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pledgecents founders and kids

PledgeCents Is Transforming Our Nation’s Schools One Campaign At A Time

PledgeCents is a Houston-based fundraising platform that raises money for an array of educational causes like new technology, equipment, and supplies for schools all over the nation.

With the recent trend of packed classrooms and scarce resources, PledgeCents gets the community involved in funding campaigns to provide a better atmosphere for students and faculty while saving teachers money from buying items out of pocket. Beautiful bracelets are sold with proceeds going towards the causes, each adorned with a single penny to represent that every cent counts.

pledgecents bracelets on arm

CEO and co-founder Andyshea Saberioon told us more about the mission of PledgeCents, his inspiration, experiences, and a little bit of business advice for the aspiring entrepreneur. 

InspireMore: Tell us about PledgeCents. What do you guys do? 

Andyshea Saberioon: PledgeCents is Bake Sale 2.0. We are democratizing K-12 educational fundraising through true grassroots crowdfunding. We launched our BETA in April of 2013 and revamped our whole platform by Jan 2014. Since then, our Cause Creators (primarily teachers) have raised over $110,000 for various classroom needs.

More than 26,000 students in 27 different states are receiving more educational opportunities because of the funding success on PledgeCents.

Co-founder Andyshea Saberioon

andyshea cofounder of pledgecents
Image via Idea Mensch

Co-founder Ricky Johnson

cofounder of pledgecents
Image via PledgeCents Instagram

At the National School Board Association Conference

pledgecents team with students
Image via PledgeCents Facebook

IM: How did you get the idea for PledgeCents? 

AS: Ricky and I have been best friends since 8th grade. We both grew up in a philanthropic household and grew a passion and appreciation for education because we were both blessed with having a great education. Fast forward some years and a lot of our friends became teachers who would continuously discuss the amount they are spending out-of-pocket or that their students won’t be able to attend the annual field trip due to lack of funding.

When we learned about crowdfunding and how simple the model is, we immediately thought about education and looked into the different funding options available for not only K-12 teachers but also anyone under the K-12 umbrella who works with fundraising. Our passion for education plus the simplicity behind crowdfunding came together to create PledgeCents.

The intent behind PledgeCents is to minimize the $1.6 billion that teachers spent out-of-pocket last year and provide more access to funding to schools everywhere.

Talking about PledgeCents at the Texas PTA Launch Conference

founders of pledgecents
Image via PledgeCents Facebook

IM: What inspires you? 

AS: I will always say that my father inspires me. He came to the US in 1976 when he was 18 and only had $14 in his pocket. He went from Iran to Louisiana (just a small difference) and did not have any friends or family here. My dad was able to teach himself English and receive a degree in engineering and have a successful career in his profession. I could never imagine moving to another country without knowing anyone, can’t speak the language, and no money.

IM: How do you stay inspired? 

AS: The kids. Seeing smiles on the kids’ faces that are are being impacted by PledgeCents is awesome! Some days are harder to get out of bed than others, but at the end of the day I remember I have the best job.

My job is to help our youth receive the best and most educational opportunities possible. Knowing that more than 26,000 students have been impacted from PledgeCents is huge and I hope to only grow that every day, month, and year.

Students love the PledgeCents bracelets

kids wearing pledge cents bracelets
Image via PledgeCents Facebook
bracelets
Image via PledgeCents Twitter

Teachers reppin’ PledgeCents

teachers supporting pledgecents
Image via PledgeCents Facebook

IM: What’s been your most memorable experience with PledgeCents so far? 

AS: We have been very fortunate to have a lot of memorable experiences so far but I think my best experience is recently. We recently hit the $100,000 mark raised for classrooms on PledgeCents and that is so cool. I remember when we were almost at $100k and waiting to see when we would tip over and one individual invested quite a bit late in the evening and that tipped us over.

Knowing that the idea that Ricky and I had has evolved into an actual platform that has put more than $100,000 back into classrooms is great. And being able to go through this journey so far alongside one of my best friends has also been a humbling and awesome experience on its own.

PledgeCents’ first successfully funded campaign helped raise money for a community garden

students planting in community garden
Image via PledgeCents Instagram

This elementary school class was able to purchase new headphones thanks to a successful PledgeCents cause

pledgecents benefits
Image via PledgeCents Facebook

Government teacher’s wish was granted when the class was able to get a weekly subscription of “The Week” magazine

kids with magazines funded by pledgecents campaign
Image via PledgeCents Instagram

IM: What advice do you have for people that want to start their own company? 

AS: I think you should only start a company if you have more reasons than just “I want to be my own boss.” I think that is an awful reason why anyone should start a company. You have to be passionate about your idea/vision and let that passion grow into a company. One piece of advice is don’t do it alone.

If you’re lucky like me, you will be able to start a company with one of your best friends since the 8th grade. Ricky and I have been blessed and fortunate to have a lot of friends who have helped us grow along the way. Being able to surround yourself with smart people who want to see you grow is very important for any starting entrepreneur.

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