06 5 / 2013
And The Winner of the Jamie Oliver Competition is…
They came. They clicked. They donated — a lot! But only one of the many thousands who entered our Jamie Oliver cooking-lesson contest can claim the title of winner: Annie Fenech of Perth, Australia!
Annie, who works in real estate, and her very lucky partner, Robbie Robertson, will be flying to London for their Food Revolution Day (May 17, 2013) visit with the celebrity chef, whose Prizeo campaign raised more than $180,000 to benefit his food-education charities in the U.S., UK and Australia.
“The Good Foundation embraces simple, delicious cooking skills,” says Annie of Jamie’s Australian organization, “which allows people to fall in love with food and teach each other, with a view to spreading the word and creating heartfelt bonds.
“I’m very excited to meet Jamie,” she continues. “He is my culinary inspiration and taught me to love creating food — even when I stuff it up!” (Editor’s note: That’s Oz-speak for not quite mastering a recipe!)
The participant with the distinction of donating the most dough? Shalene Koster from Rotterdam, the Netherlands, who gladly gave 1500 Euros (about $2000) to the cause.
“I would rather support the Food Revolution than spend the money after it’s too late on cancer and diabetes foundations,” Shalene tells us. “So much needs to change.” But thanks to Jamie, some things already have. she says. “I grew up in Texas — one of the fattest states — with my mom and three siblings. We opened a lot of cans, ate a lot of crappy school lunches and never learned to cook. I wish we’d had Jamie then.”
Dr. Yoni Freedhoff of Ottawa, Canada, will be receiving a Jamie Oliver goody bag for being the person who shared the campaign the most online — and getting 41 of his friends to donate!
Of the 87 different countries from which the donors hailed, Australia contributed the most cash, while Jamie’s home country, the UK, can claim the most entrants.
Jamie himself couldn’t be more thrilled with the outcome: “I absolutely can’t wait to meet the winner and share my kitchen with them. Thank you to everyone who entered and helped raise an amazing amount for the foundation!”
We at Prizeo echo those thoughts and words, and also want to thank you, Jamie, for inspiring us and making the world a better place, one meal at a time.
01 5 / 2013
Presenting… Samuel L. Jackson!
Whether you liked him best as Jules from Pulp Fiction, Mace Windu from the second coming of Star Wars, Nick Fury in The Avengers or the guy who got gobbled up by a shark in Deep Blue Sea, one thing’s for sure: Everyone loves Samuel L. Jackson. This Hollywood veteran, usually seen off-camera sporting his Kangol hat, just oozes cool.
So who wouldn’t relish the chance to meet the man in the flesh and ask him to repeat such memorable lines as, “I’ve had it with these motherBLEEPIN’ snakes on this motherBLEEPIN’ plane!”
Nope, can’t say we can think of a single person either!
Well, we at Prizeo specialize in making dreams come true. (Just ask the winners of our JLS contest!) Help Jackson fight Alzheimer’s by donating just three bucks (three Pounds if you’re in the UK) to his Prizeo campaign, and you’ll be entered into a raffle to win a weekend in England with Jackson and his celebrity friends at the actor’s annual Shooting Stars golf benefit sponsored by Affinity Real Estate.
Here’s the deal: We’ll put up the winner and a friend at The Grove, a five-star London luxury hotel. (If you’re from outside the UK, we’ll fly you in too.) While there, you’ll get to have lunch with Jackson and attend the benefit’s star-studded closing-night gala.
Not bad for a few dollars’ donation to the Alzheimer’s Assocation, eh? Although, a larger contribution will get you anything from a personally-signed authograph to a signed Kangol hat!
The campaign kicked off on April 30, but it only goes until June 3, so hurry and enter here: prizeo.com/samuel. Good luck!
27 3 / 2013
Y Combinator – lessons learned
By the time this is posted, Demo Day (26th March) at Y Combinator (an American seed funding accelerator founded in 2005), recognized by Forbes as the most valuable start-up incubator globally, will have passed, and the company I am COO for, Prizeo, will have graduated - so now seems an apt time for reflection… Accelerator programs: The received wisdom:
- They’re a pressure cooker: There’s a reason you only get 3 months when all companies would most probably like more for the experience. The environment spurs its cohort to test more, discover more and grow more in the short space of time to extract every bit of value they can. You don’t sleep much, but you do come away feeling as though you’ve moved the dial on your business more than you thought imaginable at the start.
