Susco Solutions has recently launched a secure digital platform to help those in need make purchases that are guaranteed to exclude vices, such as cigarettes and alcohol. With Carebacks, donations are given through the app, and its unique system automatically creates a pin for the recipient to use at registered retailers.
Susco co-founder and CEO Neel Sus said the platform is unlike anything else out there at the moment. “There is nothing that I have seen that does what this does that doesn’t require the recipient to do anything ahead of time.”
Sus and his team at Susco have been working on Carebacks for the last six to eight months, and that is not including the original concept that sparked in January 2010.
“I can’t put into words how excited we are to reach this milestone,” said Sus. “With the launch of CareBacks we now have a scalable platform which will help alleviate suffering and promote generosity.”
The Carebacks team wants to stress that although the app is currently only available for Android users and through the web, the platform can be accessed on all devices through the web as well. As of yesterday (May 28), Carebacks had 38 users.
The iOS app is done just not yet published. Susco is waiting for approval from Apple, hopefully within the next few days, Sus said. “Apple doesn’t allow you to pay a vendor through the phone unless it’s through iTunes, but they do allow person-to-person transfer. Carebacks is effectively a person-to-person transfer, so we’re waiting on the final approval.”
Participating retailers include The Salvation Army, select Breaux Mart stores, select Winn-Dixie stores, Believers Life Community Food Center, select Magnolia Discount stores, select Brown Derby stores, and select Quicky’s Discount stores. Donations can be redeemed at The Salvation Army can be used to pay for shelter during the night.
“I strongly feel that this has the potential to change the way person-to-person giving works on a fundamental level,” said Sus, “But this is just the first step. We’re going to learn very quickly from the New Orleans launch, and use the knowledge as we open other markets.”
Another important detail, according to Sus, is that Carebacks is sustainable. When you donate, there is a convenience fee which covers the credit card fee and a bit more. Sus explained the platform as having a strong social benefit with profits built in.
The next big step in New Orleans, Sus says, will be trying to coordinate partnerships with organizations such as the Downtown Development District, the City of New Orleans, the Young Leadership Council and others.
Another idea he has is to organize a large group, including families and children, to go around the city using the platform to see what it is like to give to people in need. “We want to build a community of donors and recipients,” Sus said. “The big thing is awareness.”