Entrepreneurship, On Campus

PollKarma: A start-up making a difference in a minute

It all started in class.  In those precious few moments before the session begins – what is there to do but play some Angry Birds? Let’s face it – we all waste a ton of time on our phones.  The data (thankfully) shows we’re not alone in this – the average smartphone owner spends more than 30 minutes a day gaming on their phone. Why not use this time to make a difference?

After talking with some potential customers we found that many companies were eager to find better ways to conduct market research.  They found reaching young, affluent, and mobile urban dwellers (you!) to be a particularly difficult task.  This challenge is made all the more urgent by the lucrative nature of this audience.

Companies try all sorts of incentives to encourage consumers to engage in market research.  This is a constant struggle with constantly mediocre results.  The missing key is motivation.  What do consumers want in exchange for a few precious moments of their time?  A billion dollars is spent in market research each year to answer this question.

Luckily, we have found a solution – charitable donation.  When offered a small donation to the charity of their choice users were twice as likely to complete a survey.  We also found users were three times more likely to download a mobile app.  This made charitable incentives a clear winner and led to the birth of PollKarma.

PollKarma is the best way to make a difference in a minute.  The platform supports all browsers and the vast majority of mobile devices through our HTML5 platform (Android/iOS coming soon). Users can sign up with one click with Facebook Connect, pick their favorite charity to support, and start answering questions.  Every time a question is answered the company that submitted it will donate to the user’s favorite charity.

Companies have found this to be a uniquely engaging way to conduct market research while publicly supporting prominent charities.  Users have found this to be a great way to donate the spare moments of their lives to worthy causes. And, charities love this new way for donors to make a daily connection to their cause.

PollKarma is now in open Beta and I would love for some fellow HBSers to give the platform a try.

Got some spare time?  Sign up and answer questions for your favorite charity.

Have a business idea or just a random question you want to test?  Submit it to our system and we’ll do the rest.  During the beta period – you can earn ‘answers’ from other users by answering some questions yourself first (free!).  Once the answers are in our system will provide full respondent demographics.

I lovingly crafted this, every pixel and line of code, myself and I’m always looking for ways to improve so please send mail to: ckhormaee@mba2013.hbs.edu.

September 5, 2012
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