Friday, May 24, 2013

A New Beginning.

It all started in July 2011. After finishing a three-week course at Stanford's summer business EPGY program, I realized that I love entrepreneurship, decided that Stanford was my dream school, and promised myself that I'd build my own company. So I called my best friend Devin, and after a couple months of recruiting and intense work, Benelab Company and were born.

Now, almost two years later, it's May 2013, a week and a half before graduation, and I'm sitting in the same chair in front of the same computer in the same room it all started in. Benelab's been online for 20 straight months, been featured in 22 articles locally, nationally, and internationally, has directed over $5000 to great causes, and I have a thick "Approaching Stanford: Welcome Class of 2017!" packet sitting on my desk. Wow, it truly has been the craziest, most exciting journey of my life.

I can safely say that Benelab has been the biggest obsession I've ever had. I poured so much into it, and the experience poured so much into me; through it I found a genuine passion for social entrepreneurship, and realized that I want to make it my life mission to use technology, especially the Internet, and business innovation to help others. The experience didn't only affect me, either - Devin, Dalton, McKayla, and the rest of the Benelab team have all grown through it, and have left a legacy in our high school. We turned a simple idea on paper to an impactful platform capable of transforming hundreds of people's web searches into donations. In short, we made it.

And as our team moves on to a new, bigger world of college as adults, it's time for our dear baby to move on to a new, bigger stage as well. Today, I'd like to announce that after almost two years of hard work, Benelab Company and are winding down operations in light of a new, bolder life-saving venture - Bene. We're the exact same team, working for the exact same cause of using the Internet to save lives, but this time with a much bigger vision. With Bene, we're taking everything we've learned from Benelab and branching out from just Search to a whole ecosystem of charitable online products - from search to shopping to music.

Although we are not fully incorporated yet, Bene will be established as a Benefit Corporation. The for-profit structure allows us to receive outside investments, which ultimately gives us very high scalability. With private investment funds, we can hire full-time top talent, pursue more aggressive marketing strategies, engineer better products, and create the perfect environment for growth. All in all, we believe that this shift is the right choice, and that we can ultimately reach more lives with a bigger online platform.

So what happens to Benelab? The organization itself will be dissolved, and the website will now redirect to Bene. For you, the user, the experience will only get better, as Bene is built entirely around personal user accounts and funding highly project-based causes. Our Bene search engine is faster and sleeker, and soon you'll be able to generate money from other Bene web apps such as a travel search engine and shopping plugin.

We are thrilled to introduce our new baby to you. Thank you all so much for making our Benelab experience so great, and here's to the future and Bene!

Signing off,
Jack Kim
Founder & CEO - Benelab

P.S. If you have any questions regarding Bene or Benelab, please feel free to reach me at I'd love to tell you all about it.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

January/February - International Justice Mission


We've updated our January/February cause: to hire a legal prosecutor for a survivor of abuse through the International Justice Mission.

A spokesperson from the IJM came and spoke to our entire school at King's last Friday, and talked about all the cool things they do to seek justice in developing countries. Their solution is to take legal routes to prosecute violent criminals and rapists. The money that we raise this month and February will be going towards paying for trial fees for one case. To find more about the cause, visit IJM's website here.

If you have any more questions, feel free to contact us about anything; we'll be happy to answer them for you.

-the Benelab Team

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

November Cause Extended

Hi all!

Just a quick reminder - we have decided to extend the November cause to meet our goal of purchasing 5 Dominican Republic birth certificates! Please refer to the last blog post to find out more about the cause.

-Benelab Team

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

November Cause - Birth Certificates for Ascension!

A legal identity is something we all live with. We take it for granted - I mean, we're simply given a document with our names printed on it when we're born, and that's that. We use it occasionaly when we work with legal stuff, and again, that's that.

But what if we didn't have this little piece of paper?

Well, we technically wouldn't exist. We wouldn't be able to recieve education beyond a certain point, we wouldn't be able to get jobs, and we ultimately wouldn't be able to sustain ourselves.

This is exactly the case if you're a Haitian born in the Dominican Republic. Due to certain events in the past, Haiti and the DR don't really play well together, and DR-born Haitians grow up being hated. They are not given birth certificates when born, and thus in a legal standpoint, they simply do not exist. They can't receive public education beyond 8th grade, and they can't get jobs. As a result, these people live miserable lives, barely able to sustain themselves by scavenging for food and begging on the sidewalks.

So what's the solution? We provide them with money so that they can go and purchase birth certificates from the government. With birth certificates, now they can go out, get jobs, and essentially start new lives. It's a little piece of paper, but it has the power to change a person's life.

Our funds raised from the month of November will go towards purchasing 5 DR birth certificates (each one costs about $40 USD). We will be working with Megan, a long-term missionary working in the little village of Ascension, DR. Her short-term goal for the next couple months is to gather enough money to purchase 30 birth certificates, and we're doing our best to support her and her awesome cause!

More details will come soon; stay tuned :).

Jack Kim, Benelab

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A (Very) Important Announcement


This is Jack Kim, one of the founders here at Benelab. Today I just wanted to update you all on what's happening at Benelab and announce some exciting future plans.

First, the current situation:
As some of you may have noticed, our ever-increasing monthly donation amounts have been actually decreasing lately. This is because in the recent months, our marketing efforts have been mostly stagnate. The majority (in fact, all but one) of the Benelab team are now seniors in high school, which means - that's right - the lovely college application process has started! As much as we'd like to see Benelab serving hundred of thousands of users and donating tens of thousands of dollars to awesome causes, we feel that we should *probably* get into college. This situation results in Benelab getting minimal attention, but luckily enough we have a very self-sustaining platform. As soon as December is over though, oh boy, expect to see huge strides in user count and donation amounts!

Second, the future of Benelab
As soon as we seniors are released from the wretched grasp of college applications, the Benelab team will operate on full throttle. As the CEO of the company I am setting big goals for the coming year, and I will do everything I can to make them happen:

1) Undergo a MAJOR website redesign and re-infrastructure (first thing we'll do)
2) Double the existing user base
3) Launch new products to operate alongside the extant Benelab Search
4) Surpass a total donation amount of $10,000 to various causes
5) Gain at least 3 more national press coverages

So there you have it - a very important public announcement regarding the current happening at Benelab and our future plans! Thanks a lot for being a part of our community!

Jack Kim
Founder & CEO - Benelab

September & October Donations Coming Soon!

Hi all,

A quick update on the status of our September and October donations!

As usual, we have to wait for Yahoo's payment before sending off any checks to monthly organizations. Though we not have an exact estimated day, we do know that the payment is coming very soon. So hold on tight! We'll post the checks on our lovely donations page as soon as we receive the moola from the folks at Yahoo. Thanks!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

New October Cause - Finally!

Hello everyone!

It's already been 13 days since October started, and we're just announcing the cause of the month!
We will be raising $200 to donate flocks of geese to Heifer International! We chose geese because they're sustainable sources of income for families in need. Heifer's mission is to "work with communities to end hunger and poverty and care for the earth," and we thought donating geese would be super cool! To learn more about our gift, visit here.

Another update: I had a personal visit to World Concern recently, and handed them the $400 donation we had raised in July and August. They loved it, and even interviewed me to be in their blog!