Dutch Startup Croqqer – The Facebook With A Social Purpose?

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Social sharing platform Croqqer has already launched in five European countries. We spoke to founder Rob van de Star about the social economy and its impact on social cohesion.

How would you describe Croqqer in a few words?

Croqqer is the first European platform matching demand and supply of tasks done at home and remotely. Unique as we combine paid, bartered and voluntary jobs in the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland. We create a new paradigm of human interaction, redefine how work is done, forge entrepreneurship and support the evolution from transactions to relationship.

Dutch Startup Croqqer - The Facebook With A Social Purpose?

Rob van de Star, founder of Croqqer

What inspired you to create the social sharing platform? How did it all start?

In 2013 my wife and I were busy raising our four children and found that tons of small jobs in and around our house were not fulfilled. Also, practical needs as e.g. baby sitting, help with tax forms needed attention. And that whilst there is a neighbor three doors or two streets away who could help… if only we could connect with him or her!

That is where Croqqer came in: a social sharing platform helping to improve quality of life by sharing your request with your neighbors and thus getting more done.

Croqqer creates well-being and improves people’s lives by fostering trust-based neighborhoods and allowing people to dedicate their time to what they love the most. Croqqer is always local for local, while all our communities are open, inclusive, interdependent, and interconnected. Our business idea is the Benefit Corporation and preferred currencies are trust and mutual respect.

The sharing economy is ever increasing. Where do you think this trend comes from and where will it lead us?

Sharing is not new but has always been there since centuries ago. In rural areas helping each other out is (still) the norm. The Internet, however, made it easy to connect with other people and sharing platforms like Facebook, Airbnb, Snappcar, Peerby, and Croqqer help. At the same time, we spot exponential growth in many areas especially in the growth of the global population.

We will work less due to further automation and online transparency. Full and lifetime employment for everyone will not exist anymore and jobs become a “scarce good” leading to an abundance of time and talent leading to a split society in the “haves” and “have-nots”. Over time a basic income will be implemented, starting in the Western countries, and people will find ways to create a residual income: which could be money and but also happiness helping and meeting other people. Croqqer is designed for this purpose!

What’s the most considerable pivoting maneuver that the team has undertaken throughout the journey so far?

Implementing a fine knit network of local Croqqer community managers helping people also connecting in real-life, our B Corp certification since 2015, the ability to prove our SROI and the successful launch of Croqqer in the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy and Switzerland supported by an international team. Croqqer is made available in various languages such as Dutch, Flemish, French, Italian, English, and German and others to come.

Are you using Croqqer internally? How does that affect the viewpoints of the team?

Croqqer is a global community built on values: we believe in making society and the biosphere better, without compromise. Croqqer creates and fosters local clusters of people who share and exchange their time and talents, and by doing so unite as humans again.

We practice what we preach: every Croqqer team member both posts and executes more than one jobs – either paid, barter or as a volunteer. Doing this creates great anecdotes and deepens the power to explain the Croqqer experience.

As technology connects it is Humanity that unites: technology facilitates connecting people but human to human relationships are the real glue.

As a social sharing platform: How do you perceive your impact?

What makes Croqqer really interesting for me is meeting a lot of people that I otherwise never would have met, looking through the tasks I performed and posted. The social cohesion that arises, is really nice. We also made an analysis of the social impact and there we can conclude that every Euro of job value (does not matter whether it is a paid, bartered or volunteer job) is up to to 4 Euros of social impact to society. Some may, therefore, see Croqqer as ‘A Facebook with a purpose’, others as ‘The Internet of People’. As we want to accelerate the growth of our impact we are looking for impact investors to help us grow.

What is the biggest challenge that the company has faced?

Inspiring people to post a job to get something done is one of our biggest challenges. And that is strange if you take into account that at Croqqer 50% of the jobs (paid, barter and volunteered) are being fulfilled: imagine that your Christmas wish list is 50% fulfilled!

With the help of several universities we studied and are studying this phenomon and learned that being educated and grown up in a supply driven economy from our early youth has ‘degenerated’ our ability to freely ask for support. We are simply not aware or thinking of it.

If you are reading this I dare you: think of a job you want to get done and post your request on Croqqer 😉

What is the most memorable moment throughout the history of Croqqer?

There are so many!

The moment we connected a low-income handicapped lady successfully with two Croqqers who volunteered to help her out with creating and paint her fence so that her dog would be safe. Though living in the same neighborhood they never spoke to each other before. She called us later and asked for Croqqer flyers to spread the word.

Another moment was when a person posted a job to bring his couch to Austria and – as a barter – allowed a week long stay in his holiday home.

And a third one: Our ability to push and implement the legal entity “Sociata Benefit” (B Corp): Croqqer Italia as one of the first of its kind in Europe.

If there is one thing you could wish for in improving the European startup ecosystem – what would it be?

There is one thing we wish for to improve the European startup ecosystem: it would be great if all entrepreneurs use in their respective country Croqqer to help them get more done and “walk the talk” to also share their time and talent. It also helps to meet like-minded people.

If Croqqer is not yet (fully) up and running in your country and you are interested to participate in the further roll-out just drop me an email!

What’s one piece of advice you can give to fellow founders for their startup?

Never give up! If you are passionate about what you are doing this will create a lot of energy. Look out and connect to people and actively work on building your ecosystem. An example of an easy to access network is the global B Corp network where you can also self-assess your organisation free of charge on the triple P pundit: people, planet and profit. We are open and more than willing to share our experiences!




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