Helpfulpeeps sees explosion of growth driven by community karma

Interview: Co-founder Saf Nazeer on growing a successful business based on on the willingness of people to help others in their community
19th October 2017

‘Tech for good’ is making huge waves across the world lately, dispelling the myth that you can’t merge social or environmental good into a financially successful business.

“It’s been truly inspirational to observe the strength in numbers and the power of people coming together for the greater good”

 

A big part of this movement, Bristol-based community network Helpfulpeeps has seen phenomenal growth since it was founded in 2015. The startup, that works as a digital platform in which people share their time, skills and knowledge to help each other for free, has since raised its members into the 100s of thousands, expanded to multiple new cities and was voted into the finals by the public at our very own SPARKies tech and digital awards earlier this year.

Take a look at the video below to get more of an idea of what Helpfulpeeps is all about:

 

These achievements are not to be sniffed at, but we heard there were plenty more, so we had a chat with Helpfulpeeps’ co-founder and CEO Saf Nazeer on using the digital landscape to build a successful business whilst changing the way we interact with our local communities for good.

TechSPARK: Helpfulpeeps was set up a couple of years ago to get people helping each other – has the basic principle changed?

Saf Nazeer (pictured left): Nope, the basic principle has remained the same. At its core Helpfulpeeps is about peer-to-peer help. However, we have also noticed more and more charities and local community groups also using Helpfulpeeps to find volunteers and to ask for help with pro-bono skills and non-monetary donations.

Further, we have also noticed that individuals with an idea who are willing to be pro-active are using the platform to find like-minded people to join them in creating positive change in the local community.

TS: How has the organisation grown since 2015?

SN: Back in 2015, it was just my co-founder Simon and I running around trying to spread the word to anyone that would listen.

Since then we have been joined by two very talented engineers who were instrumental in helping us re-build Helpfulpeeps from scratch into the fully functional scalable product that it is today.

We launched the new platform at the end of January this year and this has allowed us to grow from roughly 10,000 members to almost 100,000 members and expand to over a dozen cities with active communities in places like Brighton, Leeds and Edinburgh.

We also launched ‘Community Champions’ a few months ago in response to the overwhelming amount of incoming emails and messages we would receive from members asking how they could help us in spreading the word in their local community. As it stands we have over 600 volunteers helping us grow the community all across the country and these Community Champions are a natural extension of our core team so we’ve definitely grown significantly in the last 2 years.

TS: What have been your favourite experiences with the Helpfulpeeps platform and what it enables?

SN: We’ve had thousands of instances of help and they all stand out for different reasons so it’s really hard to answer this question with one favourite experience. Personally, I learnt to ride a bicycle for the first time in my life via Helpfulpeeps so that stands out.

“The single most common piece of feedback that we receive from our members is that Helpfulpeeps has restored their faith in humanity”

 

We’ve had local charities like NACOA that have used the platform to receive cake donations which they sold at their stall to raise money which has been great to see.

We’ve also had selfless Helpfulpeeps members wanting to help others in the community whether it’s disadvantaged kids, the homeless or local community groups by posting an ‘idea’ or a ‘plan’ and then self-organising with dozens of members joining in to support them in achieving their goal. It’s been truly inspirational to observe the strength in numbers and the power of people coming together for the greater good.

As individuals Simon and I could spend 20 hours a day every day for the rest of our lives trying to help people and we wouldn’t be able compete with Helpfulpeeps the platform – it wouldn’t even be close. It feels surreal sometimes when we think about the sheer amount of help both big and small that the platform facilitates and this is a testament to the power of technology and community.

TS: Were you surprised that such a beneficial organisation, one based almost on karma, is growing so well?

SN: Not at all – there might be a lot of pessimism in the world right now but we have always believed that people are inherently good and in starting Helpfulpeeps we made a bet on the willingness of people to help others in their community and it’s paid off.

Meet a helpfulpeep: Hear from one of Helpfulpeeps’
members on how they have used the network

 

The single most common piece of feedback that we receive from our members is that Helpfulpeeps has restored their faith in humanity and it’s amazing to hear but what’s more amazing is that as part of this journey our members and their acts of kindness have strengthened our faith in humanity.

TS: You are looking for staff to help keep up with this growth – who are you looking for?

SN: Yes, given our exponential growth we are looking for passionate and driven software developers to join our team.

“We aim to grow the Helpfulpeeps community to over one million members in the next 18 months”

 

We are looking to make three immediate hires – a Full-Stack Senior Software Engineer, a Back-End Software Engineer and Front-End Software Engineer. Full details can be found on the Helpfulpeeps jobs page.

TS: If people want to help Helpfulpeeps in other ways, how can they do so?

SN: The easiest way to help out would be to sign up and then invite friends and family to join which helps to grow Helpfulpeeps in the local community. If people wanted to be more hands-on and play a more active role then we’d invite them to join us as a Community Champion.

TS: So what’s next for Helpfulpeeps?

SN: From a product perspective we will be releasing native apps for iOS and Android in the coming months so be on the lookout for that.

We are also constantly expanding to new cities as well and we aim to grow the Helpfulpeeps community to over one million members in the next 18 months. Finally, we have plans to launch into the US as part of our vision to become the world’s most helpful network.

Thanks to Saf for sharing Helpfulpeeps’ latest news. To find out more, get yourself over to the Helpfulpeeps website or follow them on Twitter here: @helpfulpeeps.