Co-founder of LinkedIn Reid Hoffman is leading a $30 million investment in Change.org, the for-profit “social change platform” that’s best known as a site for activists to post petitions to the public.
Hoffman said, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and Y Combinator President Sam Altman will also be participating. All three tech leaders actually participated in the company’s last $24 million investment round back in late 2014.
Hoffman refers to Change.org as “a crucial democratizing force,” elaborating that its users and petition starters hold powerful interests accountable. Currently, Change.org has 180 million users.
Hoffman said, it helps enable a world where you don’t need to hire a lobbyist to have real impact on the issues and policies that matter to you.
The petitions on the site have ranged from the serious, like rallying to save an “exceptional” student from deportation, to the silly, like calling on McDonalds to bring back a retired chicken nugget dipping sauce.
The site has inspired legislative action, too, as when petition resulted in new laws protecting the rights of sexual assault victims.
This investment comes less than a year after Change.org had to lay off 30% of its staff, reportedly affecting over 100 employees.
Change.org CEO Ben Rattray said that the company generated $20 million in revenue in 2016, and will be pursuing its more recent strategy of letting petition signers contribute funds to a campaign, with the company taking a cut. Similarly, Change.org will be focusing on letting users pay to promote their petitions on the site.