What is the 30under30?
30under30 is an Anthill initiative launched in early 2008 to encourage and promote entrepreneurship among young Australians.
Each year, we invite our readers to nominate young Australian entrepreneurs deserving of recognition for their outstanding entrepreneurial endeavours. More.
Matthew Alberto, NSW (b. 1986)
Name: Matthew Alberto
Age: 28 (Born: June 1986)
Phuong Nguyen, NSW (b. 1987)
Name: Phuong Nguyen
Age: 26 (Born: October 1987)
Both known for: PeoplePledge
Matthew Alberto and Phuong Nguyen are the brains behind PeoplePledge, a medical crowdfunding platform that helps Australians to easily set up online fundraising pages for their loved ones with an illness or disability to help cover medical expenses, such as treatment or surgery costs and home modifications or equipment.
By sharing the fundraising page via word of mouth and social media, Australians can raise thousands of dollars within a matter of only 30 or 60 days.
Matthew and Phuong’s motivations to start PeoplePledge in 2013 were very much related.
Matthew revealed that his family struggled with the high costs of medical care when his grandfather suffered with cancer, so he’s driven to help other families out there who may also be struggling financially with sick loved ones.
Phuong is driven by her passion to help people, especially with her background in social work, and by her discovery that many Australian families struggling with the rising costs of medical bills.
Furthermore, before PeoplePledge, they both worked with 3CK – a web design and online marketing business, founded in 2011, focused on helping Australian nonprofits raise more funds, raise awareness and recruit volunteers.
Matthew and Phuong both got honourable mentions at last year’s 30under30s as up and comers worth keeping an eye on. As you can see now, we were spot on.
They have since founded PeoplePledge which has raised over $150,000 in its first year of operations and managed to convince five superstar advisors to join their Board of Advisors, including VP of Marketing for Falabella.com, CEO of Blue Company, Venture Capitalist at Fen Ventures and Founder of crowdlending platform, Cumplo.
Matthew and Phuong have also received $24,000 funding from NEIS and pitched at the Microsoft App Acceleration Camp. PeoplePledge was also named one of 2014’s SMART 100 innovations.
They also won the Startup Chile funding of $40,000 and joined the accelerator program. As part of the program, they did two successful pitches in front of investors, peers and Startup Chile staff, which recognised PeoplePledge as one of the top 16 start-ups of the program.
PeoplePledge has so far helped 50 Australian struggling families, with other 1500 donor members and is now expanding to three more countries.
Matthew and Phuong have enjoyed a lot of media coverage, being featured on TV and radio thrice and in newspapers and magazines over 15 times.
However, noble as its mission is, it hasn’t been smooth sailing throughout for PeoplePledge.
Matthew disclosed to Anthill that the NSW OGLR contacted their team explaining that their medical crowdfunding website may potentially offend the NSW Charitable Fundraising laws.
You see, Australia’s state governments each have charitable fundraising laws, many of which were made decades ago, some 20 years ago before the internet and others from as far back as the 1940s.
“We are overcoming this by consulting our Board of Advisors, including the co-founder of a crowdlending platform and a start-up lawyer,” Matthew said.
“Despite the stress with regulatory compliance, we moved forward, recognising that innovation often faces challenges with old, unaccommodating laws. We sought legal advice and tailored our website to ensure compliance,” he added.
However, on the other side of the scale, they have also had an unexpected opportunity fall in their laps. Matthew shared their story of winning the 2013 Pride of Australia medal.
“Two users of our PeoplePledge website nominated us, the co-founders, for the Pride of Australia Medal. We didn’t ask them to nominate us, and we were just so lucky that they did so. We took advantage of the opportunity by accepting the nomination, and we were lucky that we eventually won the medal.”
“After winning the medal, we took advantage of the win by featuring our story and website on TV’s Meet the Press, the Sunday Telegraph and a number of local newspapers, which attracted even more fundraisers and donors to our website.”
Anthill asks: Matthew Alberto and Phuong Nguyen, what are your super powers?
MATTHEW: Vision, passion and rapid execution – I can see business opportunities and market gaps that others cannot see, and I execute faster than my competition. I have the power to see the bigger picture, and to visualise my goals and long term results that I want to accomplish. Then I have the determination and focus to persistently and quickly take action, through my leadership skills in orchestrating a team, so that my goals can be transformed into reality. I have immense emotional passion for my business and my customers that mere mortals don’t have.
PHUONG: Innovative creativity mixed with disciplined execution and passion – I have the power to turn basic wireframes and sketches into cool yet functional user interfaces and user experiences that people love. Although I’m creative, I also know how to discipline myself to keep to tight deadlines and motivate my team to achieve their tasks so that the business’s goals are achieved effectively. I also use my creative powers for causes that I’m passionate about, so I put my heart into my work which helps me to work harder and more persistently than my competitors and other mere mortals.
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