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Colu. Make your journey count.

A rewards platform designed to encourage residents to move around the city in ways that contribute to local livelihood & sense of community

Photo of Elad Erdan
10 11

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Colu proposes to launch a local city rewards platform, powered by a unique digital currency (“the Detroit Coin”), to build an inviting environment by rewarding locals for taking everyday actions which collectively contribute to local livelihood and sense of community in the Michigan Central Station area. Alongside this, the platform will be used to encourage residents to change their mobility habits and adopt public, shared and other innovative mobility solutions. 

Practically, the platform allows residents and people who regularly visit the city, to be rewarded for moving around the city and experiencing what it has to offer in ways that contribute to making it a better place for everyone - through Colu’s “City Journeys” in the Colu app. For example, a City Journey can be such that residents are rewarded for shopping at local independent businesses while using public transportation to reach and explore the area. Another example of a City Journey can reward residents for exploring the unique spots of a certain neighborhood by trying green modes of mobility, like bikes or scooters. 

Rewards will be given in Detroit Coin, which can then be spent at local businesses or paid forward for good causes, such as charities and nonprofits operating in Detroit, thus strengthening the local economy and the resilience of the community.

The platform is designed to facilitate collaboration between city council, local businesses, mobility solutions providers and anchor institutions in rewarding residents for shared goals which improve city life.  Put simply, the Detroit local currency deployed in the Colu app will act as a fuel to drive people towards using mobility as a means of boosting local livelihood.

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How will your solution benefit residents, workers, or visitors in the Michigan Central Station impact area? (1,000 characters)

Colu’s platform offers a consumer App that will be used by residents and people who regularly visit the Michigan Central Station area, and tools for local businesses and local anchor institutions, e.g., Detroit City Council or local nonprofit organisations, to engage with users of the App and reward them. For users of the App the platform will be an enabler to encourage and reward them for exploring and experiencing the city from different perspectives. For local merchants, the platform will provide the opportunity to reach new customers, to engage and retain existing customers, while partnering with other businesses and city champions to strengthen the local economy. For anchor institutions, nonprofits and the Detroit City Council, the platform will provide a tool to nudge a behavioral change and to generate engagement with residents (or customers) in connection with local living and other city goals and a tool to support independent businesses in the city.

Describe your solution's stage of development

  • Fully Scaled - you have already scaled your solution and are exploring new use cases

Insights from previous testing (500 characters)

Colu recently concluded a successful campaign alongside Tel Aviv Municipality, boosting local economic activity and social resilience in a less affluent area, where local businesses were suffering due to a massive transportation upgrade. The campaign generated a significant increase in local economic activity (over $250k) by encouraging residents to visit the area, despite the mobility challenge. Residents testimonials revealed that many travelled from nearby neighborhoods to support the area

Tell us about your team or organization (500 characters)

Colu was founded in 2014 and is a leading innovator in local currencies and citizen engagement. Operating in Tel Aviv, Haifa (Israel), Liverpool and Belfast (UK), Colu has more than 200K users and accounts for over 300,000 monthly transactions. Colu has raised over $40 million from major VC investors and won several awards within the Israeli startup ecosystem. The company's CEO is a well-known entrepreneur, while senior executives include experts in behavioral economics, design and product.

Size of your team or organization

  • 11-50

Team or Organization URL

Are you submitting as a student team?

  • No

Are you submitting as a team from the Impact Area?

  • No

Funding Request

  • $200,000

Rough Budget (500 characters)

Our budget estimation for the pilot period consists of an operational budget in the amount of USD50K (for a local team and support from Colu’s HQ) a reward budget in the amount of USD 150K to be distributed in rewards to residents during the period of the pilot.

Describe how you would pilot your idea (1000 characters)

Colu, alongside Ford Mobility, will launch a “Detroit Coin” - a unique digital currency that will be used to reward residents and will be accepted at local businesses that join the Colu network in the Michigan Central Station area. Colu will seek active collaboration with Detroit City Council. In preparation for the launch, Colu’s local team will begin pre-boarding a critical mass of merchants and business partners to enable a meaningful launch of the app to users. Once achieved, the app will be opened to users and Colu’s local team will take aggressive steps to generate acquisition of users and grow the network of merchants. Colu will publish “City Journeys” on the app - a series of actions and interactions which result in a reward on completion, to encourage residents to use greener mobility modes and to take other everyday actions which collectively contribute to the area’s local livelihood and sense of community.

Describe how you would measure the success of your pilot (1000 characters)

Pilot success will be tested in light of two KPI’s - 1) Successful adoption of platform (measured in terms of the number of active monthly users, active merchants and monthly volume of rewards); 2) Successful POC for impacting local behaviour, e.g., campaign to move economic activity in the Michigan Central Station area, increasing the number of residents that are exposed to information regarding using mobility solutions through the platform or encourage other (measurable) activities in the area - Preferably to be identified jointly with the city prior to launch of pilot; and 3) Company's ability to form partnerships with the City of Detroit, commercial entities and other city anchor institutions that will enable scaling of the platform after the pilot term is over.

Sustainability Plan (500 characters)

Colu’s sustainability plan for ongoing operation is based on its ability to expand into new areas of the city (to increase the number of active users and merchants on its network) and its ability to form partnerships with city anchor institutions that will sponsor reward budgets. As part of its business model for sustained operation, Colu will charge merchants and commercial business partners a monthly subscription fee for use of the platform.

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Photo of yahal sella

I own a fast-food restaurant in Tel Aviv, our clients and I love using Colu's platform.

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