Like many Tel Aviv workplaces, mobile ad-tech company Mobfox welcomes employees’ pet dogs in the office.
So when Mobfox executives began planning a hackathon to benefit a social cause, it was only natural that they decided on animal welfare charity SOS Pets.
The “Mobfix the World” hackathon on May 3 challenged Mobfox employees to invent tech-driven solutions for the charity’s everyday challenges in rescuing and finding homes for homeless cats and dogs.
“We got acquainted with SOS and they presented issues they need help with, such as how to raise more funds, spread the word and get more traction for what they do; how to work in a more organized and efficient manner and maintain their supporters and contributors. We found there are probably a lot of areas we could contribute to with our creative team and data scientists,” says Mobfox Managing Director Gil Klein.
Before the 12-hour hackathon began at the company’s offices, employees brainstormed ideas. About 80 people participated, including the 55 Mobfox staffers in Tel Aviv and some from its parent company, Matomy Media. (Mobfox also has offices in London, Vienna, New York and China.)
One of the ideas is targeting in-app advertising to people likely to be willing to adopt a pet or donate to SOS. Another is an app for donors, adopters and the foundation to stay in communication.
“We also thought how to create interesting videos and landing pages to get users engaged and find business development ideas that SOS Pets can use to connect to a commercial company, such as a pet-food maker, that can help spread the word to their customers. And we thought about putting a famous name or face as an influencer for SOS to raise recognition,” Klein tells ISRAEL21c.
Cash prizes were awarded to the best ideas, and the winning teams each decided to donate the money to SOS. Klein points out that the teams joined together Mobfox employees who don’t ordinarily have an opportunity to work together.
Daphna Deouell, marketing manager and volunteer coordinator for SOS Pets, tells ISRAEL21c the Mobfix hackathon “was amazing for us.”
SOS rescues more than 20 homeless cats and dogs every week, working with shelters from Israel’s north to south. “Every Friday we have adoption days in Ramat Aviv and Ramat Hasharon, and in Herzliya on Saturdays. We find about 50 adoptive homes every weekend. We also have educational programs in schools,” explains Deouell.
“It’s almost 40 years since our organization was founded by Riki Bassry, who still doesn’t take any salary,” Deouell says. “All these years most of our budget goes to treatment, spaying and neutering so we have no money left for marketing and advertising. Mobfox opened a new window for us and we got beautiful and creative ideas. They will help us put one or two ideas into action.”
Klein says Mobfox hopes to “keep supporting SOS with brainpower” and to plan more hackathons around social causes.
“We were happy to see our people’s enthusiasm and creativity,” he says.