships For The Goals), as we are the connector between people with skills and impact startups who need them. 

2.   How did the idea to create the company come to mind? How did your team come to be?

We Make Change was founded in a flat in East London. James, our CEO, studied business at university and wanted to use entrepreneurial skills for good, but didn’t know how he could. So he tried countless volunteer platforms and couldn’t find opportunities that matched his causes, skills and schedule. While working as a consultant for impact startups, he saw they often can’t afford the skills they need to scale, so he quit his job to found We Make Change.

While our COO, Jens, studied international relations and politics and saw its limitations to making real change. While chairing Model United Nations conferences, he met young people from across the world who came together to discuss real world challenges and find solutions to them. He met James at one of these conferences, and together decided to address this challenge.

3.   Why did you choose to participate in the Paris Techstars accelerator program? What are you looking forward to the most?

We decided to participate in Techstars, firstly, out of a sense of urgency. We are the first generation that can end extreme poverty and the last that can address climate change. With the world facing so many challenges, change can’t wait. We believe that participating in the programme will accelerate our efforts to connect individuals, startups and companies across the world to achieve the UN SDGs by 2030.

Secondly, the time was right. Before Techstars, We Make Change had already grown a global community of volunteers, impact startups, and corporate partners. By gaining access to invaluable resources, mentorship, and a global network of experts, we were excited to have the opportunity to take We Make Change to the next level. 

4.   What are you the most proud of in your initial journey with your company?

Before Techstars, We Make Change has been entirely bootstrapped. Since launching our platform in 2020, we’ve grown from an idea to a movement of 35,000 volunteers supporting 1,200 impact startups in more than 100 countries across the world; while delivering our remote volunteering events to companies like PA Consulting, CSG, and Kimberly-Clark. Through this, we have already seen our impact startups go on to win The Earthshot Prize, do big funding rounds, and make significant impact.

We are so proud of what we’ve achieved so far, but know that we still have a long way to go if we’re going to achieve our vision of becoming the ‘App for Impact’ - the one place you know to go to make the change you want to see. We are excited to accelerate our journey there with the support of Techstars!

5.   How do you plan to measure the positive impact of your company in the next 5 years?

We measure our impact across our volunteers, impact startups, and the world. For volunteers, this includes the increased engagement, improved skills, and enhanced wellbeing that comes with volunteering. For impact startups, we measure the monetary value of the skills they receive from the volunteers who support them. As we grow, we aim to measure the impact our startups make - from reducing greenhouse gas emissions to lowering plastic pollution and so much more. 

With the aim that by 2030, we will have enabled 10 million people to volunteer 1% of their time to deliver $6tn of value, which is what the UN estimates is needed to achieve the SDGs.

For the latest news on our applications, please visit our page.