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Tech titans lob $25m at 'social' business Change.org

Social activism platform raises cash from Bill Gates, Reid Hoffman and more

By Brid-Aine Parnell, 9 Dec 2014

Petition platform Change.org has raised $25m from a range of tech luminaries, including Bill Gates and Twitter co-founder Evan Williams.

The website, which calls itself a “social enterprise” but is not a non-profit, said it had raised the funds to help mobile development of the site and help users to create more localised campaigns.

It also claimed it would use the millions to get elected government officials to engage with the people who are petitioning them.

“Change.org has proven that ordinary people have extraordinary power, with over 30 million people around the globe participating in at least one winning campaign,” COO Jennifer Dulski boasted.

“With this new investment, we’ll be entering the next phase of scaling the product, making it easy for people to take immediate action based on their location and the causes they care about, and directly engage with the businesses and governments that serve them.”

Although the site is devoted to social activism, it’s not a non-profit or a charity, it describes itself as one of a “new class of companies dedicated to positive impact”.

The firm has already had a $15m funding round a year ago, led by the Omidyar Network, a philanthropic investment firm set up by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar.

This time around, Change.org has received investment cash from LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang, entrepreneur Richard Branson and A-Grade Investments, the venture capital firm founded by actor Ashton Kutcher.

Change.org told The Reg that it wasn’t a profitable company yet, but it was aiming to be one day.

“We don’t know exactly when we might reach profitability, but we are committed to continue to build revenue in a way that sustains our growing platform and global team,” a spokesperson said by email.

“Since last year, we’ve seen a tripling of our client base; five hundred of the world’s leading NGOs and political organisations in a dozen countries now use regularly use Change.org to connect with new supporters.” ®

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