The brainchild of former sales executive, Carl Gough, meetmagic appears to be the world’s first business-to-business software platform designed to make a positive social impact by connecting corporate decision makers with the technology startup and innovation market.
Carl Gough has a noble mission, and an innovative plan to support it: he intends to give away $250 million to charity during his lifetime. But these aren’t funds sitting safely in a fattening investment portfolio. This is money Carl plans to raise via his technology startup social venture, meetmagic.
What Carl describes as a for-purpose business, meetmagic generates charitable donations from business meetings. The concept, while relatively simple, is sophisticated and nuanced enough to appeal to his two target markets. Most importantly, and a key reason for the platform’s burgeoning success, is that it solves a critical problem in the B2B sales chain.
A B2B solution with social impact dividends
Vendors, which include Silicon Valley based security companies and network inventors, pay a subscription fee to the meetmagic platform. This subscription allows them to access details of and request meetings with executives. For every meeting that is booked through the platform, the vendor pays $1000 – half of which goes to charity.
“Meetmagic is disrupting the way that sales people get to meet with executives,” Carl says.
As he explains, the conventional sales and marketing process involves a considerable annual investment by companies, with spend broken down into different groups such as demand generation and lead generation, and activities encompassing online campaigns through to conferences. Despite the diversity of activity, the ultimate goal is always the same: a face-to-face meeting with a key decision maker.
“It’s a broken process.” Carl says. “Ask anybody who has spent $30,000 on attending a conference what results they got out of it – very few can say they got something tangible.”
Carl’s proposition with meetmagic is elegant in essence. Cut out the clunky steps and extraneous expenses for the vendor, while offering an appealing incentive to executives: the opportunity to increase their philanthropic impact.
A lot can be achieved in just one hour…
Irrepressible purpose and passion resounding in his voice, Carl explains that every single meeting arranged through meetmagic creates a positive impact.
“For example,” he says, “we had the CIO of retail chain Kathmandu take a one-hour meeting which raised $500. That $500 went to his charity of choice, the Australian Himalayan Foundation, which paid for three girls to go to school for an entire year.”
Officially launched in March 2017, meetmagic already has 30,000 executives on the platform – about 300 of which have opted in to take meetings. Among the latter group are, Tom Waterhouse, CEO of William Hill Australia, the head of Scentre Group (which operates Westfield), and the CEO of Dymocks, Steve Cox.
The $500 generated through his meeting bought 50 books for 50 disadvantaged kids, to help increase literacy levels.
“As our capacity grows,” Carl says, “we’ll be posting stories on our website daily about the impact we’re making.”
While currently meetmagic takes 50 per cent of the meeting fee to cover backend operating costs, Carl’s plan is to have enough vendor subscriptions to cover these costs so that the enterprise can give the entire $1000 meeting fee to charity – to maximise the company’s social outcomes.
Contribution + Growth = Fulfilment
Carl’s future plans for meetmagic focus on expansion. But it’s not growth for growth’s sake, as Carl elaborates; his strategy is underpinned by a deeply considered philosophy concerning what drives human happiness.
“One of the biggest human needs that we all have is contribution,” he says. “We all want to feel that in our lifetime we’ve actually made a difference. The second one is growth. So if we can combine these two, we find ourselves really fulfilled in life and at work.”
Carl cites awareness as one of the greatest challenges to his growth objective, as well as the fact that meetmagic is a startup in its infancy.
“Few people are willing to consider investing unless you have two years’ worth of traction and $5 billion worth of revenue.” Carl says. “Half the battle for us right now is that we’re looking for capital that comes from a good place. We’re not really tapped into that market yet. We’re looking for smart money, people who are willing to make a contribution to something that will make a social impact and grow.”
Using the Diffusion of Innovations lexicon, Carl says that meetmagic has found its “early adopters”, but is yet to capture an “early majority”.
“The early majority comes from getting the word out, building a team and putting all the infrastructure in place to really grow. We need extra capital to take it to that level.”
So, what advice would Carl give to a budding social entrepreneur?
“If you’re not waking up at four o’clock in the morning happy about what you’re doing, give it up… It comes from your being, when you find your purpose you just know.”