Handprint wants to make impact part of everyday business

  • Handprint’s plug-ins help automate support for different causes
  • Payment firm Thunes adds backing, leads US$2.2 million seed round

Share on linkedin
Share on facebook
Share on twitter

Handprint wants to make it easier for commercial enterprises to back environmental and social programs.

The Singapore-based startup builds plug-ins that integrate support for grassroots projects into a company’s day-to-day operations.

Ecommerce services can embed voluntary micro-contributions into the checkout process, for example, while sharing impact updates with customers and employees.

Earlier this year, Handprint announced US$2.2 million in seed and pre-seed funding, together with a major new investor – cross-border payments company Thunes.

This money can help Handprint develop customized offerings for larger companies, broadening its customer base.  

Handprint’s platform already connects more than 50 firms with various NGO-run initiatives in Africa and Asia Pacific, ranging from clean water for refugees in Myanmar to free education for kids in rural Uganda.

Notable customers include Lazada, one of Southeast Asia’s largest online shopping platforms, regional food chain SaladStop, and ad tech firm Teads.

Handprint started in 2020, set up by three professionals with backgrounds in sustainability and digitization.

The three co-founders are: Mathias Boissonot, former MD of R&D specialist GAC Group; Ryan Merrill, a digital sustainability researcher; and Simon Schillebeeckx, an assistant professor at Singapore Management University.

Relevant Sustainable Development Goals

What difference will this investment make?

Thunes has come on board as a strategic investor, bringing digital payments expertise and infrastructure in addition to growth capital. 

Thunes will now support donations made through Handprint’s platform, further trimming transaction costs while making it easier to reach more impact partners.

This combined tech and know-how amplify two of Handprint’s key principles – transparency and a high dollar-to-impact ratio – explains co-founder and chief strategy officer Simon Schillebeeckx.

“Thunes’ capabilities in terms of moving money – especially to developing countries at high velocity, and transparently with predictable costs – are incredibly valuable for our business model,” he says.

Thunes also plans to incorporate impact delivery into the payment experiences of its own customers in the future, providing another boost to Handprint’s growth.

“Money for NGOs is the only real KPI that matters.”

At the same time, fresh funding helps Handprint extend its corporate reach with a wider range of services.

The startup has focused much of its attention on ecommerce companies so far, responding to the online shopping boom caused by Covid.

Now the company is expanding its sales and tech teams with new roles catering to larger companies. Enterprise customers are usually interested in more specific capabilities and take longer to onboard. 

At the same time, Handprint will keep adding more impact partners and impact-related inventory, anticipating spikes in demand as more large-scale customers sign up.

The startup’s founders keep tabs on 40 or so metrics to manage growth. Handprint’s North Star, however, is how much money gets delivered to projects on the ground.

“The money we raise for NGOs is the only real KPI that matters,” Schillebeeckx says.


Why are investors backing Handprint?

Handprint’s vision, and its ability to put this into practice, both stood out for Thunes CEO Peter De Caluwe.

Deep research in sustainability and digitization from Handprint’s co-founders give the business credibility and a solid foundation.

One of the biggest challenges with scaling impact is the opacity of the space,” De Caluwe remarks. Handprint’s tools and services address this challenge, he adds, resulting in strong growth on both sides of its impact marketplace.

These tools include smart contracts as well as real-time photos and videos, improving traceability and efficiency.

At the same time, digitized payments – an area where Thunes will now be directly involved – ensure that more money goes to the NGO. 

Thunes is also backing a variety of reforestation programs through Handprint’s impact partners, including Kenvo in Kenya, TRCC in Nigeria and Yakopi in Indonesia.

The payments company has anchored the sustainability component of its recently launched ESG program, Turning Transactions Into Actions, around its new partnership. 

“As we were building our views around sustainability, one core belief was that the success of the climate agenda would depend on enterprises playing a consistent, positive and recurring role,” De Caluwe tells Tech For Impact.

“Handprint embodies this by allowing companies to fold these actions creatively into the way they do business.”



Share this article

Share on linkedin
Share on facebook
Share on twitter

Simon Schillebeeckx

Co-Founder & Chief Strategy Officer, Handprint

Peter De Caluwe

CEO, Thunes

Recommended Reads

Welcome to the Tech For Impact community

Let's get acquainted

What is your name?

email list sign up form

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.

Check your inbox regularly for a newsletter keeping you up to date with the stories, ideas and good news that your community is talking about.