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 Benelab.org 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 Benelab.org 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 Benelab.org 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
5/24/13

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

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