Around 5,000 people in the Rhine-Main region are already so-called “Radgeber” or cyclist donors: Together with the start-upParticulate Solutions, Deutsche Bahn (DB) has developed the platform, which allows every cyclist participating in the campaign to become a donor. The technology for the platform is based on the Open Telekom Cloud, Telekom's public cloud offering. When booking a rental bike via Deutsche Bahn’s Call-a-Bike app, cyclists receive 100 so-called SocialCoins – a fictitious donation currency created by the Koblenz-based start-up. Cyclists can distribute the SocialCoins to selected projects via the app with just a few clicks. As soon as the donation target is reached, Deutsche Bahn will transfer the amount to the project. So far, about 12,000 euros have been collected in less than three months.
How can companies link the goals of customer loyalty and social engagement? The start-up Particulate provides the answer to this question. Stefan Pandorf, founder of the Koblenz-based company, explains how donations via app work.
The rental bike donation platform is by no means the start-up’s only project. The three founders, Stefan Pandorf, Stephanie Henn and Stefan Fink, want to combine marketing with social commitment and they plan to do so across many industries. “We offer companies an effective marketing tool and harness the entrepreneurial potential of donations,” says Pandorf. “After all, social engagement and sustainability are becoming more and more important in marketing. Many customers are increasingly choosing a company that is socially engaged when purchasing a product.” For example, a bank can attract new customers by giving them SocialCoins instead of a certain amount of funds when they open an account. On the bank's platform, the customer can redeem the coins for specific projects, such as a fundraising campaign for new jerseys for a football club or the expansion of a playground. That amount is then paid out by the bank.
All data is stored in the secure and inexpensive Object Based Storage (OBS). “The partnership with Deutsche Telekom is always a winning argument for our customers,” says Pandorf. “Deutsche Telekom simply has a good reputation when it comes to data protection and data security. This helps us a lot when it comes to marketing our idea.” And if questions ever arise about the architecture of the Open Telekom Cloud, the start-up can get in touch with a competent Deutsche Telekom contact person at any time.
Compared to our customers, who attach great importance to data protection and data security, the partnership with Telekom is a striking argument. The Telekom simply has a good reputation.
Many of Particulate's customers come from the energy or financial sector. “That's why our customers always ask first about data protection and data security,” says Pandorf. Initially, the Koblenz-based company worked with the German cloud provider ProfitBricks and tested the infrastructure of Amazon Web Services (AWS). But due to the high expectations of customers regarding the secure storage of their data, Particulate looked for another solution that could meet these requirements. “In addition, we needed a solution that we could scale flexibly, for example, if the number of those accessing the platform suddenly increased sharply,” says Pandorf. The founders got to know about the Open Telekom Cloud through Deutsche Telekom's TechBoost program.
There are already plans to expand the platform. Particulate not only wants to extend the project with Deutsche Bahn to the whole of Germany. The start-up also wants to approach other large international companies in the future with a view to developing other donation platforms in the Open Telekom Cloud.
The founders rely on compute instances with two CPU and four GB RAM as well as the Open Telekom Cloud’s Auto Scaling service. “This allows us to automatically add resources”, says Pandorf. “For example, when the tunnel in Frankfurt is closed, many commuters switch to Deutsche Bahn’s rental bikes and within a brief period the access to our platform increases enormously.” The start-up has already used up to eight virtual machines simultaneously in the Open Telekom Cloud.
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The Koblenz-based start-up Particulate and its approximately 30 employees offers companies donation platforms with their own corporate design in order to distribute donations more fairly and transparently. The solution went online in 2012. Corporate Social Responsibility has become an important factor when making a purchase decision.