Josh is the Founder & President of selfless.ly. Across every industry, there has been an increase in consumers, prospective employees, and investors that want to know how companies give back to their community. Corporate Social Responsibility, or CSR, is becoming more commonplace to help with marketing, employee recruiting/engagement, and is frequently used as a benefit - much like a 401k. Selfless.ly is an innovated program that can essentially be a, "CSR program in a box" that manages and tracks donations, grants, and employee matches plus a personalized list of volunteer opportunities to track hours - at a low price to help businesses of all sizes to be able to implement a CSR program no matter the size of a business.
More about Josh:
1. What is your professional background?
I have been involved in volunteer programs for various non-profits since I was in middle school. I've always been hardwired to give back as much as you can, when you can. Previously, I ran for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Man of the Year campaign and raised $42,000 within 10 days. Back in 2015, I launched Open for Service to help fix the perception of Hoosiers after the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). I am the Founder and President of Open for Service, which has raised $30,000 for SCORE.org, and our directory, in partner with Salesforce, includes all types of inclusion-based data to make people feel safe when choosing where to shop/eat/live/work/play.
I've been involved with tech startups since 2008. Most were companies I came into to evolve into a SaaS platform and now I currently work for a government contractor that maintains the IN.gov websites and builds new technologies to help different agencies.
2. What is the mission of selfless.ly?
The mission of selfless.ly is to help get more kind-minded businesses to be more involved with their community. First, we are developing the core platform that will allow businesses of all sizes to register and begin, but future versions will include intelligence to connect people with causes they care about and start rethinking what philanthropy looks like in the future.
3. What inspired you to start selfless.ly?
After years of growing a new non-profit, I've started to understand the significant gaps that exist with getting people to serve, and to find beneficial partnerships with for-profit companies. I really wanted to build something that makes it easier for people to be more kind, hopefully promote the B-Crop status we have and influence more companies to become one, and also demonstrate our strong belief in diversity by making sure we are respectful of the needs of different backgrounds.
4. How is selfless.ly different from other philanthropy platforms?
Selfless.ly is different because we want to be an all-in-one solution that can self-maintain on behalf of a company that does not have a resource to build it out themselves. We also are working with several partners to make it easy to use and continue to engage throughout the year. What I do feel makes us really stand out is our extreme authenticity to make the world a better place. We feel that we need to not only build technology, but also teach our clients how to do more for others.
5. What is the biggest challenge with starting up your business?
Time and money! I currently work two full-time jobs so it's difficult to make the progress I would really like.
6. Tell me about a recent setback and how you recovered.
Recently, there was another entity that wanted to take my idea and run with it on their own. It was really frustrating. I recovered because I truly want this platform to help motivate more volunteer hours been used and more donations being matched. This platform is not being built as a quick exit - it's being built to help our community! This is not necessarily what I feel is the intention of the other entity, so I knew that if I were to join them - I would not be happy.
7. Who or what has helped you build this business along the way?
The amazing Startup Ladies community has motivated me to take this risk and be excited about doing something new. I have had the honor of having Kristen in my life for almost 3 years now, and it's people like her that inspire me to do this.
8. What are your plans for growth over the next year?
I am currently looking for a Co-Founder and finishing up a premium prototype and MVP to start gathering feedback on the system. We'll continue our work with the City of Indianapolis and Keep Indianapolis Beautiful and innovate and help them. Ideally, I would like to find funding from a great, conscious firm that believes in us.
9. What question(s) do you keep asking yourself as your company grows?
Am I being authentic? Am I ready to take this on? How can I build this platform in a more inclusive way to teach others how easy it is to build a platform for all?
10. How have The Startup Ladies helped you grow?
First of all, I am very much honored and thankful that the Startup Ladies have allowed me in! I feel safe in talking with everyone about my businesses in a non-judgmental environment. I also feel that the transparency and energy that Kristen provides is wonderful. It's nice to feel like I am part of the "startup family".
Connect: LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/joshuadriver