And it’s received support from tech giants Google and Atlassian.
Humanitix is the world’s first not-for-profit ticketing platform to redirect 100 per cent of its profits to solve problems around education and poverty.
Profits taken from booking fees have recently funded Indigenous scholarships and meals for disadvantaged children, and tickets from a single match organised by Football Federation Australia paid for two years of girls’ education programs.
“It’s a charity, but it runs like a tech company,” says chief growth officer Adam Long. “Instead of us existing to generate profits for shareholders, our shareholders are essentially the children who can benefit from education projects we fund.”
“We run like a commercial organisation and grow fast like a tech company, we’re just doing it all for charity instead of shareholders.”
The platform is growing fast and has donated more than $300,000 to date.
“We’ve currently got about 2000 events listed on our platform. A couple weeks ago it was 1500, a month ago it was 1000,” says Long. “The rate at which we’re growing is absolutely massive.”
Humanitix’s increasing reach can be attributed in part to funding from Google. The ticketing platform won Google’s Impact Challenge competition in 2018 and received more than $1 million in funding as a result. It’s also received funding from the Atlassian Foundation and a number of private investors.
Big-name clients such as the Grounds of Alexandria, Australian Parliament House, UN Women and Football Federation Australia have helped Humanitix sell event tickets to more than one million people in the past 12 months. Long says a logical next step is to expand overseas.
“Our mission is to make every ticket count. We eventually want every event that’s run globally to make the world a better place,” he says. “The US is going to be a big priority for us and we’ve got some partners lining up over there to help with that.”
Humanitix was created three years ago by Joshua Ross and Adam McCurdie. The pair left lucrative corporate jobs in search of a career with meaningful social impact.
“They basically sat down and said, ‘We need to change the world, how can we have the biggest impact?’” says Long. “With all the problems going on in the world, they realised education was the best ticket to opportunity.”
Ross and McCurdie realised they could make a significant difference by tapping into lucrative markets that already existed.
“They thought about starting a traditional charity and raising funds for it, before realising they could have a bigger impact if they utilised the billions of dollars in booking fees that change hands every year,” says Long. “It’s a way to have a much bigger impact.”
Long offers some advice for charities that want to operate as a social enterprise.
“Organisations that want to look at a social-enterprise model should bake their impact into their very business so that their incentives are always aligned. This means when they do well, they have more impact.”
If you’re looking to start a tech charity, Long says patience can take you a long way.
“It always takes longer than people think. It took years of hard work to get to this point,” says Long. “Adam and Josh left comfortable corporate jobs and all of a sudden they’re working out of a garage, not getting paid for two years while their friends are getting mortgages and getting promoted. That’s a really hard thing to watch.
“[Now] Google is writing them cheques for $1 million, so it’s really exciting to see what the future holds.”