This guest post was written by Christian Cotichini, co-founder and CEO of HeroX, the world’s problem solver community. Christian has over 20 years of experience leading startup and high growth technology companies; he is an active angel investor and mentors startup entrepreneurs.
Here we are, about two years into the HeroX experiment: what happens when we unleash the power of incentive challenges to everyone, anywhere, in the whole world?
So far, I couldn’t be happier.
I co-founded HeroX together with Peter Diamandis and Emily Fowler from the XPRIZE Foundation. Peter, of course, needs little introduction. Inspired by the original Orteig Prize, which took Charles Lindbergh across the Atlantic Ocean in 1927, Peter created the Ansari XPRIZE, a $10 million prize awarded to the first private reusable spacecraft to reach an altitude of 100 km, twice within two weeks.
The prize was won in October 2004 by Scaled Composites, and the technology was licensed to create Virgin Galactic. Within the next few years, the general public will be able to get their astronaut wings.
From this revolutionary beginning, the XPRIZE Foundation was created, to use the power of incentive challenges to solve some of the biggest problems that humankind faces: education, medicine, and the environment. My co-founder, Emily Fowler, cut her teeth designing some of the most impactful challenges unleashed by the XPRIZE.
But the problem has always been one of focus. The XPRIZE Foundation only has the bandwidth to deal with a few fundamental challenges at a time, like the Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE, to revolutionize health care diagnosis, or the Google Lunar XPRIZE, to send a private rover to the Moon.
Peter, Emily and I knew this technology had the potential to make an even deeper impact, unleashing breakthroughs across every part of society – if they could just give everyone the tools.
This was the vision for HeroX, to become the world’s problem solving platform.
What if there were no barriers to creating your own XPRIZE-style challenge, just the willingness and ingenuity of the crowd?
We’ve already seen what can be done with so many other crowdsourcing/crowdfunding concepts: Wikipedia, AirBnB, Indiegogo, GoFundme, and many others.
Why are these organizations succeeding? They trust in the crowd.
I believe that the crowd knows more about achieving breakthroughs with incentive challenges than we ever will, we just need to give them the tools. Crowdsourcing pushes the power away from the gatekeepers, the middlemen, to the endpoints of the Internet.
What if anyone on Earth could design and launch an XPRIZE-style challenge? What if entire communities that cared passionately about the outcome could raise the funds to incentivize the breakthrough? What if anyone, anywhere, could compete to solve the challenge?
So we created a platform to give everyone the tools: HeroX.com.
I’m really proud of what we created in these two years. We built an amazing and robust platform that lets anyone create, launch and run their own incentive challenge. Seriously, if you’re inspired by the XPRIZE and want to try this out for yourself, you can get started today.
Now it’s time to take things to the next level, and get more people using it. We need more challenges on the platform, and we need to learn what it’s going to take so that anyone can create breakthroughs for what they care about.
It’s time to raise some money and scale up our business. In our industry, we use a term called “dogfooding”, which means that if you’re going to trust your business to a concept, like “crowdsourcing”, you should go all in. You should be willing to eat your own dogfood.
And we’re all in when it comes to the crowd. Instead of going the traditional venture capitalist route, we’ve decided to partner with a crowdsourced financing company called OurCrowd.
OurCrowd is a really amazing concept. It allows accredited investors from around the world to pool their funds and act like a larger venture capitalist. OurCrowd provides the tools, analysis and due diligence to protect the investors, but also gives them opportunities to which they wouldn’t normally have access.
Investment and venture financing is due for some disruption, and the solution, as always, will come from the crowd.
You can read more about OurCrowd’s decision to back HeroX here.
Thanks to all our clients, partners and my amazing team. I’m really excited about this next stage for HeroX.
Want to learn more about HeroX? Join our conversation with XPRIZE Founder, Dr. Peter Diamandis, and SaaS entrepreneur, Christian Cotichini, who pioneered the incentive finance model of global problem solving.
Monday, July 13th (10:30 PM Israel / 3:30 PM NYC / 12:30 PM San Francisco)
Opinions expressed within this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent our opinions.