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A Letter From The CEO

Our dream to make the world a closer place

As part of our second year birthday celebrations at bantu, we thought it’d be most poignant to get our very own CEO to share his thoughts and reflections about the social entrepreneurship journey in community management thus far. It has not been an easy journey, but we will press on and continue to be on fire for building impactful communities around us.

bantu is two years old! I can’t even believe it myself, how quickly time has passed.

In case we haven’t met, I’m Nicholas, the co-founder and CEO of bantu. I graduated in 2018 with an E-Commerce Honours Degree from the National University of Singapore, under the Faculty of Computing. I manage the bantu Workspace system along with Han, and we handle most of the tech in the company.

Joshua, Janelle, Han and I met in the US in 2015. We were on the NUS Overseas Colleges programme — Janelle and Joshua were in New York and Han and myself were in Silicon Valley. By a stroke of fate the four of us were united by a common cause — that we believe managing people and communities has been such a challenge for a long time. In many organisations, especially in the social sector, communicating and retaining members of communities posed to be a challenge for many community managers.

Imagine with me for just a bit — if we could empower millions of organisations across Asia to increase their capacity of outreach, and throughout the rest of the world as well, we could possibly thrive in a more balanced, healthy and fair ecosystem throughout the world. We could even fulfil all the SDG goals, and eradicate poverty once and for all. While this is the dream of the ideal world we want to live in, the truth is that we can do our part in making the world around us a better place. If every organisation could be more digitally connected, efficient, and effective in managing and engaging their communities, we could create a tremendous social impact. We could allow everyone to be well connected and engaged, and support each other in times of crisis.

And from this, bantu was birthed forth! We started working on bantu after returning back to Singapore and finishing up school. bantu is a social tech startup that focuses on helping the social sector using technology. We wanted to create a product that would help reduce manual hours that was causing attrition to community managers. These processes took up so much time and resources, and we wanted to create a product that could nip the problem in the bud.

A couple of months ago, we decided to take a leap of faith and shift to community management. Community management has always been at the back of our minds, and we believe that expanding our outreach allow us to empower more people in their quest to do good. These organisations impact spaces including healthcare, education, the arts, and so much more. By being a part of the good they do, this allows us to understand more about our country’s social economic, needs, and problems. Innately, I believe this helps us to understand human nature better as well. If we can take that step to empower every organisation with visibility of those who need help, we would be able to strengthen communities and allow organisations to engage in a more effective manner.

It is this directional shift that allowed us to expand our network and reach out to even more organisations from various sectors. After two years of bantu, we want to communicate more effectively with our partners and connect with them on the same frequency. We want to better understand the problems of the community and provide a tailored solution to their needs. All these objectives still empower us to be one step closer to achieving our vision — that is to increase the capacity of every organisation to help others even more.

The last two years have been such a ride for the four of us, and we could not have done it without support — from our families, members who have been a part of the team, our clients and partners who believed in us and so much more. Sincerely, thank you from the bottom of our hearts, we are grateful for all the support and love in the last two years. We will keep working hard with passion, grit, tenacity and determination to keep overcoming obstacles one after another. And to my other three co-founders, let’s keep pursuing after this dream and supporting each other in this journey.

If you’re wondering what’s next for bantu, well, we’re still young but fuelled with big dreams on impacting the community. We have so much in store, so stick with us and support us in our journey to do good. Oh and of course, wishing bantu once again a very happy birthday!

Because helping others should be easy.
Cheers, Nicholas




Helping others should be easy (p.s. we build tech for non-profits)

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Janelle Lee

Janelle Lee

Social Entrepreneur, Coffee Lover \\ Product Lead @ bantu

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