By Alpa Agarwal
Piryx, non-profit Startup Weekend and Microsoft BizSpark will hold a fundraising get-together for Haiti, Piryxtopia Charity Bash, at SXSW. Piryx, a global social fund-raising platform, will help by making their service available for online donations.
Piryxtopia Charity Bash will focus on raising money for the charity We Hear Your Voice, which was started after Haiti’s tragic earthquake. Since 2007, Startup Weekend has been orchestrating gatherings of entrepreneurs who pitch their business ideas, self-select, break into teams and then work to build what they hope will become successful technology start-ups. Each Startup Weekend culminates with a business competition, where participants and invited panelists vote for the best overall start-up to receive a prize. Startup Weekend’s directors, Marc Nager and Clint Nelsen, hope to hold a similar event in Haiti in the fall of 2010, in support of local innovation. According to Nager's blog post, “We believe we will find local Haitians that will have great ideas to address some of the problems they face daily. The end goal is to take the money we receive via the fundraising get-together and award it directly to new, local ventures that emerge from the event.”
Piryx has worked extensively with politicians and nonprofit groups and it was Tom Serres, founder and chief executive of Piryx, who suggested holding a Startup Weekend in Haiti. Piryx’s involvement was driven, as Serres describes it, by “lots random events, a bit of passion, and some serious desire to help. What started out as a Facebook status update related to the Haiti earthquake - turned into helping a friend embark on a quest to help a woman rescue her three adopted children from Haiti. Subsequently it was picked up by Wolf Blitzer's Situation Room - and became the sounding board for hope in Haiti. The founder, Justin Yarborough, decided not to stop there - and I wanted to make sure he knew I was with him, all the way. A groundswell of support emerged beyond anything I could have imagined, and I couldn't help but continue as promised. I figured, what better way to shed light on to the issue and help folks maintain awareness of the situation that still exists in Haiti. It's sort of become a tradition here at Piryx to throw an annual charity bash at SXSW called Piryxtopia, and we decided in light of recent events - what better cause to support.”
Piryx is a social fundraising and real-time giving platform. Dubbed “Democracy’s PayPal,” it provides payment processing, analytical marketing tools, and API's for non-profits, social advocacy groups, corporations and government and political organizations to connect with donors and volunteers. The Piryx Platform makes it easy to market and manage a fundraising campaign, all from one central dashboard. The user signs up, initiates a campaign, and provides a bank routing number, so donated payments can be directly deposited into the account, and creates a campaign page. The campaign can be launched across multiple social networks at one time, with donor campaigns pushed out to Twitter, Facebook, Linked-In and other social sites all from Piryx. Campaign organizers can promote competitive giving, analyze who responds to which messages, when and why, and track which channels effectively drive revenue. Users pay a small transaction fee, based on the value of each transaction.
Applications developed by the Piryx Developer Network are available in the Piryx App Marketplace. Developers can set a purchase price, monthly charge, or give their apps away.
Piryx was founded in 2005. Since the launch of its fundraising platform in 2009, it has served hundreds of thousands of donors, across thousands of causes - raising millions of dollars for change makers all over the globe. Piryx has been doubling in size roughly every quarter ever since. The startup has served a wide spectrum of causes. Local, state, and federal political campaigns, environmental organizations, charter schools, private schools, alumni associations, school districts, religious organizations, chambers of commerce, and even a few rock bands.
Tom Serres launched the Piryx Platform while he was a still a senior in college. He learned that leveraging the internet and e-commerce could be the most cost-effective way to launch a political campaign. He also found that a political campaign “is much like a start-up - except every year you startup fresh, build up, and wind back down. Going from zero to 60 in a matter of months, advocating a cause, and winning constituent support to hold an elected office. You basically start out with nothing, and have to build a reputable brand on a shoe string budget.”