What does “Community Funded” mean?
With normal tech start-ups, you’re supposed to go from MVP (minimum viable product) to fundraising (Venture Capital or Angel funding) to world domination (or bust). As our mission with TISCreport is world liberation, we felt that the drive for scale might put us in a position where our funders could inadvertently ask us to make a choice between profit and purpose. So we chose profit-with-purpose. This techfund site is how we intend to grow transparently and openly: in partnership with anyone and everyone who believes that we have to change the game in order for our planet and its most vulnerable people to be able to win..
What is a Transparency in Supply Chains Platform?
It is a platform that uses live supply chains as the digital infrastructure upon which to build new technologies aimed at increasing transparency and better human rights outcomes.
How does the Techfund process work?
It starts with an idea (from our members, our advisory boards or our team) to use corporate transparency to do some good, either locally, nationally or internationally. That idea is worked up into a visualisation of possibilities. If its a new commercial feature or data set, it will launch into the funding phase immediately. It will then be developed once either enough members have pledged their first year’s discounted subscription fees OR if a sponsor/funding body steps up to get the feature developed earlier.
However if there is a research aspect to the proposed project, then it is possible that fundraising will be accompanied by the recruitment of a steering board to help develop a funding application.
I want to steer a project: what is involved?
We keep steering boards as light as possible in the early stages because we know time is precious. So we do a lot of the heavy lifting via Basecamp, an online collaboration space. Some steering group members will be more involved than others. Our academic partners who wish to make use of data that might be generated as an output from the project for joint publications will have committed significant resource to the funding bid application process to ensure a successful outcome. Others will make use of their networks and expertise to maximise the success of the project, or locate sources of funding. Just tell us how much time you have to invest in making the project a success and we’ll do our very best to make good use of it. You can see our terms of reference here.
I’m interested in a creative sabbatical to work on a project: how do they work?
A creative sabbatical is an opportunity for your employer to fund your time working on one of our planet-saving projects for a few months as a reward for dedicated service. They can last from one month to six months and are agreed between us and your employer so that you get to renew your passion for your work whilst making a real difference. We don’t believe in unpaid internships or sabbaticals so your income needs to come from somewhere solid. Creative sabbaticals are a win-win as they have been known to significantly reduce the loss of key staff members from companies due to the amount of impact achievable within a short project timeframe. If your employer offers these opportunities as part of their remuneration package, get in touch. By enabling us to second your skills and expertise, they can rightfully feel ownership of the successes you achieve while you’re with us.
I’m an employer looking to offer creative sabbaticals for my employees: how do I progress this with you?
Fantastic! If you get in touch with us at TISCreport we will be able to work with you to arrange the details, from timescales to involvement in specific projects and feeding back outcomes against specific criteria for your annual report etc (e.g. UN Sustainable Development Goals).
Your funding targets are unbelievably low for what they say they will achieve. How is that possible?
Quite simply, our tiny team at Semantrica Ltd has invested over three years of our effort into developing a robust operating system for tracking transparency in supply chains. In resource terms, what we have created for the TISCreport platform equates to over £0.75M, and has been developed completely as a self-funded labour of love. The projects we are now launching will integrate tightly with our frameworks which enables us to take advantage of technologies and data sets that have previously never been connected before. So yes, the projects require far less funding to achieve than ones aiming to do so independently of our platform.