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Vegan social app abillion has announced it is giving its users the option to own shares in the company. The company says this represents a new concept of ownership and allows users of the social platform to take a vested interest in its success. Previously, credits amassed by leaving reviews of vegan products could only be donated to good causes. Every review earns a user $1. Now, credits can be used to own a stake in the company.
$1 in review credit will equal a $1 stake in the company when it goes public. Users will still be able to support good causes with their rewards if they prefer. Since its launch in 2018, abillion has given more than $1.4 million to worthy causes, including Sea Shepherd and One Tree Planted. Platform users can choose from over 60 recipients.
Sustainable social media
Since its inception, abillion has sought to stand out in the social platform sector by keeping environmentalism at its core. It was founded, by Vikas Garg, to help individuals and businesses to be more aware of their choices and proactive about sustainability. Now, with an ever-growing community in place, Garg wants to give members even more control. “We’re uniquely positioned as a social media and technology company that’s built around shared values that extend beyond our staff and offices and embody the values of our members,” the CEO said in a statement. “As a community built around a mission, we want to break the mold of Silicon Valley founders that own and control companies without bearing any responsibility to their users and society at large.”
To benefit from equity share, abillion users will see an “abillion Community Equity” badge amongst the charities already supported. Members just need to click on the badge to participate, which will gain them credits towards ownership. Every dollar will be translated into share allocation following an IPO. The company has decided to impose no limits as to how much of the company can be owned by its users. More than one million users have downloaded the abillion app, across 166 countries.
In 2020, Garg said his platform had created a “meritocracy of vegan food”. With this latest idea, he is developing democracy of ownership as well.
Investing in the future
To date, abillion has raised $17 million in funding. A $10 million Series A in December last year was the most significant raise to date.
The round was led by 1/0 capital and will allow the platform to diversify to include a peer-to-peer marketplace. It is hoped that access to a committed network of potential consumers will encourage users to become sustainable entrepreneurs themselves.
Existing reviews on the site offer insights into what customers want, need and prefer, thereby creating data to build a business plan on.
A new breed of leaders
Garg is not alone in looking to break away from leadership norms.
Recently, Miyoko Schinner, founder and CEO of Miyoko’s Creamery, made the decision to admit to a mistake and set wheels in motion to rectify it.
In a candid admission, she revealed that the company had “dumbed down” its approach to artisanal cheesemaking, to chase a growing market sector. Schinner revealed that the move had made her uncomfortable and proven to be a compromise that she couldn’t live with. As a result, the shreds and slices that had been released have been discontinued forever.