Interview with Luan Cox, Co-Founder of HelpersUnite

Helpers Unite

Crowd-funding is getting another big helping hand thanks to the ingenuity of one successful entrepreneur. Meet Luan Cox, Co-founder and CEO of ‘HelpersUnite’, a brand new, super fun, crowd-funding platform that helps you fund your projects whilst giving charitable causes a big boost.

Websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo have made big strides in online crowdsourcing, but HelpersUnite takes that community spirit one step further, becoming the world’s first creative and charitable crowdfunding platform combined.

Find out how you can benefit from the HelpersUnite platform and start making your film and creative projects a reality today.

Interview with Luan Cox

Iain: How did this journey start for you in terms of developing the concept and the website?

Luan: Over a year and a half ago, we started noticing the phenomenon of online crowdfunding just start to take root. Only a few sites were out there at the time and we noticed they were all doing great work in helping fund creative projects but it seemed there could be much more done.

When we took a step back and thought about how we could really make crowdfunding more impactful and even more powerful, we came up with HelpersUnite.com. We decided to create a platform that could do social and artistic “good” through empowering filmmakers, musicians, and entrepreneurs to help a charity in parallel with making their dream happen.

It was critical for us to build our own proprietary platform as we had to create dual processing capabilities in real-time (charity donations and donations to project creators) along with linking projects with charities and events, which took deeper thought and careful thinking in terms of site and platform design.

Iain: How does HelpersUnite differentiate from other crowd-funding websites?

Luan: We are the first and only “Crowd Karma” (creative plus charitable) funding platform. This term was recently coined by writer Shawn Graham as “the collective desire of groups of people to come together to help enrich their communities.” We think this is spot on.
Project Creators are required (versus prohibited as they are on Kickstarter) to align themselves with a charity for which to raise money alongside their own endeavor. Our platform facilitates both the donation to the creator and the tax deductible donation to the charity. Additionally, we have built an entire online ticketing component that allows artists to pre-sell tickets to movie screenings or shows and to also choose to donate a portion of those proceeds.

Iain: What can creative people accomplish by putting their projects on your site?

Luan: First and foremost, they get another “evangelist” in the charity. For every project that launches we make every effort to let the charity know that an artist has chosen to help them and that creates a synergistic relationship between artist and charity that may not have existed before.
Also, we think it’s pretty interesting that we attract a type of “Creator” who is looking to fund their lifelong dream project along with helping the greater good. The fact that an artist has chosen the only platform in the world that doesn’t suggest they help another rather, requires a charity be selected says a lot about who that artist is as an individual. Crowdfunding is hard work, these artists reach out to friends, family and followers to help support their dream and we think it’s quite outstanding that they are asking that same network to help the world along with them.
Additionally, we in turn attract a loyal user base interested in more than just donating to their favorite artist’s project but also supporting a charity that the artist thought was important. Over time, our hope is that this user base might return to HelpersUnite.com in order to support other artists who have linked themselves to a cause.
With HelpersUnite.com, our vision is to help artists extend their impact on a potentially global scale. By sharing a portion of their raised funds, not only do they literally ‘pay it forward’ immediately, but they also gain a potential partner in (the charity) in the process. We’ve had tremendous positive feedback, both from the creative and non-profit communities, on this aspect of the platform.

Helpers Unite

Iain: Where would you like to take the platform in the future?

Luan: Our passionate goal for the future is to continue to build out flexible technology that resides on every relevant site in the world with a common goal of making it easier for either investors or donors to find information and analytics on projects, start-ups and charitable initiatives that match their ideals.

Iain: Are there people that inspired you to undertake this journey?

Luan: Other than our families, we were inspired by all of our early supporters. Film projects like Computer Potato by Todd Kipp (who had been turned down for six grants even though he has a short film, Blue Eyed Boy, on the festival circuit) and charities who couldn’t wait to help the creative community like Wells Bring Hope and Burma Relief (who Morgan Spurlock supports). These and all of the selfless and talented filmmakers and artists in the world who have reached out to us saying what we are doing is amazing gets us through our days with a smile.

Iain: If you could have anyone promoting a cause on HelpersUnite, who would it be?

Luan: We love this question and had no idea how hard it would be to answer but after much debate, we all hands-down settled on Drew Barrymore.

The commitment and passion she has shown in her philanthropic work plus her entrepreneurial spirit is exactly what we’re about. Feel free to give Drew our contact information (LUAN: Let’s out big yet secretly hopeful laugh).

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