Today’s world faces many threats. Security conflicts in the world, global pandemics, a warming planet, deforestation of rainforests, poverty or famine. This is just a short list of the problems we know about and which matter to Michal Valta. As Michal himself says, these problems trouble people all over the world. His app viaGood is designed to activate people who, like him, want to make a difference, across all the world. Both through a passive role and an active role. What he’s doing has caught the attention of investors. In total, he has received a pre-seed investment of approximately $2 million.
We caught up with Michal Valta at the We Connect 2022 conference in Olomouc, Czech Republic on November 3, 2022. We spoke about his fuckups, successes and why viaGood only works in America.
1) Michal, describe to us the principle on which the viaGood app works? How can it change the world?
Most of the time when talking about startups, their introduction starts with the words: “We’re making the world a better place…”. For example, we’re improving the world of banking. Or we’re improving the world, helping brands grow… And so on. At viaGood, we’re just making the world a better place. We focus on the most critically affected areas of our planet. To date, there are 51 of these areas in our app. From the climate crisis to biodiversity loss to supporting socially excluded individuals or communities. With a few clicks, viaGood users can easily support a non-profit organization that is helping in the field in a given area, or they can organize or participate in an event (e.g. a forest clean-up in the neighbourhood). Another option is to sign a petition for the cause that users care about the most. It’s easy, quick and involves a whole community of like-minded people.
2) You only have US entity. Can you tell us more about it? How is it with the Czech team in the Czech Republic?
There are now 18 people working on viaGood in three countries all around the world. We have our main team in Olomouc (Czech Republic), but as you rightly mentioned – we are a purely American entity. From the beginning of our project we knew that we were building a global cause. Our ambition was huge – to build the world’s largest community tool for improving it. Nothing has diminished that goal, quite the opposite. So it was logical that we started in the United States. In 2023, we plan to launch in six other English-speaking countries.
3) Fuckups versus successes. There must have been a lot of them. Tell us some :).
I wouldn’t call it “fuckups” – somehow I don’t like that word (laughs). I’d rather say: Situations when everything didn’t go as we imagined. The first situation occurred at the beginning of 2020, when we launched the viaGood concept as we had been working on it for two years before. We had everything set up to save rainforests, remove plastic from the oceans and so on. I came back from the States in March with the last stamp of approval from the authorities that we needed to launch the test phase. I flew in on a Sunday night – I remember that vividly – and on Thursday the US closed the border completely. Because of COVID-19. Literally overnight the world stopped dealing with everything else. Nobody cared about rainforests or plastics in the oceans at that point. It took us two months to modify viaGood to help with this global pandemic threat. A similar situation repeated itself this February when Russia invaded Ukraine. But we were much faster there. We added the ability to help Ukraine (but also any other country being hamstrung by the effects of war) to viaGood in less than 48 hours.
Thank you, keep up the good work!