Worldcoo: creating a new market for consumer solidarity



Alfred Vernis


ESADE Business School Barcelona

Published in


In April 2022, Sergi (CEO) and Aureli (COO), co-founders of Worldcoo, a Catalan social impact tech startup that offers fundraising solutions for Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) projects through a round-up donation system, are considering options for scalability and growth. Since the “redondeo solidario” (solidarity roundup) was launched in 2017, the startup has contributed funding to over 620 (2021) projects of local and international NGOs, making it the leader in rounding-up donations in Spain. For Worldcoo, one of its key successes has been the establishment of B2B relationships with diverse merchants and payment service providers (PSP). This enables the startup to provide all the technological and legal support to the retailers while advising the merchant on how to offer customers the option of rounding up their purchases. With constant negotiation and searching, the startup has developed partnerships with large retailers such as Condis and Eroski supermarkets, and MasterCard.

In spite of the global COVID-19 pandemic crisis that affected physical retail, the company managed to increase revenues from €1.2 to €2 million in 2021. With scalability in mind, Sergi and Aureli aim to reach €5-€5.5 million in revenue by 2022, which presents challenges and opportunities for Worldcoo’s strategy. They had to decide how Worldcoo would face such growth while maintaining relationships with its
existing customers. The options under consideration were: (1) to expand in the domestic market as one of the startup strengths is that it holds approximately 5 percent of the Spanish market (scale deep), (2) to expand through existing partners and/or network (scale across), and (3) to consider different possibilities of expanding overseas (scale up).

With its current business model, Worldcoo has a very clear purpose: to fund social and environmental development projects by allocating donations to specific causes while providing full traceability of the money donated in-store. This raises the tension on scaling operations and achieving economic sustainability in the medium and long term while preserving its purpose-driven strategy.