New VenturesSaturday 28th December, 2013
For the last year and a half, I’ve been building myself up as a freelance web designer & developer. In 2014, that changes. As of the last few weeks, I'm now the co-founder of CauseHub Ltd. I'm officially a start-up douche. Those people tend to blog a lot right? So I thought I'd start writing about what I'm doing, starting with how exactly this happened.
I went to a fair few hackathons in 2013. (For the uninitiated, they're events where developers and designers get together and build an app or a web thing in a short space of time, like a weekend.) One of my favourites, was one called Hack4Good, organised by Dan Cunningham. I met a developer called Jamie Davies and we built a thing called CauseHub.
One of the many great organisations sponsoring Hack4Good were Friends Of The Earth, who told us how they needed a way to know which MPs to lobby about different campaigns they were running. They also wanted to make sure whatever was built was open source and extensible, which got me thinking about how extensible their concept actually is.
To work out which MP to lobby is a fairly easy problem to solve once you have the right data, and thanks to the incredible work of MySociety, we do. At Hack4Good, we built a script that searches through the Houses of Parliament's voting records, looks for any votes that match a given keyword, sorts the results in order of how many times the MP voted strongly, and then delivers a button to email those MPs. The idea behind CauseHub is a network of modules like this, that take the public data APIs available to us and turn that data into quick, simple actions that support real campaigns.
This platform is still very much in pre-alpha stage, but we think the concept was strong. Apparently some people agree with us too, because we've just been accepted onto the Bethnal Green Ventures mentorship programme. It's a pretty amazing opportunity for us, both as individuals and as a company. We're planning to use it to build something great that helps people fight the causes they believe in. We're planning to build completely in the open, and respond to the needs of our users from the off.
If this sounds interesting to you at all, we'd love it if you were to help us by filling out our quick user survey, or if you don't have time just join our mailing list.
CauseHub.io is live now, and ready to grow with your help.