How this Taiwan-based company adds purpose to your purchase

What started as a social enterprise focused on providing specialty coffee called IMPCT Coffee, Taiwan-based startup IMPCT has transformed itself into an impact investing platform where consumers get to choose which causes they would like to invest in through their purchases. By allowing small and large brands the opportunity to allocate a specific margin to be invested for a cause, and then letting consumers choose exactly which cause they would like to advocate, IMPCT is encouraging its stakeholders to be mindful about how they vote with their dollar.

IMPCT’s story began in 2014 when it was founded by five MBA classmates from Taiwan’s National Chengchi University as an entry into the prestigious Hult Prize Challenge. The initial award-winning idea formed by co-founders Jessi Fu, An-Nung Chen, Taylor Scobbie, Juan Diego Prudot, and Andres Escobar was to reinvest funds from impact trade coffee sales to develop a series of IMPCT Playcares; early childhood education centers located in urban slums across Latin America and Africa. They have since built ten Playcares in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and South Africa using profits that they reinvested into microloans for female entrepreneurs living in the slums.

While this old model has achieved success in the Americas, relying solely on B2B coffee sales during the pandemic put severe constraints on the company’s ability to scale. “I do feel like the old company of Impct Coffee has been extended to its [fullest] potential,” stated Jessi Fu, Head of Brand Management, during an interview with e27.

“We’re still running [the old business] in Taiwan. Taiwan has one store and then we are also doing a lot of B2B sales and events because currently, Taiwan is the only place you can do all of that.”

Adding purpose to your every purchase

With the success of IMPCT and as a result of the recent global health crisis that has exposed so many societal problems and deficiencies, co-founders Jessi Fu and Taylor Scobbie realised there is so much more work to be done. As such, the duo founded +Purpose, an impact investing platform where consumers get to decide what causes they can support with the simple act of purchasing products from e-commerce platforms like Shopify. +Purpose was founded with the idea that we should be able to add our purpose to everything we buy.

Also read: How fintech startups can fast forward their growth

With the recent pandemic and all the pressing social issues that were exacerbated because of it, they created +Purpose, enabling a larger scale approach to the impact investing framework of IMPCT’s original coffee idea.

With this new project, consumers can decide to add purpose to their purchase not only in buying coffee but when it comes to the multitudes of e-commerce products as well.

Freedom of choice as a feature of the future

During her interview with e27, Fu lamented the general lack of concern East Asian consumers have for the social impact of a brand, commenting that IMPCT was comparatively performing better in the Americas before the pandemic.

“The customers here don’t really care about how you have a cause. [They think that] ‘Yes, it’s good for you to have a cause, to think that the product should do good, but what’s that relative to my life?’ I feel that deeply and I’m kind of disappointed through my experiences here in Taiwan and also in Korea.”

Research supports Fu’s observations of relative apathy among East Asian buyers regarding the ethics of a given brand compared to consumers in the Americas. Findings from a 2019 study by two researchers at Sichuan University indicated that corporate-level ethical identification was a trivial matter to the 328 participants involved in the study.

Also read: Sendbird reaches unicorn status amidst growing need for mobile communications

However, freedom of choice may be the key to rousing sentiment, as the level of care each consumer holds for a given ethical issue is relative to both the individual and the cause. Consumer A could be willing to donate to support marine conservation, whereas Consumer B could care more about women’s reproductive rights. This variability is precisely why the freedom of choice built into +Purpose’s new business model is crucial to encourage mindful consumer behaviour.

In her interview with e27, Fu compared the impact trade model against the way certain brands use charity as an advertising strategy, pointing out the inherent ineffectuality in companies that give out free shoes to hungry children in developing nations as if it affects any meaningful change.

“Why would you care if you buy shoes and [the seller donates] another pair, but you don’t know where it goes? Maybe you care about another cause.”

“We want consumers to decide for themselves and not have the brands decide where their impact will go.”

