Strolling through Harvard Square during a lunch break, three friends looking to lend a homeless man some change found themselves short. Upset they could not help the homeless man, one of the friends thought “there should be an app for this.” Two years later, Mikey Van Siclen, 22, Alex Gutwillig, 22, and John Steele, 21, launched a Kickstarter page for Roundout, a promising new mobile app that will allow smartphone users to donate varying amounts to charities all over the world with a simple swipe of their finger.
The founders’ intentions are pure. Their mission is to revolutionize the way people can give to charities. “The lack of a simple, at the fingertips donation method is preventing a wider range of people from getting involved with charity -– especially a younger generation,” said Mikey Van Siclen. By building a user-friendly mobile application, the Concord-Carlisle High School graduates will afford donors the opportunity to round transactions up to the nearest nickel, dime, quarter, or dollar, and donate to various charities. Roundout will also include a social feature, allowing users to interact with friends and family. Additionally, the app will keep track of donations through digital receipts, providing users with a convenient reference for tax reduction purposes.
Roundout began fundraising through Kickstarter on February 2 and raised over $2,000 in the first three days. If reached, a majority of the $20,000 goal will go towards developing the smartphone app. The Roundout founders have begun looking into third-party app developers to assist them in the creating the app, which they hope to make as user-friendly as possible.
While fundraising continues throughout the remainder of February, the three Concord-Carlisle High School graduates will be busy contacting charities to take part in their groundbreaking app. "So far the charities that we've contacted have been really enthusiastic about the app. Most charities receive the bulk of their donations at the end of the year, which leaves them dry during the earlier months. Best case scenario, Roundout will provide charities with steady donations throughout the year," said Van Siclen. “We’re excited for the tipping point when we stop contacting charities, and charities start contacting us.”
The founders have secured interest from charities such as Reverb, Fund-a-Field, and Giving Ground. Reverb, a Portland, Maine based non-profit specializes in making concerts more environmentally-friendly while Fund-a-Field is committed to healing communities through building new soccer fields in impoverished communities. Hoping to build a complex network of charities, the founders will provide donors a choice in what they give to.
While this is Mikey Van Siclen’s first endeavor in app development, it is not his first endeavor in charity. Van Siclen learned the value of charity in high school where he helped organize and participated in a suicide awareness walk called Out of Darkness. Roundout is Van Siclen’s new opportunity to share the feeling of doing good with others around the world.