From Investment to Donation, and to Prayer

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To celebrate the launch of the new donation platform SOLIO, entrepreneurs Kazuma Ieiri and Daisuke Katsura, founders of the service, held a roundtable discussion with interviewer Hiroki Azuma.

SOLIO is a service for non-profit organizations (NPOs) that face challenges in collecting donations. It includes a “donation portfolio” service that allows users to donate not only to specific NPOs but to a group of organizations as a whole with the domain of activities they want to support. It is similar to a financial asset portfolio, and users can make their donation portfolios public. Ieiri and Katsura stated that this encourages the act of giving among users who cannot decide where to make donations.

In response to Azuma’s question as to why they focus on donations rather than investments, Katsura explained that social issues such as poverty and human rights can only be resolved through donations, because it is difficult to collect investments. Ieiri stated that he hoped SOLIO would help bring investments and donations closer together and thus increase the interaction between startups and NPOs that make investments and donations.

The discussants also raised the issue of the uncomfortable necessity of pursuing scalability on an extreme level in present-day capitalism as a context for the need for donations. In response to this situation, Ieiri said that he would like to build “small economic spheres” by assisting entrepreneurial enterprises launched by individuals and small- to medium-sized businesses in local communities through his crowd-funding service CAMPFIRE. Katsura stated that he found the act of donating similar to religious prayer in that it does not promise clear returns, in contrast to exchanges and investments.