1001 Needs (Met): One Month After our Beta Launch

Some people thought that announcing we would launch our beta on World Refugee Day was an act of hubris. We hadn’t finished debugging the platform. A lot of stuff still wasn’t working. And in tech, who makes those kinds of promises, anyways?

Apparently, we do. As NeedsList’s CEO Natasha Freidus reported shortly afterwards, these constraints yielded some great results. As we continued to work on optimizing the rest of our platform, we decided to focus on meeting three needs at a time, rotating them out as each were met. One month after our launch, how many needs have been met through NeedsList? 1001, to be exact. Here’s the breakdown:

126 pairs of shoes for refugees in Chios, Greece.

Organization: A Drop in the Ocean

Supplier: TerraMare in Athens

Warehouse manager Liz gives a big thumbs up after receiving shoes in Chios, purchased through NeedsList!

145 reusable sanitary napkins for refugee women in Greece.

Organization: The Unmentionables

Supplier: LunaPads.com

The Unmentionables team en route to distributing reusable pads purchased through NeedsList.

150 packs of diapers for babies in Oinofyta camp, Greece.

Organization: Do Your Part

Supplier: ToyWorld, a Greek baby-goods company.

Diapers being delivered to Oinofyta, Greece.

100 t-shirts for refugees in Ionnina, Greece.

Organization: Refugee Support Group

Supplier: TerraMare in Athens

Freshly delivered t-shirts in Ionnina, Greece.

5 remote volunteers for a Women and Children’s Underground Hospital in Idlib, Syria.

Organization: SIMRO

400 pairs of underwear for women in Chios, Greece (en route as this goes to press!)

Organization: Drop in the Ocean

Supplier: TerraMare in Athens

75 canvases for refugee artists in Greece

Organization: Love without Borders-for Refugees in Need

Supplier: Art-time in Athens

Love Without Borders- For Refugees in Need founder Kayra Martinez at Art-Time in Athens, which supplies canvases for her art workshops with refugees across Greece.

All told, these items represent nearly $10,000 of purchases from local Greek businesses (LunaPads was our only non-local supplier of needs this past month), which is as important to the NGOs using our platform as it is to the communities in which refugees are living.

So what’s next?

We just returned from Geneva where we hosted a workshop on creative ways that public-private partnerships can meet refugee needs with folks from Global Humanitarian Lab, UN Refugee Agency, ICRC Innovation, HP Labs, Impact Hub Geneva and Terres des Hommes.

How round could our table be?

On the product side, we’ve been working hard at getting the rest of the platform ready for our small group of beta testers of NGOs in Greece, France, Philly, Syria, Serbia, and Italy.

We also just returned from Lausanne, Switzerland, where we’ve been participating in the MassChallenge accelerator with 73 other startups! This is from the Startup Showcase night, where we had participants meet refugee needs.

We’re getting a financial boost through an investment we just won through Village Capital and Ben Franklin Technology Partners’ fintech accelerator, too! That, along with some other exciting forthcoming news, is going to allow us to hire more staff to more quickly scale our platform, which means meeting even more refugee needs!

Why wait? You can buy diapers for newborn babies in Athens and shoes for migrants in Calais, France right now.