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Calgary’s Next Economy: We can all be a little bit nicerr – and give back to charity

You’re seeking advice from a respected Calgary professional in your field.

In the Calgary-developed platform, nicerr, that connection gives back to local charities.

Robin Daultini, nicerr founder, said he came up with the idea working at another Calgary tech startup a little more than a year ago. He saw a big gap in how people viewed the use of technology.

“People are trying to automate jobs or increase productivity, but why aren’t people using technology for social impact,” he said.

That notion sat with Daultani for a bit. Last March, he took a trip to India for a month.

It’s at that time when he was reading a business journal, and in it was an article about how billionaire businessman Warren Buffett auctions off a lunch every year.

“He supports a charity and all the proceeds go to that charity,” Daultani said.

“And someone paid $4.75 million to meet him. It’s crazy.”

That’s when it clicked. Not everyone wants to meet Warren Buffett (and not everyone has $5 million to spend on that lunch.) But people like to network – especially with successful people that may have some key advice to offer them in their careers or businesses.

“When I was a student, I was looking to meet different kinds of people, when I was a young professional,” said Daultani.  

“And even now, as I’m starting a business, I’m looking for advice or I’m looking to meet different people who’ve been there, done that.”

Sign up for a lunch, get matched, money goes to charity

Daultani said people are constantly bombarded by email, LinkedIn and things fall through the cracks.  Further, he said of the emails that got through, they lacked one thing: A clear ask.

That’s where nicerr comes in, he said.

“I can actually bridge that gap because then we can become a technology platform as well,” he said.

“They can sign up, they can give us their preferences from their professional profiles, we know what they have done and what they’re good at. We use that data to auto-match them with people who will benefit.”

There’s a cost to the meet up, but that’s the social impact aspect of nicerr. Of that connection fee, 90 per cent goes to charity (10 per cent goes to the company to cover the platform and technology costs.)

“That’s actually kind of what led us to really attract quality people,” Daultani said.

Right now, there are more than 100 advisers in their pool, including Leftovers Foundation founder, Lourdes Juan and Zinc Ventures president, Brad Zumwalt.

In most cases, they can arrange the meeting quickly. No email back and forth checking schedules. People are matched based on the time they have available.

Expanding the social impact of nicerr

Today, the platform mostly connects people in Calgary. But Daultani hopes to roll it out to other Alberta cities – especially those with co-working spaces and entrepreneurs looking for some advice.

“There are places like Lethbridge who have population, but they do not have a ready access to market experts,” said Daultani.

“Connecting places like Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto with these locations where people can actually help or utilize the talent we have in big cities.”

Eventually, Daultani envisions a global network of people supporting charities everywhere.

“That kind of cross-pollination and collaboration can do so much good,” said Daultani.

Working with the Junction program with Platform Calgary is helping him define those organizational goals and how to build the roadmap to get there.

“The advisers are really invested in the success of companies,” he said.