Launcht.org: The Featured Four

Beginning on Wednesday, July 18, Launcht is releasing its revamped crowdfunding platform for social entrepreneurs. This platform, called Launcht.org, links two of the most exciting and fastest growing markets today: crowdfunding and social entrepreneurship. To give our readers a taste of the upcoming campaigns, we’ve profiled our Featured Four below. These are some of the campaigns that we at Launcht are most enthusiastic about moving forward. If you’re an entrepreneur considering crowdfunding, email michael@launcht.com for more details.

These campaigns are set to take flight on Launcht.org.

weBike

WeBike is the next generation of bike sharing programs. You’ve probably seen bike sharing systems in major cities, where you can sign up as a member and take out bikes whenever you need to. Bike sharing in big cities today is affordable, efficient, and healthy for you and the environment, but the high upfront upfront investment needed to install large bike stations is cost-prohibitive for campuses and smaller communities. WeBike’s mantra, “Bikeshare Everywhere” reflects its mission to make bikeshare programs accessible beyond large metropolitan communities, and they do this by replacing stations with mobile and web technologies. This allows users to check out and return communal bikes with text messages that provide them the proper bike combination. According to weBike’s estimates, their systems can operate at 6% of the regular cost of today’s bike sharing platforms.

WeBike is crowdfunding in order to develop a prototype for a new, more secure bike lock that could instantly change combinations after each use. According to weBike’s Chief Marketing Officer Allie Armitage, this would provide “the final piece of the puzzle” to make their system fully secure for more communities and campuses to use.

Established in 2007 by students at the University of Maryland, the College Park campus used weBike for a 12-bike pilot program in 2009. According to a profile of weBike in Embarq, “During the three months that the pilot program ran, more than 50 users logged a total of about 550 rides, or about 6 rides system-wide per day. Only one bike was stolen. Perhaps the best part: weBike only spent $2,000 to develop and run the program.”

With the new lock in place, weBike will continue to operate at a low cost and will be able to minimize theft on its system. Check out weBike’s website at www.webikedoyou.com for more information.

Vokashi

Founded by Vandra Thorburn in 2009 and based in Brooklyn, NY, Vokashi builds off of two progressive, growing, and sustainable markets: composting and urban community gardening. Using a unique composting method from Japan called bokashi, households and small business owners can put their food scraps in an airtight EcoSmart Vokashi bucket. Each month, Vokashi provides at-the-door pickup of the buckets. Compost is guaranteed by Vokashi to be used for local composting in an urban farm, community garden, or private or public green space. As a testimonial on Vokashi’s website explains, “Our food comes from the dirt, and it should be returned to the dirt.”

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