When we came up the escalator at the Jacksonville Landing at OneSpark we were just hoping to grab a quick bite but fortunately for us we bumped into some great people. The husband and wife team of John and Anna Arterberry had traveled across the country from Northern California to Jacksonville Florida for OneSpark. Now you’re probably thinking that Northern California is the hub of startup and entrepreneurial activity so what could they possibly need to come to OneSpark for.
John told us that he had read about OneSpark in Fast Company magazine and thought it sounded like a great event. When he followed up later and learned the cost associated with OneSpark were affordable he and his wife decided this is where they needed to be to show off their socially conscious startup, PledgeRunner.
PledgeRunner combines physical activity with social good, things that both Arterberry’s know well. John told us that before becoming a software engineer for Fortune 500 company Intuit he was homeless. He also didn’t take very good care of himself. Now he’s been fortunate to have a great job, his health, his family and the foresight to create PledgeRunner, the best startup we saw at OneSpark this year.
PledgeRuner allows individuals or small teams to create “YouAThons” for charity. Like a marathon, a YouAThon is a pledge based physical activity. The user would go out and get pledges from friends, family members and coworkers and then set some kind of physical activity goal. The pledges help inspire the user to complete their task but also function as actual monetary pledges for charity. PledgeRunner users can do their YouAThon for any charity they choose.
“Normally in a big marathon the charity sees less than 35% of the funds raised” John told us in an interview. The rest of the money goes to actually staging the event. With PledgeRunner there are no big event costs so all of the money, minus a very small percentage taken out for PledgeRunner, goes directly to the charity.
The Artterberry’s story is a great story all the way around. John has taken skills he’s learned to pull him out of his own homelessness and despair, turned his life around and now wants to spread it across the world via PledgeRunner. The story is also great for OneSpark which did a lot more outreach in the OneSpark off season this year, hoping to find more creators from across the globe.
You can find out more about PledgeRunner here.