For most of my career, the goal was to make money. Money for the financial institutions and investors I worked for, and money for me and my colleagues. If you boil it down, that’s what working in finance is about. But four years ago, I took off my cufflinks, threw on a t-shirt, and embarked on a new career in tech.
My goal from the first day I enrolled in coding boot camp, and still my goal today, is to use technology to make the world a better place. For people, animals, and nature.
The work my colleagues and I are doing at abillion, our mission-driven app that helps people to eat, shop, and live sustainably, is catalyzing tremendous positive change. We’ve built a global community committed to making sustainable and ethical choices plentiful and mainstream.
Through abillion, change-makers are sharing their thoughts, dreams, fears, opinions, and ideas, bringing them closer together and their impact more widespread.
They’re also sharing reviews of vegan and sustainable food and consumer products. To date, more than two million reviews have been created, tagging over 140,000 brands in 166 countries. This real-time customer feedback is driving the discovery and growth of plant-based options around the world.
Our community has grown past a million people worldwide. Four years in, we’re achieving the goals I set forth on my kitchen table in 2017. Closing a successful US$10m Series A in December 2021 was recognition that we’re on the verge of a breakthrough.
But as we grow, something has begun to eat at me. The disparity of ownership and control between the technology industry and the people responsible for driving their businesses to success.
Disrupting wealth in the tech industry
What do the names Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Dorsey, Zhang Yiming, and Evan Spiegel have in common? They’re billionaires that take no responsibility for what happens on their platforms.
Powered by scalable internet technologies, these tech founders own and control platforms where success has largely been thanks to the work put in by their users. The wealth produced by their businesses has been mostly kept by the founders and a small crew of insiders and investors.
All of these companies take no responsibility for the damage their platforms have done. This includes spreading hate, violence, and misinformation, but also helping dictators and disrupting elections.
Abillion is not going to be like that. The only billion we want is the number of people caring for the planet. We’ve created a community that looks out for each other, as much as we look out for the animals and the planet.
Earlier this year, we announced our Community Equity Program. For the past three years, we’ve been funding donations to animal sanctuaries and conservation groups around the world every time an abillion member chooses to eat or shop sustainably and shares their experiences on the abillion app.
Now, abillion members can choose a US$1 donation or opt for shares in the company. Every dollar committed equals a dollar’s worth of shares when we go public.
We’re building a company that champions veganism, sustainability, and social impact. And while most of the content on abillion focuses on animal welfare, climate change, and food security, sustainability is not just about nature. It’s also about financial sustainability.
To be a truly sustainable company, we must nurture our community. So that’s why we’re the first and only social media platform in the world where our community is given a stake in the future we’re all working so hard together to create.
I hope that in the years to come we show the world that it’s possible to build a successful technology company that’s driven by shared values and a mission to spread compassion around the world. First, of course, we need to convince millions more to join us on our quest to live more sustainably.
We have a wonderful, supportive and compassionate community already. We’re a million strong, which is still amazing to me. But given the sheer number of people there are in the world, and the number of people that I know are keen to make responsible and ethical consumer choices, we’re still far from what I know the community can be.
So if anything I have written here resonates with you, join us. Be, and own, a part of what I really hope is a completely different company from anything you’ve ever come across. Discover a community that, I know, you will love getting to know.
Vikas Garg is the CEO and founder of abillion, said to be the world’s fastest-growing social media platform that helps people to eat, shop, and live sustainably.