Featured in Forbes magazine CzechSpring 2017
A Czech team is developing a unique charitable application and a social network which can help contribute and join to do good things in the U.S. In the course of time, the whole world is said to join. Why the U.S. first and how does the application work?
I heard about developing this application in the Czech Centre in New York this year for the first time, it was already known there. Then I managed to do an interview with Michal Valta, founder, and Vladislava Závrská, spokesperson and initiator, before they went to Texas. They usually are either in the U.S. or on the way there. The members of the team developing the viaGoood application are located in Olomouc, Prague, London and Venice in Florida.
The name viaGoood, which means the way towards better, crossed Michal Valta's mind many years ago. Several good and one bad thing led to the start of this application. One of the good ones was that Michal founded a software company thirteen years ago so he had an efficient IT team. Even though he specialized in real estate marketing, he has been interested in ways to be useful to people all his life. An idea about a charitable platform came about.
“I felt like helping people, because it made me happy. It has just not had any specific form for many years,” the application founder said. The bad thing was a serious car accident in 2012. The driver fell asleep on the motorway, the car collided with a truck and chances that Michal would survive were tiny. But he did survive. “I realized that life can end anytime and that I mustn't waste time.” He was made to rethink his priorities and with his team began to develop so called Be-good platform.
What is it about? “It is a system anybody can join and contribute to improve the world”, Vladislava Zavrska, executive director, sums up the aim briefly. And she explains it further: “Through Be-good platform, we want to support good activities
which, by the reason of their actions, change the world for the better and help users to enjoy life, to motivate them to do good deeds and develop good relationships. viaGoood is focused on supporting activities of non-governmental organizations and charities and uses power of joining people and multiplying the effect.
The viaGoood team consists of five developers, two graphic designers, analytic, Vladislava Zavrska as a CEO and Michal Valta as a founder and an idea maker. Currently, the application is 25% complete, it cannot be downloaded yet. “We want the project to be as independent as possible; we decided to crowd-fund it on 50000goodpeople.com, our own website. We are looking for such number of good people around the world. Everyone can send US$19 to support the development and help implement the viaGoood platform on the market,” Vladislava Zavrska explains.
Even though I am using the word application, it was explained to me that it was not just an application, but a real social network similar to Facebook. “It should be cool to be on viaGoood as well as it is cool to be on Instagram right now.” both of them agree. There will be sections and interest groups similar to those on other social networks. “I like dogs for example,” Vladislava says. “So I will select animal group, and thus, I will be getting feeds, lovely videos, information, and some news from this section and also info about opportunities to help in this field. Or somebody else likes travelling or nature. On viaGoood you might as well find out about interesting events in your neighborhoods, or that a new organization is about to be founded, or a new dwelling is going to be built, so that you can join them, donate five or ten dollars and then follow what had happened with the money. Not only will you be given a system of numbers like in an annual report, but you will also get to know the current development of the project.”
It is said to be the first Be-good platform of its kind, all others are able to do some of it, including Facebook, through which you can send financial donations in the U.S., but viaGoood should be able to do all of it. It is to help people in difficult situations and protect animals and the environment. The help will be directed with the aim to find out how strong the help is in a certain field and who else has joined the project, for example your friend or someone from your neighborhood. It will involve volunteers as well.
Eventually, the core team of five or six people, who participate in the development of viaGoood, is to function as an editorial team; the content will be necessary to filter, at least in the beginning. However, according to Vladislava, the system's own evaluative system should filter the viaGoood network; every donation will be rated, and thus the system itself should remove anything with a negative rating. I was curious if advertisement will be involved.
There will be some, but it is said to be different and with different aims.
“For instance, a car plant starts to sell a new model. There will be some information about the company's contribution and what project it participated in instead of describing the details about the car,” Michal Valta explains.First in America
The team has been developing the application for the American market so far. Why? Originally, the application and network was to operate in the Czech Republic straight away, where the idea was conceived. Nevertheless, then Michal Valta and his team calculated the cost effectiveness.
The development costs are the same here and in the U.S., while the impact on society would be incomparably higher in the U.S. Michal explains:” Apart from the fact that people in America look in favor of philanthropy much more. They applaud the application and network development. And then, the global start of application is much more convenient in the U.S. than in the Czech Republic.”
The application should be ready by the end of 2017, and then it should be running only in the U.S. for about two years. Vladislava says: “The fact that the team is divided between the U.S. and the Czech Republic, does not matter. Michal and I travel around the U.S. together, the rest of the team works in the Czech Republic. The communication with the team, albeit in different time zones, is perfect. We operate as a flexible, task-orientated team where everyone is responsible for his task. We usually have intensive consultations twice a week when we summarize what has happened and what we need to aim for. The online environment makes communication easy, and I, personally, cannot see any difference whether I am in the U.S. or in the Czech Republic.”Choose to be good
Choose to be good is the motto of the whole activity. The enthusiasm to develop the application is the basis, the whole team believes in the power of philanthropy.
Michal Valta intuitively, Vladislava Zavrska has been involved even professionally. After graduating in journalism and sociology from Palacky University in Olomouc, she devoted herself to social exclusion which she taught at the university too. While she was preparing for a two-month study stay at the university in Kentucky, she was offered to work for viaGoood. She left a stable job and started to work on developing the application. They are both passionate about interconnecting good deeds and technologies.
“We were driven by certain dissatisfaction about how the world is being shaped, and by its picture as well. We would like to support good activities in the world; we want to spread good news, to show everyone the opportunities to make the world better through modern technologies. Based on our analysis, we found that such a complex tool using the force of interconnection between people to change the world which we are part of, is not so easy to find, “ Vladislava Zavrska concludes and she is ready to fly to the U.S.. “viaGoood is basically a lifestyle whose core value is to care and be responsible for the world we form, for our good feeling of self-creation, but also for others, animals and the environment.”
VIAGOOOD is an emerging application and social network that will focus on philanthropy and charitable activities. Michal Valta is its founder and programmer. The application is 25% complete and it mostly takes place in the U.S.. It will start its operation in the U.S. at the beginning of next year.