Ever wanted to volunteer for a charity, but never had enough time?Now you can hire someone to do charity work for you with Exec, a Y Combinator backed startup.
Exec is a startup that lets you hire “execs” for an hourly fee to complete tasks, like assembling a table or picking up a package.
Exec isn’t strictly based on charity work. It’s just doing this as a promotion to raise awareness about its service. This is a surprisingly crowded field. TaskRabbit and Zaarly are two other startups that let you hire someone to run errands for you.
Exec is led by Justin Kan, who also founded Justin.tv, another Y Combinator company that’s seen a lot of success since re-branding to streaming video games as Twitch.tv.
We caught up with Kan to find out why they went this route. Here’s what we learned:
- It’s just a test-run to find out if it’s popular. If there’s a lot of traction, then Exec will consider moving it to new cities.
- It’s not really lazy activism. Essentially it’s like donating money to a charity, except you know the tangible impact of your donation to that charity because you’re hiring a helping hand.
- Still, it’s a funny and fun idea that could have a lot of impact. The idea came from a post on Facebook from one of Kan’s friends.
Here’s a lightly-edited transcript of the interview:
BI: How are things going with Exec?
JUSTIN KAN: Things are going really well, it’s growing, just picked up a bunch of new customers. Dropbox is using us, we’re still trying to figure out if we’re gonna expand. We’re doing a promotion this week that we’re pretty excited about. We’re gonna allow people to pay for someone to volunteer for them at local San Francisco charities. We figured that was an interesting angle that hadn’t been done before. We want to make it a regular thing, give back every couple of months, so the latest idea that my friends actually had, he thought of it on Facebook and posted in on Facebook.
BI: What do you mean working on a charity?
JK: We’ll let you choose from a couple charities. We think we can uses an exec to do something in person like working on events, like dinners. For example, you can also hire an Exec to work an after-school program.
BI: Worried people might just consider this another form of lazy activism?
JK: I think that’s definitely something that people will ask, but you are donating money. It’s better than liking something on Facebook and not doing anything after that
“It’s better than liking something on Facebook and not doing anything after that.”
. You’re putting your money where your mouth is. We’ve pre-vetted the charities, and we’re just using ones that were qualified to use Exec at the time. We talked to them to make sure it’s useful to them. It does fit that angle, it’s better than doing nothing.
BI: Do you think this is a one-time thing or do you plan on doing it often?
JK: We’re gonna run it for a month and see, charities are pretty locally specific to San Francisco. So when we launch other places we’re going to have to figure out different ones. A couple of other charities asked me, they’re interested in us coming to other cities. If people actually like it and it’s an idea that resonates with other people, if it’s just something that’s more interesting, then we’ll figure out some other stuff we can do.
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