- Impressive network: Participants get access to mailing lists of previous alumni and other founders who very actively mentor and support. You have your current class, striving towards their own goal of success and that’s the most powerful sounding board you can have. Legendary introductions to the great and the good of the tech world are made at the drop of a hat by YC partners when it’s right - and what follows is up to the initiative of the company. At Prizeo - we are proud that we will work with Paul Graham himself on a campaign after Demo Day.
- The Brand seal of approval (and the potential investment which follows): The Y Combinator orange and white logo drives immense global credibility to start-ups, improving valuations and markedly improving visibility to the top tier VC community, tech press mafia coverage and hunt for talent.
- The Expertise: The precious office hours - Founder Paul Graham, fellow Y Combinator founders other partners, as well as lawyers, accountants and product experts, give insightful, and frank advice based on having seen most of the key pitfalls before. Then there are the weekly dinners, where speakers include industry titans like Mark Zuckerberg and YC alum such as Alexis Ohanian from Reddit sitting around a table with the group speaking off-the-record.
What we have learned: Maximise the opportunity: I can only speak from Prizeo’s experience, but we felt an invisible force pushing us forward at high speed and urgency requiring the need to stay focused. In our case, we wanted to get charities, celebrities, brands and partners bought in and on-board whilst you are participating in this amazing program. Be clear what business you are trying to grow: You should not look to join an accelerator (and hand over the equity they ask for) unless all the team are confident you have a strong enough sense of your basic product, the customers and partners you wish to work with, and knowledge of competitors, market and potential size of the prize to act as parameters when decisions are made. Pivots are normal, but they should still be directional. It’s not a standard learning environment: Know your goals - snap decisions immediately impact operations; huge amounts of rapid product iteration occur, and gut instinct about the best direction to take are challenged. Bottom line - do not join an accelerator until you know what you’re trying to achieve and you’re ready to make decisions based on incomplete, often conflicting advice and information from people you respect - that takes courage and conviction. But once you do - make sure you to take the leap of faith in what you’re being offered, because they are designed to be game changing, and with the right chain of events, they might just be.
Lucy Cooper, Prizeo COO, for The Huffington Post Blog
18 2 / 2013
Some New Arrivals!
Y Combinator has been, and continues to be a complete whirlwind – but we’d love to take this opportunity to welcome on board some fantastic new recruits:
Joining us as our new CMO is Bobby Maylack – previously Head of Partnerships at the Everest app. Ever the evangelist, Bobby has already been working his magic – spreading the word of Prizeo far and wide and forming some exciting new partnerships and opportunities! Bobby is going to be manning our LA “office” and we’re super excited to have him on board.
We’re also proud to be working with Lane Wood. Lane has previously worked as Director of Social Innovation at Warby Parker (pioneering their buy-a-pair, give-a-pair model) and “Curator of The Well” at the inspirational charity : water. Lane will be working with Prizeo to make sure we’re at the forefront of social innovation, and always fulfilling our potential to do a whole lot of good!
Last but not least, we’re very pleased to welcome the wonderful Lori Majewski to the team. Lori is the founder of Teen People magazine, as well as former executive editor of Us Weekly and Entertainment Weekly, and former editor-in-chief of DoSomething.org. Lori is an expert on all things celebrity/philanthropy and popular culture, and we’re so excited to be working with her. A big thank you to Nancy Lublin – CEO of DoSomething.org and Prizeo advisor – for finding us this gem!
15 2 / 2013
Start Up CEOs: Would You Take Money From Britney or Ashton?
A colleague of mine is at The Founders Forum in LA this week. He’s sending annoying photo’s of all the cool people he’s meeting. Will.i.am, Dynamo, Natalia Vodianova. But, I hear you saying – he’s at a tech conference?
Why are celebrities interested in tech? It’s sexy (subjective I guess, but I’m a nerd), it’s fun, it’s important, it helps them extend their brand – and not to be sniffed at – it’s an important part of any high net worth’s investment portfolio. However, like any investor, some celebrities are pioneers and others are followers.
