Start Now Pte. Ltd., a social enterprise and civic- technology start-up, has been acquired by Goodtizens Technologies Pte. Ltd., a spin- off company by The GoodWater Company Pte. Ltd, a local SME.
The acquisition, officially completed in October 2015, is valued at $530,000. While paling in comparison to other acquisitions in the tech start-up sector, this acquisition is a first in the local social entrepreneurship space.
Start Now’s co-founders Ivan Chang, 26, a graduate of Singapore Management University and Keith Tan, 26, a graduate of the National University of Singapore, aimed to connect people to good causes through technology. Founded in 2011, Start Now was a pioneer incubatee of NUS Enterprise’s Social Venture Lab@NUS, which is an initiative that supports social enterprises through seed funding assistance, mentoring and incubation services.
Start Now was a recipient of the YES! Entrepreneurs Startup Grant from SPRING Singapore. In addition, Start Now was also the winner of the 2012 Start- Up@Singapore Business Plan Competition in the Social Enterprise Category, and the Singapore International Foundation’s Young Social Entrepreneur’s Programme. In total, Start Now raised $93,000 in start-up funding from a mix of grants, angel investments and competition awards.
Originally starting with an online platform for individuals to find volunteering opportunities, Start Now eventually evolved to provide a suite of management software for nonprofit and governmental organisations. These include Volunteer, Donor, Event and Pro-Bono Services Management Software, and white-label Community Engagement Platforms.
Eventually, Start Now also expanded into providing management services for corporate social responsibility programmes, with clients such as the Ministry of Social and Family Development, Citibank, ING Bank and MediaCorp. Notable campaigns Start Now managed included the President’s Challenge Volunteer Drive, International Volunteer Day and SG Care and Share Day.
Keith Tan, Co-Founder of Start Now said, “The journey over the past 4 years, juggling school and running our start-up, was incredibly challenging. When this acquisition offer came, Ivan and myself saw the opportunity to pass the baton onto a partner that has the resources and network to take our mission further and to a larger audience.”
Goodtizens Technologies intends to integrate Start Now’s software offerings into a social change network, an innovative marketplace where social points of interest will empower people to trigger community action in smart cities globally. Goodtizens is targeted for beta launch in the first quarter of 2016.
Darren Yong, CEO of Goodtizens Technologies said, “Start Now has been around for 4 years and has built an impressive suite of social technologies to great effect.
Goodtizens will leverage these technologies to bring social actions at your fingertips to a global audience”.