Matt Cooper: Dad, Husband, and Crowdfunder
As Chief Commercial Officer for Crowdcube, a crowdfunding platform for businesses, I’ve been incredibly fortunate to interact with a variety of entrepreneurs. They’re restless, challenging - and for the most part, fearless in their mission to solve big problems. They’re why I love my job.
I met Alex early on in my time at Crowdcube - he was building a business called JustPark, designed to make parking easier by connecting drivers with spaces via their phones. Even then, he was constantly searching for ways to solve large, difficult problems with technology. And his latest venture, Beam, is so inspiring - I feel like I’m telling people about it constantly.
Beam helps the people referred to them to progress into stable, paid work by crowdfunding the costs of their education and supporting them on their journey. Where temporary accommodation and unstable living situations reduce their chances of returning to employment, Beam steps in. They provide a way to place the power into the hands of the many, and give people a safe way to make a direct impact. When you see someone on the street, you want to help, but you don’t know how - with Beam, you can see exactly where your donation goes and whom it empowers. It’s a transparent, efficient way forward.
Teaching my children about homelessness
While I love the use of crowdfunding to help socio-economic issues, what really hooks me is the ability to invest as a family. We get updates as a group, and it’s helped to trigger some vital conversations. It can be tough to talk to my children (aged 7 and 4) about why some people are homeless, cold, and hungry - it’s really difficult to expose them to these issues, and help them empathise. I’m personally reminded of how lucky I am when I read about Beam members who have kids.
Beam gives me the opportunity to teach my children that the warm, secure, middle-class bubble they live in is not everyone’s reality. It helps me to teach them that the homeless are often trying hard to correct their lives, and we can support that in a small way as a family. I’d recommend other parents think about how they can encourage their children to think about these social issues - for us, Beam has been a very positive solution.
I recently read a book called Who Cares Wins: Why Good Business is Better Business. It states that the most successful leaders will be those who are the most socially responsible. Based on that, I’ve no doubt that the Beam team will go far.
If you’d like to find out more about the work Beam do, click here.