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What Your Donations Meant to Teachers Last School Year

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As a DonorsChoose supporter, you know that teachers face challenges every school year, whether they are missing basic classroom supplies or trying to go above and beyond for their students. Since the Coronavirus pandemic began, teachers have faced even bigger challenges: Closed schools, teaching from afar, and getting essential learning tools to students scattered across a neighborhood, a county, or even further afield. As teachers rose to these new challenges, the DonorsChoose community showed up to support them.

And, as usual, teachers shared their gratitude — and their notes and photos are equal parts inspiring and heartwarming. We’ve chosen a few of our favorites; Multiply the notes below by a few hundred thousand and you’ll have a picture of what your donations meant to teachers this year.

You made sure students could keep learning

“Thank you for providing my students with the opportunity to read at home. Being able to provide my students with books is something that is extremely important to me. I grew up with a very large family and buying us books was simply something my parents could not afford to do for us. It meant a lot to me to be able to do this for them with your help!”   — Ms. Gutierrez

Thank you donors, for your generosity and your support of this most outstanding program. It has meant so much to me, but most importantly, to my students and their families. Just this past week, the personalized and customized packages have been arriving at their homes, delivered safe and sound. The responses I’ve received back are just so heartwarming. Kids are thrilled, it’s lifted their spirits, it’s made them motivated to continue reading and learning, and to continue moving forward at this very challenging time. – Ms. Jennifer

“You made this all possible! Because of you and your generous donors, there is a family of four who are able to fill their bellies and sleep at night. You just never know the chain reaction of generosity you set off or of those that you truly impact at the end of the day. This is why I decided to write to you and I can only hope that you share this story with those responsible. You, Donors Choose, have spread the message of love, generosity, compassion, and empathy for one another. Thank you for inspiring me to be more” — Ms. Waugh-Reed 

You made some kids VERY excited

“My own whiteboard? I can keep it? I have always wanted my own whiteboard!”  –  Aaron, a first grader

“Learning is hard during quarantine, but this helps a lot! I like that you can do so many different experiments. Thank you for the science kit!” – Evan, a fourth grader

“He came home and showed his dogs everything you gave him!” – The parent of Tristen,  a first grader

“I wish I could give every person that donated these materials and books to me a hug. They don’t even know me and they are helping me learn. Thank you whoever you are!” – Taveon, a fourth grader

You generated thousands of “thank yous”


Teachers are getting ready for another uncertain school year, and we’re ready to support them. Take a look at the new projects teachers are working on, and we’ll see you when school starts with more ideas to keep the gratitude cycle flowing!

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Source: https://www.donorschoose.org/blog/what-your-donations-meant-to-teachers/

Crowdfunding

Rnwl: The First Over-the-Top Insurance Platform

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When investing, your capital is at risk.

The insurance sector is expected to be one of the largest areas ripe for disruption within the financial services industry in the next few years. The value of that potential revenue opportunity? A whopping £50 billion, according to PWC.

Challengers have swept through the finance industry in recent years, but change has been slower to take place in insurance. Like their challenger counterparts, insurance companies will need to provide consumers with access to better insights for clearer decision-making, better customer service, transparent and efficient innovations and personalised offerings in order to acquire market share in a rapidly modernising space. Some companies are already doing all of these, and Rnwl is one of them

“The process of buying and managing insurance is broken – the industry is focused on selling products, not in serving customers” says founder of Rnwl and SyndicateRoom, Goncalo de Vasconcelos. “It’s only a matter of time before we look back at the traditional insurance market and wonder how we ever accepted that as the norm.”

In creating Rnwl, De Vasconcelos has a vision for the world’s very first over-the-top insurance platform. Rnwl has attracted a brilliant core team, with decades of experience in AI, machine learning and financial services to bring long overdue change to the insurance market. With the needs of the customer at its heart, Rnwl is on a mission to make it easier for consumers to manage their insurance policies, find the best possible coverage for the best price, and avoid spending hours renegotiating and renewing every year. 

As it stands, the traditional insurance market relies on a lead generation business model that is archaic and inefficient, which makes consumers’ insurance more expensive. When switching providers is a hassle, people don’t, and they pay the price for that in the long run. Rnwl shows you deals from different sources, all in one place so you can stay on top of which insurance policies are suited to you, and switch easily when it benefits you. Better yet, the platform does this searching well before you’re due to renew your policies so you know what’s coming, and it will do all the leg work for you so you don’t have to lift a finger to switch. Rnwl’s innovative insurance wallet helps you keep on track on insurance policies, which is particularly important when you care for a family, run a business and own a home, or all of the above. 

As a serial entrepreneur, Goncalo de Vasconcelos knows what he’s doing when it comes to getting a disruptive venture off the ground. He currently acts as a non-executive director of SyndicateRoom and was recently voted one of the top 10 most influential people in the UK. Inspired to do the right thing for consumers in an industry that quite frankly hasn’t kept up with the pace of innovation of the wider financial industry in recent years, de Vasconcelos is looking forward to what’s to come for both his newest entrepreneurial project, and the insurance space. Since January, the company has already made great strides, including being accepted to the FCA’s Innovation Hub, releasing its beta product and raising pre-seed capital from some of the most well-known business angels in the UK.

