Client Spotlight Series: onHand
To celebrate Volunteer’s Week, we want to shine a light on founders in our ecosystem to learn more about their story from impact to capital raising.
In honour of Volunteer’s week, we are spotlighting some of our clients doing impactful work in the space, enhancing the volunteering experience and bridging gaps between the community and corporates, starting with onHand founder and CEO, Sanjay Lobo.
The world’s first on-demand volunteering platform. Aimed at corporate volunteers, it’s based on location so perfect for our new remote and hybrid working world.
Tell us about your entrepreneur journey
My career started as a city lawyer back in the late 90’s. The internet was still new and I was lucky to work with some of the UK’s top Tech lawyers on start ups and IPOs. Whilst still in my 20’s I became the GC at lastminute.com (one of the UK’s first unicorns) and it was there I got my first taste for brand and fantastic marketing. I then joined Vistaprint (now Nasdaq listed) in Barcelona as an early EU employee during a hyper growth phase, playing various roles as we expanded across Europe. I ended up running EU marketing before running global partnerships and new venture teams out of the US. After 20 years in the Tech industry, it feels like the right moment to use that experience for doing good.
What is the role of impact in your business?
Every match onHand makes creates impact. We started by matching volunteers to elderly and isolated older adults in their local area. We’d do various things from collecting shopping to changing a lightbulb – really simple small tasks that folks had to rely on overstretched family or expensive professional carers for. Behind it all what we really noticed was a huge amount of loneliness from those we helped. Obviously during the Covid lockdowns we got incredibly busy – both on the need side but also corporates signing up their employees to help with community and wellbeing. And what’s then struck us during the last year is the loneliness needs of employees – now working from home and having a void where their colleagues used to be.
We’ve added more and more to our service focused on employees need for purpose, helping corporates engage their teams in the remote and new hybrid working world. As examples, we added Youth Mentoring opportunities to the app at the start of the year and have just started working with the Pret Foundation on Food Waste, where our corporate volunteers can collect surplus food from Pret stores in small groups and delivery that to local Homeless shelters. In the hybrid working world we think we’ll see more demand for team activities too, so recently added opportunities like Beach Cleans across the country that teams can do together. Of course, we track all activity too – we want to be a one stop shop for employers to add Impact and Employee Purpose to their businesses, in a way that has never been easier.
What was your biggest challenge in raising investment before coming to ClearlySo?
Up until the point we worked with Clearlyso, the biggest challenge was simply capital and ensuring we could be around long enough to show our impact. Thankfully, something we are now doing in abundance.
How has ClearlySo supported you and your business?
We are now a few years into our journey, but accessing the ClearlySo network in 2019 was a huge boost to our external credentials and capital became so much more accessible for us.
What does the future look like for your business?
Over the last 12 months we’ve become a UK wide B2B service. We’ve added many more areas that employees really care about – Youth Mentoring, Food Waste and Homelessness, Environmental, in addition to our older adult work. For us, the future lies in further expansion – we want to grow with our corporate customers, many of which have international offices, and many ask when they can add onHand. We’re working on it!
What’s something readers would be surprised to know about you or your company?
We’re on-demand. Meaning you can click the app, browse for opportunities, select one and literally be able to volunteer 30 seconds later. We want to make doing good a 21st century experience and often get compared to Tinder or Uber. That’s exactly what’s needed to maximise the vast supply of corporate volunteers that can’t easily access volunteering opportunities today. Did we mention no one else in the world has this yet?!
Where can we find out more about you / your business?