„Fast forward and it hit me one night”

„Fast forward and it hit me one night” – Sometimes it is a small thought out of nowhere, innocent. But it can change everything. That’s what happened with Dee and his Startup 144, a decentralized rewards platform dedicated to social impact investing. He is our founder of the month of December and told us in an interview all about his startup and the path to get there. But let’s take it one step at a time. 

Who is Dee and what exactly does he have in mind when he talks about social impact investing?

Daariq A. Yusuf, known as Dee, is a BBW University of Applied Sciences alumni who graduated with a master’s degree in creative industries in 2020.

He is a 28-year-old Somali South African with a proven record in Business Development, Marketing, and Project Management. Over 6 years of knowledge executing high-quality growth, process development, and B2B and D2C-oriented marketing strategies in industries such as E-Commerce, Corporate Finance, and Education. He holds a BTech Diploma in Business, a Bachelor of Business Administration, and, of course, a Master of Management in the Creative Industries.

Already impressed, wait until we tell you about 144.

Why bbw?

DEE: “After obtaining my bachelor’s degree, I immediately entered the corporate sector. Despite not actually finding much fulfilment in my career path, I decided to spend all of my funds on travelling for a period. This is what inspired my shift of perspective and career pivot. In my hunt for solutions to problems I encountered on my travels, I came across the BBW MCI course, which showed promise and eventually led to my relocation to Berlin.”

A decentralized rewards platform dedicated to social impact investing – What exactly is 144 about? 

“144 is a decentralized rewards platform dedicated to social impact investing. The first decentralized platform to include social impact investments directly into the point of sale.”

“We provide brands and businesses with the opportunity to impact invest in return for shares. Like the reward-based loyalty programs, 144 rewards customers with tokens for every purchase linked to an investment.”

Every purchase has a real, transparent, and measurable impact that yields returns. “Earn tokens while you shop, track it and hold businesses accountable to their social responsibility.“

How it started

Throughout his travels, he has witnessed personally the great potential of creative entrepreneurs to positively impact the society in which we live. Young people all throughout the world are coming up with innovative solutions to challenges in their communities. He’s always imagined how much these young people could do on a worldwide scale if they had access to resources, funding, and mentoring from successful individuals and organizations. During his studies, he began looking for viable solutions. A feasible approach that might play out and adopt some of the network effect’s insights.

“Fast forward and It hit me one night. What if we add impact investing to the active point of sale? What I mean is, what if every time we made a purchase, an investment was made. This is similarly done with campaigns that brands aim to donate to charities.“

But what’s in it for the customers and how can they play a role? 

The market already expects a lot from businesses, so providing them with the capacity to hold businesses accountable was one aspect, and how can customers earn was another. One strategy utilized by businesses is loyalty programs in which customers earn points. When blockchain technology is implemented, it is possible to achieve both accountability and earnings(€ & Loyalty). As a consequence, 144 was founded, a decentralized rewards platform that allows businesses to invest for impact in social projects/start-ups while rewarding customers with tokens for every transaction. (Please bear in mind that tokens only reflect a portion of the brand’s investment.) Currently, we are onboarding brands since our API and MVP will be finished in February, and blockchain development is nearing the end of its early phase.

Officially he started the realization in February 2021. Recently Dee has a Co-Founder (Tech) Tobi Ibikunle.

Tobi joined Dee in mid-May 2021 through a mutual friend Naimmy. Having graduated from De Montfort University with a First Class in BSc (Hons) Computer Games Programming. The 26-year-old has been working in a full-time position as a C++ Games Programmer/Gameplay Programmer at Gamigo. A background in a variety of languages and front-end programs which he uses in my day to day tasks.

“I have a flair for new challenges. I take pride in my hard work and I always make sure that I find a solution to problems. My passion for game programming has given me the insight to deal with real-world challenges by using relevant knowledge and abilities learned in the gaming industry; this has given me the drive to learn, adapt, and innovate swiftly in a fast-paced and ever-changing environment.”

They are also currently looking for a Blockchain/CTO co-founder to join their team

If you’re interested, feel free to email us at info@bbw-startups.de and we’ll put you in touch with Dee and Tobi.

You want to become an investor?

They are currently seeking a total of €300,000 for 8% equity. This is the initial pool, so angel investors are welcome for any specific amount. They are also prepared to discuss an option for all collaborators and partners to get a percentage of the tokens immediately before the private sale begins.

Last but not least 

Students willing to work in a fashion brand are welcome as they have registered a brand to push their proof of concept further. We are happy to be able to support Dee and Tobi further and of course, hope to be able to organize an event with them soon. Until then, follow 144 on Instagram and check out the website already.

You can find more articles from our blog here.

verfasst von Sarah Bösel

Redaktionsleiterin Blog, Marketing und Öffentlichkeitsarbeit für das bbw Startup Center

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