Rnwl’s crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs is currently over 200% funded by nearly 500 investors. Visit the campaign to join them.

Michaela Salomon

Michaela Salomon

Campaign Support Team

Source: https://www.seedrs.com/learn/blog/founder-stories/rnwl-the-first-over-the-top-insurance-platform

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Podcast Radio – 24/7 Podcasting with a Global Stage

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When investing, your capital is at risk.

You’re feeling curious, so you go on the hunt for a podcast. You spend the next hour browsing content, listening to snippets here and there. You’re eventually frustrated and no longer curious.

It’s called choice paralysis, and it happens to the best of us – especially in a day and age where there’s more content to engage with than ever before in history. 

Podcast Radio has developed a solution, by marrying radio broadcasting with podcasting. They’re on a mission to become the ‘trusted guide’ to quality content using a medium that listeners love now just as much as they always have – radio.

We sat down with founder Gerard Edwards to get the full story.

What is Podcast Radio’s mission?

We’re creating a global network of Podcast Radio stations, allowing listeners to discover new podcasts using our digital broadcast radio channels and our online tools such as mobile apps, website and smart-speakers.

How did the idea for the company first come about, and what was the first course of action to bring it to market?

Podcast Radio was created as a Bootstrap, which I initially incorporated myself as founder.

I had previously designed two UK radio stations from scratch, and also managed the funding, budgeting, programming and staffing of each. After creating my own early side-hustle version of a podcasting company, I realised there was a huge hole in the podcasting market for discovering new content, as well as a missing link for the marketing of podcasts.

I spent over a year researching and developing the idea, as well as connecting with networks of podcasters. The final pre-market stage was negotiating transmission contracts, developing our own audio-tech platforms (app, website, smartspeaker), and flicking the ‘on’ switch on the 11th February 2020.

How has your professional experience, and that of your team, helped the company achieve growth?

After connecting with a Fellow of the UK’s Radio Academy (Paul Chantler), we worked on the design of the platform. We also became well connected with the fast-paced podcast ecosystem after Podcast Radio’s launch was announced at the International RAIN conference in London (bringing together global specialists in radio and streaming audio).

Further team members, who were brought in early, had plenty of success and experience in audio-technology, podcasting and the launching of broadcast channels. We snatched up incredible staff members who range from Hall of Famers in US broadcasting to a UK Head of Sales who has sold and excelled in various digital platforms, including both visual and audio.

Personally, I have overseen two broadcast channel launches, managed the programming and growth of various radio stations, and have experience as a top 10 ranked podcaster in the UK Apple rankings. This career history has placed me in the perfect position to drive the platform forward, but has also given me the contacts to ensure we have built a fantastic team from the very start.

What problem is Podcast Radio trying to solve for consumers?

Our solution to the podcasting discoverability problem is twofold.

Firstly, listeners trying to discover their next podcast are frustrated by the huge pool of podcasting content. That is, there are simply too many podcasts to choose from, and a near impossible task of sampling them in their audio format. Yet we know that there is an insatiable demand for podcast content.

Secondly, Podcasters are feeling frustrated at the lack of marketing cut-through, especially in making their content available to new listeners. This goes for both independent podcasts and full-blown networks (think of Spotify and Amazon’s Audible now creating new, original content).

Podcasting has seen incredible growth and listener demand, but the low cost of entry has seen an over-saturation of podcast content. Podcast Radio is the world’s only radio-driven promotional tool for the global podcasting industry.

Are there any competitors in this space? How does Podcast Radio differentiate?

When it comes to ‘finding’ a new podcast to listen to, listeners have relied on word-of-mouth from friends and family, or read written reviews of podcasts.

Before Podcast Radio, there had been no marketing platform with the ability to broadcast podcasts in mass media format. Further, our platform allows listeners to sample a 24/7 curated linear platform in the medium podcasts were designed to be sampled: audio.

Where traditional radio may have seen podcasting as a competitor, our independent Podcast Radio platform has been able to harness the strengths of both the radio and the podcast industries, allowing them to complement one another.

Radio brings mass-media marketing reach to podcasting, while podcasting brings an ever-increasing pool of fantastic speech audio content.

Who are Podcast Radio’s target listeners and how do you reach them?

Absolutely every single podcast listener in the English-speaking world can use and engage with Podcast Radio’s platforms. No other audio-based podcasting product has a potential broadcast reach of over 15 million adults in the UK alone, while the platform is also available globally via app, website, smart-speaker integration, and our own unique online search/discovery tool.

Any listener who wants to try podcast listening for the first time, or the many millions of listeners already consuming them weekly in the UK, US, Canada and Australia, can use Podcast Radio for free, any time they like, 24/7.

