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TAP - the tech for good startup that's taking on homelessness...

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by Startacus Admin

We have written many times before about tech for good startups, and specifically about those that help to tackle Tap Londonhomelessness. Homelessness is a huge problem, and until the government deigns it worthy of their time and does something about it, it’s up to altruistic individuals and the likes of tech-for-good startups to do what they can to help.

London-based TAP is one of these startups. The idea is that TAP vendors collect money for charity - currently New Horizons and Shelter from the Storm - via a portable card swipe (or tap) machine. For £3, you buy a TAP card that features a new piece of art every week. These vendors are all people who are facing homelessness, and have been employed by TAP to help keep them off the streets. Vendors are recruited via referrals from local charities and shelters, and through a regular outreach. Currently, at least £1 of each TAP card purchase will go to the two charities, as the priority is to pay and support the vendors.

Tap LondonCo-founders Polly Gilbert and Katie Whitlock are an English graduate and a brand planner with two degrees, respectively, and neither really had anything under their belt that prepared them for, or suggested, charity work. But TAP was born from a simple and quite common experience, when Polly and her boyfriend were buying a couple of hotdogs in cold weather and spotted a homeless man sitting in a doorway. The man told them he had already eaten five hotdogs that evening, the money for which Polly knew could have got him a full week’s stay in a night shelter, with meals included. When she met up with soon-to-be co-founder Katie, they talked about how this kind of small-scale giving could provide longer-term help. TAP was the result.

This method of employing the very people TAP is set up to help is one of the best ideas we have seen in a tech-for-good startup for a while, and we think (and hope) their success will continue.

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Published on: 27th December 2017

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