Technology moves at such a pace that it can be a full time job just trying to separate the substance from the hype. However, along with the plethora of tools and services that emerge on a daily basis comes the opportunity for charities to use them to inspire people into supporting their causes in innovative and compelling ways. In the wake of the Etherington review, and with the introduction of the Fundraising Preference Service looming, there is a clear opportunity to explore new digital fundraising techniques.

So below I’ve set out to explore the reasons why I’m positive about the…

…I thought to myself, as I sat around a crowded table at the very first UK event introducing MassChallenge to a London audience roughly a year ago.

  • Free office space for 4 months
  • £500,000 in prize money given away to the winning startups
  • A two week-long boot camp of sessions and workshops delivered by top entrepreneurs, investors and experts
  • Industry showcases and networking events
  • Access to a range of cross-industry mentors

All this, and no equity taken?

“How can they possibly run this programme as a non-profit?”

“Can we see the budget?”

“What the hell’s in it for them?”


Cats are the natural entrepreneurs of the animal kingdom. They are notoriously difficult to get to conform; they use their ingenuity to create beds where nobody would have thought possible; they claim their territory in the market and fend off competition that dares encroach upon it and they sell their human customers a dream (affection) which they have no capacity to deliver (because they are cats).

As such, there is plenty to be learnt from our incurably curious furry companions. …

Photo by Sylvain Masson

My top 10 discoveries over the last decade of Later with Jools Holland

Later with Jools Holland has a habit of giving viewers a breathtaking introduction to new (and old) artists across every genre imaginable. So as the 43rd series kicks off, I thought I’d share my favourite performances from artists I’ve discovered through the series over the past decade.

1. Raul Midon — State of Mind

Ridiculously talented man. The guitar or vocals alone would be amazing but both together, combined with the unique solo — a spectacular performance.

2. Laura Marling — New Romantic

She is only 17 here. 17. Such an incredibly mature and intense performance.

3. Staff Benda Bilili — Je t’aime

Can’t help but admire four guys in wheelchairs producing such an irresistible groove.

4. Feist — Sea Lion Woman


Young Rewired State 2013 / Photo © Paul Clarke

It is a rare occasion these days that I’ll log into LinkedIn without being confronted with an article about recruiting top talent for tech startups. While the majority are filled with useful insights and I do agree that hiring the ‘right’ people can be the difference between success and failure in startup land, the fundamental question that I don’t see being addressed often enough is ‘Why do we have a shortage of tech talent in the UK?’.

It seems to be a cruel juxtaposition that we live in times of austerity and yet one of the few industries undergoing explosive…

Laurie Ainley

Co-founder & CTO at Poplar, an augmented reality startup. Formerly Donative, Rightster. Side projects include Charity Catalogue and Covers for Others.

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