Recoup “hottest” startup of the year

It has little more than a year, a promising future on the horizon and, surprisingly, speaks Italian. It is “”, the first eCommerce platform that uses the marketing for solidarity to connect companies, NGOs and consumers in a beneficial way for everyone. A young startup conceived and launched in the U.S., in Washington, coincidentally, by two Roman entrepreneurs established overseas for some time. In October, 2013, Recoup was awarded the title of “hottest” startup of the year, in the District of Columbia, a further confirmation of the extraordinary creativity and the undoubted entrepreneurial skills of Italians. The prestigious award was given by investors and the public as part of the Tech Cocktail Event in DC, the first American showcase to promote the most dynamic and innovative startup of the year, starting with the individual states. The numbers of this new Italian reality abroad speak for themselves: since July 2012, when it was founded, to date, Recoup has reached more than 300 thousand users, developed a network of 300 NGOs partners of the platform and generated a surplus of donations of 100 thousand dollars since its launch. But what is behind Recoup and behind its performance? No doubt a good deal of courage and a lot of initiative. Two “qualifying” traits, the co-founders of the company share them: the CEO, Gianluca Pivato, and the chief operating officer, Claudio Bazzichelli. Both them arrived in the States many years ago and began to expand their first business activities. Pivato, in the field of technology to modernize outdated systems and Bazzichelli, a mechanical and aerospace engineer, in the field of fashion. It takes little to see, with their respective professions, that the eCommerce market in the United States, is particularly strong, that Americans are extraordinarily sensitive to social causes, and that the U.S. Capital is the right place to be able to contact big charitable agencies and non-governmental organizations. So the idea of jointly launch a new business based on the marketing of “cause-marketing”, which pursues objectives of a commercial nature while supporting donations for a social cause, in order to ensure maximum transparency and the greater benefit of all, was born. With Recoup, in fact, companies promote their brand by aligning it with NGO preference and entering an online sales channel for their products which, through NGOs, will be able to reach new customers. The NGOs, in turn, gain visibility but also more opportunities to receive donations, which are associated with the purchase of each product. Finally, consumers get out of Recoup products at competitive prices and, when they purchase online, can choose the NGO which donate a portion of the purchase price.
As claimed by the two co-founders, is to “buy, save and donate transparently generating a mutual benefit for all”. A business concept that, for now, is proving to be successful and it is for this that Benvenuta Italia wanted to know more. “Every purchase generates a donation by Recoup 10% of the sale price and the user decides which NGOs must’ be accredited”, says Chief Operating Officer, Claudio Bazzichelli. “The strength compared to traditional cause-marketing launched by giants like American Express and Coca- Cola?. Before, they were large companies to decide how and to whom devolve leaving consumers completely out of this choice today – he continues – Recoup revolutionizes this concept by putting the decision-making power in the hands of the end user that directs its purchasing power for the benefit of NGOs he is interested on, knowing exactly how much will donate Recoup and with the option of adding a contribution to his tax-deductible”. Among the Recoup NGO partners, there are established reality as Refugees International, Save the Children, Doctors without borders, and the Society for the Leukemia and Lymphoma. “NGOs – adds Bazzichelli – have every incentive to bring their supporters, generally high level consumers, on Recoup offering them the opportunity to save money on a wide range of products and services, because those purchases swell donations to their cause.” On the other hand, the fact that important Ongs are Recoup partner, further ensures the user with respect to the reliability and validity of the platform. A mechanism that, so far, has allowed Recuop to promote themselves on a variety of channels and quickly increase the customer base. It should be noted, as shown by the Recoup’s “fathers”, that “in a world where the traditional sales channels are saturated and handled by large companies, the new platform offers a unique model that gives power to the people and allows them, buying online, to receive an added value”. In perspective, the aim of the founders is to transform the platform into an important sales channel for thousands of products “with a model similar to Amazon, Fab and Wayfare – they point out – but with the differential of the philanthropic component, which retrieves a part of the transaction and puts it back on the market for charity addressed to crucial causes all over the world”. The first step will be to find investors to Recoup allowing to quickly reach an economy of scale through a considerable increase in the number of users. “The idea Bazzichelli notes – is to trigger a chain reaction as the more our customers increase, the more the revenue increase and therefore the donations, and so the thrust of our NGO partners will be greater to increase even more the number of users”. The logic is that of the domino effect, that once triggered, it will not stop. Have they ever thought of “export” Recoup in Italy? The founders do not exclude it but this will certainly be a next step. “First we want to focus on the American market where eCommerce is very strong and where donations (note also because of the policy of tax exemption) are daily and not just a niche practice”. When Recoup become a platform of choice for Americans, “then we will study a plan of expansion in Europe and in other countries”. Meanwhile, Recoup has already come forward to acquire six more American PMA active in the market of cause-marketing. And among the upcoming projects in the pipeline there is that, when finalized, to create the “Facebook Commerce” that will allow NGO partners to enter the entire platform Recoup within their Facebook pages, which, in fact, give you the opportunity to reach a number of potential new users, difficult to quantify. It is currently developing the project for the launch of a new website that can accommodate thousands of products, easy searching and how to purchase. A project that, according to the management, will be completed by the end of this year. Other projects deal with the strengthening of communication with NGOs and, finally, the strengthening of their ability to act as a “sounding board” to attract new supporters-users. It’s true, Recoup speaks Italian but his landing in the Bel Paese is not yet on the agenda. However, the seeds to reach the “big-size”, essential for the international expansion, have already been launched.

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