When did you launch amplify? What was the motivation behind it?
Our Amplify journey first started two years ago. David and I had just returned home to Ireland after working abroad in Austin, Texas for two early-stage tech startups. We both always had a passion for tech and the environment, but getting that first-hand experience in a fast-paced startup gave us the entrepreneurial itch to start our own business.
We started brainstorming how technology could be leveraged to help tackle climate change. A silver lining from the pandemic was the consumer shift towards sustainability. This forced us to really think about how we could pivot to tackle this problem on a larger scale. The recent surge in conscious consumerism showed us that so many people and businesses are already leading the way in taking climate action, and this army of changemakers is rapidly growing. We thought: “what if we could help them to accelerate their climate action? What potential impact could we drive if we could help each person double, or even treble their own impact?
Donations to high-impact climate action organisations quickly stood out as an ideal way to amplify their climate action. But to fund the donations, we needed buy-in from sustainable brands first. We spoke with sustainable consumer brands to learn more about their experiences donating to charity, which uncovered a completely new set of problems that these brands were experiencing when it came to donations. We learned that charitable donations have now become a customer expectation of brands. This has encouraged a lot of businesses to start donating to charity. But despite being a customer-driven activity, they are struggling to involve their customers in the donation process. We also learned that customers want brands to support the same causes they care about, but brands find it incredibly difficult to pick a charity that aligns with the values of every customer.
This was our “light bulb moment”. We realised there was an opportunity to create a customer-focused donation app that solves these problems for brands, that also empowers conscious shoppers to amplify their positive impact on the planet. Not long after that, Amplify was born.
Can you tell me a little about how the business works? Who you work with, how you reach customers etc?
Amplify is a climate donation app that empowers a network of sustainable brands to deliver a personalised donation experience for their customers.
Sustainable brands sign up to Amplify’s donation network, which allows their customers to earn a free donation for a climate charity of their choice on every purchase. Each customer creates their own Amplify account, which involves choosing one of our climate cause partners to support and securely linking their existing debit or credit card to Amplify through card-linking technology. This technology allows Amplify to deliver the same donation experience for the customer across all of their sustainable spending with every brand in Amplify’s network. All the customer has to do is shop as normal using their linked payment card, and 2% of the transaction total is automatically donated by the brand to their chosen cause through Amplify, at no added cost.
Customers can choose from a wide range of high-impact climate causes to support, including biodiversity, climate activism, education, carbon reduction, rainforest protection, ocean conservation, and much more. We’re always on the lookout for new inspiring climate causes to support!
Have you noticed any important trends lately in consumer habits?
Consumer demand for sustainable goods and services has surged over the past few years. The pandemic has propelled this shift towards sustainability even further forward, which is at least one positive we can take away from the last 18 months. I think the shock impact that Covid has had on all of us, has helped us to appreciate our surroundings more and start prioritising a healthier planet. The pandemic response also showed us that both individual people and world leaders alike have the capacity to take major action to combat a global threat, and there’s no bigger global threat than climate change. The huge public pressure for world leaders to take action at COP26 is a good indication that our awareness of climate change and demand for climate action has never been higher.
What’s your ultimate goal?
Amplify’s ultimate goal is to build a global donation network of sustainable brands and conscious consumers, creating a powerful collective force of climate action. If we can take the positive impact of every sustainable purchase, and amplify it with a high-impact donation, the overall impact capacity of conscious consumerism can be taken to an entirely new level. It could become a real driving force in helping countries around the world achieve their carbon emission reduction targets over the next 10 years.
We are just getting started so there are many milestones to achieve and obstacles to overcome before that goal can even become close to reality. But based on early traction from brands across the UK and Ireland, as well as North America, the initial signs are looking good.
What’s next for Amplify?
Our immediate priority is to grow our brand network and end-customer base across Ireland and the UK over the next 12 months. Product development will also be a key part of the year ahead. With our launch product, end-users create their Amplify account through our web app but we have plans to quickly introduce a mobile app to further enhance our user experience. We’ve also had strong interest from brands in the US and Canada, which is definitely a market we’re keen to explore in the not too distant future.
Conor O’Laoire and David Beakey are the cofounders of Amplify.