Soceana: 2015 Wharton Business Plan Competition Finalist

By Tess Michaels C’15/W’15 (Team Leader) and Natasha Doherty W’18 (Team Member) of Soceana

Soceana is a Software-as-a-Service technology platform that enables corporations to better manage and promote corporate social responsibility. Soceana’s corporate volunteerism tools enable skills-based matching, data metrics, and employee engagement through social media. Soceana bridges philanthropy and volunteerism using a patent-pending digital social good currency. Soceana’s SaaS platform integrates the internal CSR systems with a vibrant social media network generating social good of a higher order of magnitude.

soceana pic w logo sm

What’s new and exciting about your business plan?

  • Hybrid structure.For-profit, serving volunteers and nonprofits with social mission drive
  • philas: A novel social currency to pay-it-forward bridging philanthropy and volunteerism
  • World-class team/advisors:Our advisors include a Co-founder of LinkedIn, Founder of Generocity, Former CFO of Gates Foundation; and Wharton professors. In addition, our Head of Technology has worked on two successful Philly start-ups, the last IPO-ed and was acquired by Navteq and then Nokia.
  • Good traction:Contract with Lincoln Financial; follow-up meetings with heads of CSR at 10 Fortune 500 companies

How did you come up with this idea?

  • Volunteering experiences all through high school and college
  • Coursework at Wharton
  • Research on social entrepreneurship and CSR at Management Department
  • Meetings with nonprofits and CSR executives – discovering a real pain point

What does it mean to you to be one of the eight finalists in the Wharton Business Plan Competition?

We are so elated to be one of the Great Eight Finalists!  We have received great, insightful feedback from our judges which has helped us improve our business model and marketing strategy. We’ve also received great mentorship thus far and been inspired by the entrepreneurial spirit present in the Wharton community.

What’s one fun fact about each member of your team?

Tess is a black belt in karate.

Pete is a competitive sailor.

Anil is Music Director and a singer in Penn Masala.

If you win the Perlman Grand Prize ($30,000 cash prize, $10,000 in legal services, $5,000 in accounting/strategy services, GLG Share Fellowship), what will you do with the money?

The cash prize would be invested in product development of philas, our patent-pending disruptive technology to bridge social good space.

The legal services would be used to strengthen the patent application for philas.

Accounting Services would be deferred for use in Financial Year 2016.