Toucan is a charity donation app and it is creating a community of givers to amplify the work done by charities. We’re building a world where giving is second nature by making giving fun, flexible and accessible to all.
How did you come up with the idea for the company?
I was in a supermarket one day and I was given a plastic token to choose one of three causes to support by inserting it into a perspex box. I thought that it was a great concept to engage people with charities, but the execution could be digitalised and bring more value. So I went away and built a prototype, which would have been a physical tablet for customers to interact with, and presented it to a supermarket chain.
However, when I showed it to my family and friends and they said they’d love to be able to donate like this all the time – by choosing a particular cause in their local area and seeing the real impact of their donation, so I decided to pivot to an app. The name Toucan comes from a play on the word ‘token’.
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How has the company evolved during the pandemic?
Toucan was built during the pandemic, so it’s a proper pandemic fintech start up. It has evolved every month. Initially, our solution was going to be a supermarket token drop, then it was on an iPad that we licenced out, then it became the app it is today.
Collaboration is so much more powerful when you’re face to face and when you’re in an office together – it fosters a fast-working pace. In a remote environment, we’re dealing with different time zones. Melody Truong (Chief Product Officer) is in Canada, David King (Chief Finance Officer) is in Sweden, and every conversation we have has to be pre-arranged.
Innovation is stifled in a remote business, so that’s a real obstacle in a start-up. To get around this, we use Slack a lot to ping ideas to each other and be in constant communication. We arrange weekly meetings that we know is a shared space to be innovative. Keeping any team motivated can be hard, but I’ve known everyone that works in Toucan for a long time.
What can we hope to see from Toucan in the future?
The future of Toucan is going to be community-led giving. We want to give people the ability to create their own Impact Fund within the app, so they can share their own personal causes and charities to their followers and encourage them to donate too.
We can then give them a detailed, visual report to show just how much they’ve raised, which they can also share on their social media to show how collectively, they’ve made a huge difference.