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Online petition and advocacy startup Change.org has raised $25 Mn in funding, led by LinkedIn Co-founder Reid Hoffman and Twitter Co-founder Evan Williams, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates. 

The round also saw participation of Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang, Richard Branson, and eBay co-founder Pierre M. Omidyar. 

Change.org lets users create online petitions that call on governments and companies to act on specific issues.

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This investment is a validation of the social impact business we’ve built thus far, and a clear signal that this is only just the beginning of our growth, said Ben Rattray, Founder and CEO, Change.org.

The startup plans to use the funds raised to expand its engineering team, with a particular focus on mobile technology, and to scale up operations.

  • Making change a local, mobile and daily experience. We will be focused on mobile development that enables people to take immediate action based on their location and coordinate real-time action on the issues they care most about.

  • Enabling direct engagement with decision-makers. We will build an enhanced set of tools that enable elected officials and companies to directly engage with the rapidly increasing number of citizens and consumers that are petitioning them for change. We have helped create one of the biggest megaphones of all time for citizens to speak at decision-makers, and we will be making it possible for citizens to work with decision-makers and toward collective solutions.

  • Improving electoral democracy. We will be rethinking the role of citizens in elections – shifting electoral influence away from entrenched interests, political operatives, and the media, and putting it into the hands of citizens and the people they trust.

Change.org currently has about 80 Mn active users, spread across 196 countries. In context of India it has about has about 2 Mn unique users and the latest funding will help it grow its presence over the next few months.

“The focus of this investment will be to make the technology a lot more mobile-friendly and accessible. That is exciting for India, because we have huge mobile penetration in the country, and this could mean greater penetration among the youth,” said Preethi Herman, country lead and campaigns director. 

This round takes total funds raised by Change.org to $40 Mn. Previously, it had raised  $15 Mn in an investment round led by Omidyar Network.

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