Prior to the foundation of Active Giving GmbH co-founder, Laurent Petit, launched the initiative as a social media campaign as a way to give back while following his passion. Here is his story on how the idea came about….
“As the founder of Berlin’s Urban Art Run I continuously think of new ways to keep my community active. My drive to bring people together plus the time I spent working on my own fitness goals had me thinking, I also wanted others to benefit from all the work I was putting into myself. At the same time I realized how difficult it is to ask for money while I was fundraising for a non-profit on a solo bike tour across Europe. I wondered if it was possible to donate time and effort, rather than their money.
Throughout my training I realized that I use a ton of different fitness apps on a regular basis and that these apps generate data to help me reach my goals. The experience made me wonder whether or not the data could be used to have a positive impact. I then questioned if others would also be interested in using their fitness data to support a good cause.
Using my background in marketing and communications I decided to turn to Instagram to help me find the answers. It was at this point that I created Active Giving. The Instagram account helped me validate my idea while allowing me to engage people in new ways and develop a strong community. I asked users to share their fitness activities and tag @active.giving. I then made a donation to a non-profit and rewarded each person with a proportional number of trees for their efforts.
One person in particular loved the idea and tagged Active Giving every time he went for a run. The guy’s name was Till Harnos and he ended up becoming my co-founder. A few weeks later the two of us and three others took two tandem bikes, a lot of food and water on a non-stop journey from Berlin to Dresden. Our goal was to raise money for a good cause. For us, the event was a first hand experience at how difficult it was to get people to support an environmental cause through sports. Afterwards, Till and I continued to brainstorm how we could do this more efficiently.
Shortly after the Berlin-Dresden adventure I decided to participate in a Techstars Startup Weekend where I further developed the idea of Active Giving. At the end of the weekend we were asked to pitch our idea to a panel of judges who would select the top three ideas of the competition. To my surprise, Active Giving won first place and from that moment on, I was confident the idea had the potential to change the world.
At this point I immediately knew that I needed to find a team and make Active Giving a real business. After the event one of the judges met with me to share feedback on Active Giving and how much potential she believed the idea had. The judge’s name was Brittany Salas and she ended up becoming my co-founder.
After spending nearly a year growing the Active Giving community on social media I am beyond grateful for the chance to turn the campaign into a business with the Active Giving fitness app. Seeing awesome people like Till and Brittany join my side to launch this venture has already been an amazing experience and it’s just the beginning!”
We are excited to bring you a solution for people like us, active and adventurous humans that want to leave the world better than they found it. We can’t wait to see the exponential growth of a community that not only wants to make themselves healthier but also those around them and the planet we live on. Let’s do this!