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Sweet Deal

Ben & Jerry's millionaire co-founder is ploughing some cash into Ireland

ChangeX has finished a round of seed funding – and several big names are on board.

BEN & JERRY’S ICE CREAM co-founder Jerry Greenfield has joined a string of high-profile backers sinking their money into Irish social enterprise ChangeX.

The site, which launched in September last year, has raised €400,000 in seed funding from investors including Greenfield and one of the partners in venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, which has over $4 billion under management.

ChangeX, based in Dublin’s Dogpatch Labs, was founded by Paul O’Hara to connect not-for-profit innovators like CoderDojo and the GIY Group with people looking to improve their communities.

He said his organisation would use the money to build on its technology and involve more people across Ireland who were “really committed to improving the place they live”.

We will expand the product team, grow the number of innovations from across the world to 100 and multiply the number of people benefitting from the ideas.”

ChangeX-Launch-Burren-May2014 O'Hara, far right, and the ChangeX team Eamon Ward Eamon Ward

Greenfield, whose ice-cream company was sold to grocery giant Unilever in 2000, said he was a long-term supporter of grassroots movements and ChangeX had the potential to speed up the growth and increase the impact of those schemes.

People can use the platform to find ideas, link with others introduced in starting local projects and get hold of the information they need to get them off the ground.

Earlier this year it launched a 100-day drive to get 100 projects going around Ireland and with 10 days to run it is only five short of hitting its target.

Food Labeling Greenfield at a rally for GMO food labelling last year Associated Press Associated Press

‘A no-brainer’

Other investors in the fundraising round include Colm Lyon, whose Dublin-based company Realex Payments was sold to a US firm for €115 million earlier this year.

The list also features Storyful founder and former RTÉ journalist Mark Little, who sold his company to News Corp for €18 million in 2013.

For me when ChangeX came along it was a no-brainer; it was the kind of idea that I wish I had myself,” he said.

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