One such pioneer is Will.i.am; this article documents his work well; he is a champion of STEM (science, technology, engineering, maths) education, has a foundation – i.am.angel, has worked with NASA to engage young people in space exploration, owns i.am.auto (a car company) and has a partnership with Coca-Cola called Ekocycle. Oh – and he’s a director of creative innovation at Intel.
Wikipedia defines a technology evangelist as “a person who attempts to build a critical mass of support for a given technology in order to establish it as a technical standard in a market that is subject to network effects.”
Britney Spears is an evangelist for Path, Kutcher’s A-Grade Fund – co-founded by Los Angeles billionaire Ron Burkle, and Madonna’s manager, Guy Oseary, has invested in an A-list of hot startups, Snoop Dog (or is it Lion nowadays?), Justin Timberlake, Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga (through Atom Factory) – they’re all doing it. Why? There’s the opportunity to affect a vast number of lives and see a multiplier effect on your investments quickly. But Spears also told an Atlanta newspaper ”Social media has changed the music industry. For the first time ever, artists can directly communicate with their fans. Technology touches every aspect of my career right now.” So in the same way as established companies are investing to get a grip on the whole value chain environment in which they operate and which affects them, celebrities are doing the same with their own value chain or network – and it all seems to start at technology, and its business – don’t forget. Continued here
Lucy Cooper, COO of Prizeo and WEF Global Shaper, originally posted on The Huffington Post blog
08 2 / 2013
Kid President – A Lesson in Courage, Compassion and Ultimately Identity
Have you seen the video from Kid President (♯kidpresident ♯awesomeyear)? No? Then you need to fire up your YouTube before you read further (find video here). His courage and compassion, as well as the fact that at so young an age he can leverage social media to formulate his opinions better than most people I know, is truly admirable. What makes it more so is the fact that he is fundraising for what I assume to be a very young friend with cancer.
The online community is a brilliant enabler for young people today to have a voice and share their world in a way never before possible. But there are downsides; they can end up being pushed and pulled in numerous directions on a daily basis. Outside of the online environment, the flow of information is so vast that teenagers feel judged, isolated and feel the desperate need to conform. True, this is not a new feeling, but the exposure to these opinions and pressures are exponentially more potent and public than in previous years (Walker-Smith says we’ve gone from being exposed to about 500 ads a day back in the 1970s to as many as 5,000 a day today).
Our grandparents generation had time to breath, to learn and to listen to themselves, even to be bored, whereas today our life is filled with constant chatter. The philosopher Eckhart Tolle describes oneself and the link to continuous and often overwhelming narrative:
It is when we identify with this inner chatter, when we come to think of it as us – that the thinking becomes compulsive… Not being able to stop thinking is a dreadful affliction but we don’t realise this because almost everybody is suffering from it. So it’s considered normal.
As I near my 30s, I look back on my teen years, and my 20s so far, with incredibly fond memories. But I also found it extremely difficult to get over insecurity, self-confidence and self-esteem challenges. I was often unable to shut out the constant chatter and would place its significance above my own. I was a ‘comparer’ and I am only just now gaining enough confidence to share my own voice (this blog being case-in-point). Of course, not everyone will find they have the same challenges as me, but I think more can be done to support those who do – the world is open – physical and virtual boundaries are blurring. News from thousands of miles away is relayed in minutes, and travel is limitless. Continued here.
Lucy Cooper, COO of Prizeo and WEF Global Shaper, originally posted on The Huffington Post blog
28 1 / 2013
Entrepreneurship in Education
In the last 18 months, I have moved from world-dominating management consulting (where I trained as a graduate), to a world-leading publishing house, to a Y Combinator start-up. What has struck me most, as I sit for the first time and reflect, is the utterly different learning experiences one receives from the two ends of this spectrum, and I cannot help but feeling urged to bring a call to action to engage entrepreneurship much more in education.
Granted, this may be a UK-focused dilemma, but that just means there is all the more opportunity to learn. It is known we fall behind our European and American counterparts in terms of cultivating SMEs, and as Davos wreaks havoc on the Swiss Mountains this week, one wonders how many of those entrepreneurial voices are going unheard in favour of the standard and the established. Don’t get me wrong – I have nothing but respect for MNCs who operate with agility, speed and performance, but I wonder how we, as a generation and a nation, can do more to encourage young people to take the first step into start-ups rather than the safety and security of a graduate placement in a big firm.
