Microsoft, Yahoo, Twitter, eBay, LinkedIn Co-founders Invest $25M in Change.org

(3BL Media/Justmeans) – The petitions website, Change.org, empowers people globally by allowing them to create online petitions to press upon businesses and governments to act on issues that impact the society. Among the startups in Silicon Valley, Change.org commands a reputation of being a mission-driven organization, despite being a for-profit company.

A host of technology billionaires have now come together to invest $25 million in Change.org to support its expansion. This is a unique occurrence where a number of leading tech luminaries have joined hands to effectively perform the work of a traditional venture capital firm, and started a new trend in how Silicon Valley companies are financed.

In all, two dozen investors, including Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang, Twitter co-founder Evan Williams, eBay co-founder Pierre M. Omidyar, LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, and Virgin Group chairman Richard Branson have contributed $250,000 to a few million dollars each.

Change.org’s chief executive, Ben Rattray, said that instead of simply raising funds from a single institution, they have involved a group of people who are passionate about the mission of Change.org and who the company can turn to for advice when needed.

The new funding will be employed to expand the company’s engineering team, invest in mobile development and expand a tool that allows the businesses and politicians who are the targets of petitions to engage with users. The company’s vision is to build a world where elected representatives are able to effectively connect with their constituents at scale.

One of the campaigns launched at Change.org called upon large agribusinesses to “stop bullying sustainable food companies.” The petition received support from more than 100,000 users in less than a month. Over 80 million people around the world are using Change.org website. This year, a petition to spare a Christian Sudanese woman from being executed garnered more than a million supporters. The woman was eventually freed this summer.

Source: The Economic Times

Image Credit: Flickr via Nanagyei