Play social games and win tuition grants for the people you care about and charities you love!
Grantoo is a San Francisco-based startup that created an online social gaming platform for students to earn tuition by winning games like poker, trivia, or Scrabble-like games. Also, students are required to donate a minimum of ten percent of any winnings to the charity of the winner’s choice. Grantoo tuition awards have helped students pay to attend schools such as Berkeley, UCLA, Duke, Stanford, USC and Yale.
Grantoo was founded in September 2011 by Dimitri Sillam and Mikhael Naayem. Originally it was only open to students of select schools, but back in May Grantoo announced it was open to all students with an active .edu email address. On October 10, Grantoo opened up its platform to all US residents who would like to play. Grantoo’s next tournament starts on Monday, Oct. 15.
Grantoo awarded more than $30,000 in tuition to winning students, as well as more than $10,000 for various charities during the Grantoo beta. Grantoo aims to give out at least $100,000 in tuition funding this fall, starting with its next tournament. To help fund this giveaway, Grantoo just raised $1.7 million in funding from angel investors and private investment firms.
Grantoo is both a for-profit and not-for-profit company. Grantoo created the Grantoo Foundation to which tournament sponsors write their check. So 100 percent of the foundation’s money goes to winning students and charities. Because of this foundation structure, companies’ donations are tax deductible.
For companies that want to sponsor regular games (no tuition prizes) and advertising, the money goes to Grantoo, the for-profit company. Grantoo plans to host regular games all the time with tournaments as special events for students.
It’s a new business model. The idea is to combine two human natures: play and doing good. Brands will like it because they can be associated with good causes. What do you think?