This Company Wants to Change How People and Teams Find Volunteer Opportunities The co-founder of Vee shares how her company is connecting nonprofits from around the world with companies seeking involvement with local volunteering.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
May Piamenta is on a mission to help nonprofits everywhere find qualified volunteers. She sat down with Jessica Abo to discuss her company, Vee, and its just-announced 12 million-dollar seed round.
Jessica Abo: Where were you in your life when you came up with the idea to create Vee?
May Piamenta: I just got released from my army service after managing volunteering for five years at a global nonprofit organization. To be honest, I didn't know where to start, but I really wanted to solve this problem.
What was the first step that you took to make your business a reality?
I just shared this idea with everyone, my parents, my friends, everyone.
Did anybody tell you this is a crazy idea and it's never going to work?
No. That's an interesting question because everyone just said, "We really want this to work." People didn't know of any similar solution that exists.
How did you go from having these conversations to a company with 30 employees?
The first thing I did was just write everything down on a paper, "What's the problem? What's the solution?" I shared it with a lot of people, some of them became my team, my co-founders, my investors. Shared, shared and shared. That is how I built this from day one.
How does Vee work?
Vee is a solution for volunteering. We call it The Platform For Good. Vee helps people and teams from all around the world to connect with nonprofits that are looking for qualified volunteers. For the nonprofits, Vee is free. We already work in over ten countries. We're super happy to see how this changes the way people are giving back, and proud of how easy it is to discover and coordinate volunteering operations, both for the nonprofits and the corporations.
When someone goes into your platform, what will they see?
As a person enters the platform, either an HR person or an employee, student, anyone basically, they see a marketplace of volunteer opportunities around the world; both remote opportunities and local, physical opportunities. They can coordinate the event end-to-end, send invites and share the experience on social media, all in one place.
How do companies work with you?
Once they're on board, they get a super-cool CRM where they can see the volunteering hours and get reports on the volunteering of their employees, share those with the executive level and see the feedback from employees. With Vee, groups of employees within the same company that would have never met are connected. It's not just the volunteering itself, but the value that teams get from the deeper connection that's being created between employees. And of course, the value of giving back.
What do you think makes Vee unique?
It's way more than a product, but actually a movement, a community of people from around the world who are cheering and following the cause across various social media channels. A lot of our growth is organic, but we also target people on social media, and reach out to HR teams and nonprofits to join Vee. We recently entered the U.S., so that's very exciting.
Let's talk about your $12 million seed round.
This round blew my mind. In my wildest dreams, I wouldn't have thought that we were going to bring such incredible people to the table, both VCs and angel investors who are well-known entrepreneurs in Israel and in the U.S. This round, well, really went across and beyond all of my dreams.
What do you want to say to the person out there who wants to see their dreams come true?
Be as practical as you can. I would say, take a notebook with you wherever you go, write down anything you can, learn all the time from every person you meet and listen, just listen; then take all that knowledge that you get and try. Even if you fail, you have to try. If I would have never started Vee, I would never know that I know how to be a CEO, that I know how to recruit people and raise funds. So keep trying, because that's what really works.