We have been very pleased with the amount of early and engaged monthly active users of Podcast Radio, from all over the world. Our broadcast channels have already expanded to include Greater London, Surrey, Manchester and Glasgow. Our marketing plans for 2021 are set to build on this incredible first year of operation.

What is next in the pipeline for the business, in terms of partnerships, product releases etc.?

Where do I start! We already have several international content partnerships ready for announcement in the next quarter, as well as original content to be launched, along with an ad-technology partnership that will allow us to open several more revenue streams.

We are in discussion with digital broadcast networks overseas that will see our first international expansions, and we have a team developing further Podcast Radio channels to introduce across our own subscription-led tech platform.

But most importantly perhaps, we are always negotiating further UK-wide expansion to our broadcast reach city-by-city, to add to our potential reach of 15 million adults in London, Surrey, Manchester, Glasgow.

What has been the greatest success so far?

Although it can often be overlooked, I would argue that our greatest success to date has been the time spent effectively in research and development pre-launch. This hard work and early team-building allowed us to ensure no other company could catch up any time soon.

Through the building of our intercontinental network of podcasters, our vast relationships with media partners, our transmission contracts, licence applications, and successful execution and expansion has made Podcast Radio a truly unique platform that is now tackling the global podcast discoverability problem.

What’s your favourite podcast?

My favourite podcast is Alan Alda’s Clear and Vivid podcast. This podcast merges science, world issues and celebrity status in one place. The podcast is based around exploring, explaining and defining what it means to communicate. The best part: Alan was happy to connect with Podcast Radio and we now carry many of his incredible episodes, introducing them to a brand new audience via our own platform.

Give it a listen.

What’s one piece of key advice you’d give to an entrepreneur in the media space?

Surround yourself early with team-members who both inspire you and challenge you.

When you’re not bringing content to audiences around the UK, what are you doing?

For sanity and health, I make sure I run, walk or exercise – whilst listening to podcasts! In my spare time, I like to read books and articles on the human mind, space and history. However, I always make time to watch my beloved Everton Football Club and also spend time with nieces and nephews when I get the chance.

Podcast Radio’s campaign is closing soon. To find out more, check out the pitch now.

Michaela Salomon

Michaela Salomon

Campaign Support Team

Source: https://www.seedrs.com/learn/blog/founder-stories/podcast-radio-24-7-podcasting-with-a-global-stage

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Crowdfunding

Top 10 Fintech News Stories for the Week Ending October 17, 2020

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Here are what I consider to be the top 10 most important fintech news stories of the past week.

TD Bank sues Plaid for trademark infringement, false advertising from American Banker – Well this isn’t good. American Banker is reporting that TD Bank has sued Plaid for trademark infringement and false advertising. And Zach said at LendIt 2 weeks ago that they were getting along just fine with big banks…

Or will CBDCs destroy banking? from The Finanser – I love this article from Chris Skinner about Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) and the future of banking. He perfectly summarizes why banks will still be important even if CBDCs dominate the future: “The role of banks is to store value, with trust”. Banks are good at that.

Insights: COVID-19 Performance Report, Volume 14 from dv01 – The team at dv01 continue to do great work on their biweekly performance reports. These are going to be such a valuable historical record of this time period. Volume 14 out this week shows a continued decline in total impairments.

Enova of Chicago completes $122 million purchase of OnDeck Capital of NYC from Chicago Business Journal – The first big fintech deal of the pandemic closed this week with shares of OnDeck no longer trading on the NYSE.

PayPal CEO Dan Schulman Explains His Strategy For Investing In Employees’ Financial Health from Forbes – In an internal survey PayPal discovered two-thirds of employees struggled to make ends meet so CEO Dan Schulman did something about it.

Data: London FinTechs Netted $3.6B In VC Investments So Far In 2020 from PYMNTS – The VC money keeps flowing in for London fintechs despite the pandemic.

Robinhood Internal Probe Finds Hackers Hit Almost 2,000 Accounts from Bloomberg – The recent hacks on Robinhood users was worse than initially reported with almost 2,000 users being hit.

“AMERICA IS BETTER WHEN THE BLACK ECONOMY IS BETTER”: WITH GREENWOOD, KILLER MIKE WANTS TO REVOLUTIONIZE BANKING from Vanity Fair – In almost a decade of doing these news round-ups I am pretty sure this is the first time a Vanity Fair article has been featured. But the work Killer Mike is doing in launching the Greenwood digital bank transcends fintech.

PayPal takes aim at Klarna with ‘Pay in 3’ service for UK shoppers from CNBC – There is no hotter sector in fintech than Buy Now Pay Later and PayPal is now taking on the big kahuna in the space in Europe.

LendIt Fintech Europe 2020 Preview from Lend Academy – Our big Europe show is happening on Monday and Tuesday next week, here is what you can expect.

Source: https://www.lendacademy.com/top-10-fintech-news-stories-for-the-week-ending-october-17-2020/

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