Everyone can be an impact investor through +Purpose

While impact investing and ethical consumerism are not new concepts, the +Purpose trade model allows consumers and small brands to put their money where their values lie by allowing their purchases to speak for them. 5% of each purchase on the +Purpose e-commerce platform earns a buyer “impact credits” in a similar way to a cashback reward program, which they can then reinvest in causes like education, environmental conservation, or social movements. Brands get to decide how much to invest in a given cause, while consumers get to decide to which cause they would like to advocate.

Also read: KoinWorks hits profitability, securing 100k SMEs as early adopters for its NEO product

Compared to traditional CSR methods like reducing carbon footprint, volunteerism, and philanthropy, many of which are only accessible to larger corporations, +Purpose provides an e-commerce platform where even small businesses can make direct financial contributions to the advancement of a cause.

“Nowadays all of the big companies have to do CSR — but the issue is that they are big brands, so they actually have room to do those kinds of things,” noted Fu. “But what about small brands? Small brands also want to do good.”

Future plans

IMPCT currently has several team members spread across the Americas and Asia, and their e-commerce platform is slated to launch within the second quarter of 2021. While the platform’s main target market remains the United States, it will be accepting orders worldwide. In addition to winning the $1,000,000 Hult Prize Challenge in 2014, IMPCT has also previously participated in the UC Berkeley Skydeck Accelerator and Pear VC Summer Program in 2019 and onboarded Uber, Salesforce, Adobe, and Cisco as enterprise clients.

Meanwhile, +Purpose is looking to expand their operations by exploring potential partnerships with more e-commerce platforms.

For more information, contact +Purpose through this link. You can also check out IMPCT’s website here.

One day barista @ impctcoffee – YouTube Founder Steve Chen

– –

This article is produced by the e27 team, sponsored by 
+Purpose

We can share your story at e27, too. Engage the Southeast Asian tech ecosystem by bringing your story to the world. Visit us at e27.co/advertise to get started.

The post How this Taiwan-based company adds purpose to your purchase appeared first on e27.

,

What started as a social enterprise focused on providing specialty coffee called IMPCT Coffee, Taiwan-based startup IMPCT has transformed itself into an impact investing platform where consumers get to choose which causes they would like to invest in through their purchases. By allowing small and large brands the opportunity to allocate a specific margin to be invested for a cause, and then letting consumers choose exactly which cause they would like to advocate, IMPCT is encouraging its stakeholders to be mindful about how they vote with their dollar.

IMPCT’s story began in 2014 when it was founded by five MBA classmates from Taiwan’s National Chengchi University as an entry into the prestigious Hult Prize Challenge. The initial award-winning idea formed by co-founders Jessi Fu, An-Nung Chen, Taylor Scobbie, Juan Diego Prudot, and Andres Escobar was to reinvest funds from impact trade coffee sales to develop a series of IMPCT Playcares; early childhood education centers located in urban slums across Latin America and Africa. They have since built ten Playcares in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and South Africa using profits that they reinvested into microloans for female entrepreneurs living in the slums.

While this old model has achieved success in the Americas, relying solely on B2B coffee sales during the pandemic put severe constraints on the company’s ability to scale. “I do feel like the old company of Impct Coffee has been extended to its [fullest] potential,” stated Jessi Fu, Head of Brand Management, during an interview with e27.

“We’re still running [the old business] in Taiwan. Taiwan has one store and then we are also doing a lot of B2B sales and events because currently, Taiwan is the only place you can do all of that.”

Adding purpose to your every purchase

With the success of IMPCT and as a result of the recent global health crisis that has exposed so many societal problems and deficiencies, co-founders Jessi Fu and Taylor Scobbie realised there is so much more work to be done. As such, the duo founded +Purpose, an impact investing platform where consumers get to decide what causes they can support with the simple act of purchasing products from e-commerce platforms like Shopify. +Purpose was founded with the idea that we should be able to add our purpose to everything we buy.

