Episode 13: Getting People Involved In Their Local Communities With Technology

Hello, listeners! Welcome to another exciting episode of Tech Forward. On this week’s episode, I spoke with Andreas Freund, co-founder of DiveIn, a platform where people can easily get involved with causes they care about at the local level. As a proud son of immigrants and a San Francisco native, Andreas was inspired to create DiveIn after witnessing the effects of the refugee crisis in Germany in 2015. In an era where we have so much at our fingertips, Andreas realized it was unacceptable that we can wake up with the desire to help in our own communities, but not be able to use technology to make that process seamless and frictionless.

DiveIn helps its users connect on two levels: location, and causes. Whether your passion is the environment, animal welfare, or social justice, DiveIn allows you to access relevant content and discussions, and find opportunities to get involved in those causes with like-minded people at the local level. So what does “getting involved” look like? “The types of experiences themselves can be really diverse. Getting involved can be putting on a pair of gloves and getting your hands dirty doing volunteer work, but it can also mean going to a screening and exposing yourself to new ideas.”

Andreas acknowledges that his status as a millennial played a significant role in the formation of DiveIn — and how it will make money. “Millennials may have grown up on the internet, but that doesn’t mean we want to spend all of our time on it. We love experiences. We want to get out there and be active in our communities, but the barriers to access need to be lowered.” As part of a recent wave of social entrepreneurship, Andreas wanted to ensure that DiveIn’s revenue model didn’t undermine their core values. Currently, they operate with a “pay by participant” model, where event hosts are charged a fixed fee for ever new person they activate at the local level.

As a Latino man who grew up attending protests with his grandparents, Andreas has made diversity a strong priority for DiveIn. “It’s important that our team reflects the communities we serve. Diversity matters, not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because it makes business sense. More diverse companies generate more revenue, so the moral element is really backed up by the numbers.” Moving forwards, Andreas is committed to doing the work to push back against internal biases as the team grows.

Over the next few years, Andreas aims to expand DiveIn at the national level by establishing a presence in the top 5 metro areas of the US (Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas/Fort Worth, and New York City). Andreas, I can’t wait to see your community grow as people across the country get activated with DiveIn. Thank you so much for joining me on the show, and thank you to all of you who tuned in. See you next week!