DonoBot is a multidimensional, personalised charity platform, set up in Estonia.
The firm is a unique peer-to-peer (P2P) donation platform and combines different approaches and services for donors, donees and small charities. DonoBot focuses on medical conditions like diseases, accidents, hereditary conditions or situations that arise from the former. Estonian World spoke with Mai-Liis Kivistik from the company about the idea and why this is the right time for it.
How did the idea of launching your startup come about?
DonoBot was founded in August 2014 as a crowdfunding donations platform. Our aim is to change the human act of giving and receiving help, by providing a transparent, direct way to do charity with customised services enabled by technology.
The idea of DonoBot emerged from the observation that in our developed societies the fate of a single individual does not always matter.
Many people with severe health issues become unable to help themselves and face difficult financial conditions because of unpredictable costs. Despite largely developed health systems, appropriate medical insurance coverage is not provided in every part of the world. Medical needs after initial treatment often become more expensive with time. Disease implications to family and personal environment are often not covered.
People in need want to feel that other people “care” about their fate, and therefore would openly share their cases in order to become part of a caring community. These individuals appreciate support in all forms, and will accept and value it.
Doing good means for most people the act of donating to large, charitable organisations with complex projects and often expensive overhead. For many people who want to do good, the lack of ability to see direct impact of the help provided, reduces their satisfaction and impairs the act of giving.
What is your business model?
DonoBot is a non-profit and we believe there is a lot of good people who are willing to support our good idea. Our platform gives people what we see is missing from the society. We are certain most people have a desire to give, but they prefer to know where their money is going to, what exactly can be achieved with their donation and how they contribute to make a difference in the life of the individual in need. DonoBot is here for them.
Could you briefly describe the founding team and their background?
The idea of DonoBot began to develop at the second half of 2013 but we launched this autumn. We are an international team of two founders – Martina Muttke and Joao Monteiro – and freelancers and pro-bono workers. Our small team has people from Estonia, Portugal, Switzerland, India and Iran.
How are your products priced?
Donobot is free to join for those who want to give and for the ones receiving help. Our only charge is 5% on the funds raised. Supporters always have the option to donate a little extra to cover the DonoBot development process. We will take over all costs incurring when you make donations via PayPal or with your credit card, therefore we’re grateful for any additional help to cover these costs and grow our DonoBot. We believe in fee transparency: don’t raise anything – don’t pay anything.
Have you had any support from the government?
Unfortunately, we do not get any support from anybody at the moment but we are constantly looking for it. The main reason is the fact that we need to pay all PayPal and credit card fees and develop our site.
How is your company different from other competing and similar platforms out there?
We believe there are millions of good people out there who want to help. That is the reason why we decided to build a people-to-people donations platform in the area of healthcare. Currently there is only one big successful site in the US that has the same model but our difference is that we are non-for profit site but they are a regular business. Our pilot market is Estonia but actually we are worldwide and you can already make a difference by helping fund a Christmas fundraiser for the Tallinn Children’s Hospital.
Cover: The founding team in Tallinn