Also read: How fintech startups can fast forward their growth

With the recent pandemic and all the pressing social issues that were exacerbated because of it, they created +Purpose, enabling a larger scale approach to the impact investing framework of IMPCT’s original coffee idea.

With this new project, consumers can decide to add purpose to their purchase not only in buying coffee but when it comes to the multitudes of e-commerce products as well.

Freedom of choice as a feature of the future

During her interview with e27, Fu lamented the general lack of concern East Asian consumers have for the social impact of a brand, commenting that IMPCT was comparatively performing better in the Americas before the pandemic.

“The customers here don’t really care about how you have a cause. [They think that] ‘Yes, it’s good for you to have a cause, to think that the product should do good, but what’s that relative to my life?’ I feel that deeply and I’m kind of disappointed through my experiences here in Taiwan and also in Korea.”

Research supports Fu’s observations of relative apathy among East Asian buyers regarding the ethics of a given brand compared to consumers in the Americas. Findings from a 2019 study by two researchers at Sichuan University indicated that corporate-level ethical identification was a trivial matter to the 328 participants involved in the study.

Also read: Sendbird reaches unicorn status amidst growing need for mobile communications

However, freedom of choice may be the key to rousing sentiment, as the level of care each consumer holds for a given ethical issue is relative to both the individual and the cause. Consumer A could be willing to donate to support marine conservation, whereas Consumer B could care more about women’s reproductive rights. This variability is precisely why the freedom of choice built into +Purpose’s new business model is crucial to encourage mindful consumer behaviour.

In her interview with e27, Fu compared the impact trade model against the way certain brands use charity as an advertising strategy, pointing out the inherent ineffectuality in companies that give out free shoes to hungry children in developing nations as if it affects any meaningful change.

“Why would you care if you buy shoes and [the seller donates] another pair, but you don’t know where it goes? Maybe you care about another cause.”

“We want consumers to decide for themselves and not have the brands decide where their impact will go.”

Everyone can be an impact investor through +Purpose

While impact investing and ethical consumerism are not new concepts, the +Purpose trade model allows consumers and small brands to put their money where their values lie by allowing their purchases to speak for them. 5% of each purchase on the +Purpose e-commerce platform earns a buyer “impact credits” in a similar way to a cashback reward program, which they can then reinvest in causes like education, environmental conservation, or social movements. Brands get to decide how much to invest in a given cause, while consumers get to decide to which cause they would like to advocate.

Also read: KoinWorks hits profitability, securing 100k SMEs as early adopters for its NEO product

Compared to traditional CSR methods like reducing carbon footprint, volunteerism, and philanthropy, many of which are only accessible to larger corporations, +Purpose provides an e-commerce platform where even small businesses can make direct financial contributions to the advancement of a cause.

“Nowadays all of the big companies have to do CSR — but the issue is that they are big brands, so they actually have room to do those kinds of things,” noted Fu. “But what about small brands? Small brands also want to do good.”

Future plans

IMPCT currently has several team members spread across the Americas and Asia, and their e-commerce platform is slated to launch within the second quarter of 2021. While the platform’s main target market remains the United States, it will be accepting orders worldwide. In addition to winning the $1,000,000 Hult Prize Challenge in 2014, IMPCT has also previously participated in the UC Berkeley Skydeck Accelerator and Pear VC Summer Program in 2019 and onboarded Uber, Salesforce, Adobe, and Cisco as enterprise clients.

Meanwhile, +Purpose is looking to expand their operations by exploring potential partnerships with more e-commerce platforms.

For more information, contact +Purpose through this link. You can also check out IMPCT’s website here.

One day barista @ impctcoffee – YouTube Founder Steve Chen

– –

This article is produced by the e27 team, sponsored by 
+Purpose

We can share your story at e27, too. Engage the Southeast Asian tech ecosystem by bringing your story to the world. Visit us at e27.co/advertise to get started.

The post How this Taiwan-based company adds purpose to your purchase appeared first on e27.

Leave a Reply