Part of the problem may be solved naturally as a new army of youths are cultivated – truly global, completely tech-savvy and more aware of the pros and cons of social media, virality and brand than any single group before them. In the UK, however, there is a large gap between the provision of angel and VC investment, meaning (and of course it’s very nature) the start-up and SME industry remains vulnerable to talent shortages at entry level – despite the efforts of some, such as Profounders Capital, to take a largely entrepreneurial approach to their suite of successful investment. The financial crisis has brought with it a message to youths to batten down the hatches, find a safe spot and ride out the storm, but from my short experience, I cannot help but be aware that the true pioneers, innovators, curers and disrupters exist not so much in the safe, established industry of the professional services – law, finance (and numerous others) – but on the periphery – in companies which are trying to deliver a product to service a challenge, new focus, or gap in the market that has barely begun to exist. We have looked to the steadfast institutions to lead the way in these difficult times, and yet if every SME in Europe had taken on one more employee at the height of the financial crisis – they would have eradicated the 30 million unemployed we saw out on the job hunt. Continued here.
Lucy Cooper, COO of Prizeo and WEF Global Shaper, originally posted on The Huffington Post blog
28 12 / 2012
We’re going to Y Combinator!
We’re absolutely thrilled to have been accepted into Silicon Valley tech start-up incubator Y Combinator – “the most prestigious program for budding digital entrepreneurs” according to Wired magazine. We’re going to be following in the footsteps of hugely successful YC alums including Reddit, Stripe, Dropbox and Airbnb – and we couldn’t be more excited. Obviously this means that we’re going to widening our focus to the US market quite a bit sooner than we’d anticipated, but we already have some very exciting plans in place on both sides of the pond – and will be flying all over the place to bring these to fruition. The co-founders are going to be moving out to Mountain View next week, but we’re still going to maintain a presence in the UK where we’ve already garnered a huge amount of interest in what we’re doing and have planned. Wish us luck and stay tuned for big things!
– Team Prizeo
20 11 / 2012
Prizeo launches beta with Stephen Fry and Mind charity
From the very moment the Prizeo concept was conceived, we had no doubt of who would be our ideal launch partner. Of all the notable individuals in the UK, we couldn’t (and still can’t) think of anyone else that better represents what Prizeo stands for. Stephen is philanthropically minded, tech-savvy, and an overall force for good. We’re thoroughly honoured that someone as influential and respected as Stephen has chosen to launch our platform, and we hope that this is a testament to the impact Prizeo can have on a national and global scale.
We’re also particularly pleased that Stephen has chosen to support Mind – a cause that’s particularly close to our hearts here at Prizeo. Our society is beginning to view the issue of mental health in the serious light it deserves, and we’re proud to be able to offer Stephen a platform from which to help further destigmatise mental health problems.
But this is only the beginning. Prizeo is building a network of celebrities and high-profile individuals who are passionate about a cause, and a community of donors who seek to make a real difference in a fun and rewarding way.
Thank you for helping us in our journey.
– Prizeo team
15 10 / 2012
Think big, in a small way
At Prizeo, we believe that micro-philanthropy is the future of fundraising. Distressing new Charity Aid Foundation figures show that individual charitable giving has fallen a record 20% over the past year – and we feel we’ve come up with a solution that will give the sector the shake up it needs, by truly incentivizing the public to give. We’ve made it our mission to get away from the old-world assumption that giving should be left to the rich, and have instead devised a model that encourages more people to give small amounts more regularly, in an exciting and rewarding way. Celebrities are a fantastic vehicle to encourage this sort of activity – and we’ll be working with high profile individuals from every corner of the industry to rally their fans and networks to make a real difference!
We are always open to suggestions on how we can improve our model. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any suggestions!
The Prizeo Team
P.S. Stay tuned! We will continue writing blog posts about our story and how and why we decided to launch Prizeo. It’s been a long journey, but we are finally here and we’re happy to have you here with us.