In April, more than 200 schoolgirls were kidnapped in northern Nigeria. The event itself provoked an international outcry, but one interesting aspect of it was the global campaign that emerged to draw attention to the crisis. In the weeks following the kidnapping, thousands of people, including celebrities such as actors, singers, and even the First Lady of the United States tweeted and shared photos of themselves holding sheets of paper with “#BringBackOurGirls” written on them.
For Leevia, an Italian startup which just launched two weeks ago, the timing of that campaign could hardly be more appropriate. They argue that text petitions are boring and lack emotional pull. Therefore, they set to create a platform that allows people to discover and to share their own photo-based petitions.
Leevia is free at the moment, but CEO and co-founder Francesco Mancino tells me that they are working to develop a premium service that will offer additional features and a crowdfunding service.
The service functions by allowing users to submit photos and create campaigns for basically any topic you choose. Simply enter a title, a photo, and some tags and you are good to go. From there, users can connect to Facebook or Twitter to invite people to come support their campaigns. In order to support campaigns that you find on the site, you can add your photos (unlimited, but they reserve to delete photos that they determine to be inappropriate in nature).
Though they are currently participating in the acceleration program at Milan-based accelerator TechPeaks, Mancino says that they have already obtained 150K Euro from unnamed public and private investors. They are not revealing an exact number of users, but Mancino tells me that it currently numbers in the thousands.
One prominent competitor is Change.org, but that is a traditional, text-based service.