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Lift Conference 2015

Written by Dearbhla Gavin

Feb. 4 — The Lift Conference is known as being one of Europe’s key gatherings for innovation and technology. Horyou team members Dearbhla, Cintia, Lucas and Vincent attended the three-day event, which was held in Geneva, Switzerland. Cintia and Vincent manned the Horyou booth, ready to engage with those in attendance.

Horyou values interacting with individuals and organizations across all disciplines, and we certainly learned a lot from the diverse crowd at the conference. There were journalists, representatives of non-profit organizations, entrepreneurs, major companies, students and other people interested in using technology for the greater good. Audience

Now in its tenth year, Lift got off to a remarkable start with “The Woman’s Touch,” its first workshop. Ha Lam, co-founder and chief executive of travel platform Triip, described the difficulties confronting her as a female entrepreneur. Growing up in Vietnam, she faced many obstacles to seeing her dreams become a reality. Two female entrepreneurs who spoke during "The Woman's Touch" Alexandra Gamarra, founder of Usetime, which measures employee productivity, also discussed her struggles as a female CEO. However, she stressed that everyone has the same amount of hours in a day, making anything possible.

In another workshop, serial entrepreneur Cornelius “Conny” Boersch spoke of an incredible positive change in statistics for startup companies: Their failure rate has plummeted from 60% to 20%. This provided a backdrop to the final event of Seedstars World, a competition among startups in emerging markets. The stage was filled with entrepreneurs from every demographic brought together by their shared beliefs and desire to act on their dreams.

The second day of the Lift Conference restored faith in the notion that the business world is willing to listen to customers and rethink corporate practices. As consumers are becoming more environmentally friendly, for example, many businesses are adapting to accommodate them. The Horyou team spoke with Altitude Marketing, which has re-engineered its business model in response to the changing social consciousness of its clients. Altitude now offers advertising and marketing solutions with a whole new philosophy of social responsibility and sustainability in mind.

This idea was echoed in a separate discussion on how even the financial world is going through a reformation in both internal regulations and external social awareness.

Lift concluded with a workshop on social development hosted by Alexandre Fasel, UN Ambassador Permanent Representative of Switzerland. Lift Conference Dearbhla explained to participants how Horyou can promote social change and be used to increase the visibility of actions around the world that are making a positive impact on society. The representatives of the various industries in attendance, as well as Mr. Fasel, were very receptive to Horyou’s commitment to social good.

Although Lift is a technology conference, its attendees are incredibly diverse. It is clear that all kinds of people are embracing a socially positive way of living as well as the technology that will facilitate its proliferation. The Horyou team left the conference enlightened about the developments in social good across all industries and reinvigorated to continue with our work.

Countless people across the world are acting on their dreams to make the world a better place, and Horyou is here to give them a voice. Vincent


Written by ToniMarie Illuzzi

At Horyou, we believe in the ability to positively change our world through a humanistic approach to technology. This ability begins with a dream to inspire others to act in such a way that will produce beneficial outcomes. Bringing voices to light on a social platform creates an opportunity for our generation to communicate their passion to do good by using a different approach.

In honor of Black History Month, it is important that we remember the words of inspirational leaders advocating the potential to end racism and discrimination. Both Harriet Tubman and Martin Luther King Jr. rebelled against the evils of racism and discrimination based on the color of their skin. Their strong voices and ability to dream of a better future inspired others to act by taking a stand against ignorance.

Harriet Tubman using the underground railroad to lead enslaved African Americans to freedom
Harriet Tubman using the underground railroad to lead enslaved African Americans to freedom

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” — Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman was an American bondwoman who escaped from slavery in the South to become a leading abolitionist before the American Civil War. She led hundreds of enslaved African Americans to freedom along the route of the Underground Railroad, a collaboration of secret routes and safe houses heading to free territory. Her pure strength and selflessness led hundreds of slaves to freedom, which ultimately brought America one step closer to the abolishment of slavery.

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” — Martin Luther King Jr.

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    This week in France, Social Good Week took place and was dedicated to the numerous and diverse digital-solution-driven initiatives that positively affect societies – a full week to discover the initiatives revolving social media and solidarity. And of course, Horyou, the Social Network for Social Good, was a part of it!

    For this event, we organized, at our Parisian office, a screening of four documentaries featuring member Organizations of our social network from Cameroon, the United-States, Morocco and France to present to the public. Have you ever heard about the Green Bronx Machine and its urban farming project? Did you know about Sans_A and its work with “bringing visibility to homeless people” initiatives? Well, don’t worry! You can discover these great organizations online, on Horyou and Youtube.

    We were happy to see that many people were in attendance. We were even happier to know that around 30 events were organized in France and more than 260 worldwide. These events highlighted the growing role of the digital world and promoted the celebration of social good. The next day, our team was invited to the French presidential palace, as a Social Good Week partner, to discuss the role of innovators, organizations and startup companies, interested in bringing social progress and sustainability to societies. Among them, American economist Jeremy Rifkin spoke about his view on the digital technology revolution. He stressed that it is creating a sharing economy where every citizen has the power to do good.

    Palais de l'Elysée
    ]6 Palais de l’Elysée

    We also had the pleasure to listen to a speech by Aaron Sherinian, VP of communications and public relations at the U.N. Foundation, one of our media partners for SIGEF 2014. He said: “Technology is a tool that will help people to do good on a daily basis, reshaping philanthropy and creating a new world of engagement.” Well said, Mr. Sherinian! We fully agree with you, and this is why Horyou strives to bring visibility to the citizens of the world who decide to act at the service of their community. Because, as Mr Sherinian said, “challenges are great, but opportunities are greater!” And speaking of opportunities, French President François Hollande officially announced the launch of an international summit dedicated to Social Good 2.0 (“web social et solidaire”). Pretty exciting, isn’t it?

    And when we have a look at all the projects Horyou’s users are realizing, we are more convinced than ever that Horyou, as a facilitator, has an important role to play in this positive human evolution.

    To know more about our screening event, check the article on the Social Good Week website (in French).

    By Lucas Bullens

    It was a privilege for Horyou to be invited to the fourth edition of the Web Summit in Dublin, Ireland. With a staggering 22,000 attendees this year, it is the largest technology conference in Europe.

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    A total of 11 Horyou team members participated at the summit – seven from Geneva and four from Paris. Everyone woke up bright and early the first day to start setting up a stand at the event. The stands were quite small and intimate, and we had numerous other startups for neighbors.



    We were located in the area called The Village, where the Center Stage was located. The rooms were constantly filled with a sea of people, and the Horyou stand got quite a bit of attention (handing out Swiss chocolate being one of our many weapons for attracting people). During the course of the day, the rest of the Horyou team members arrived at the summit, and after a busy day at the stand, we finally packed up and journeyed back to our respective apartments to rest before heading out to dinner. Afterwards, we went to the Night Summit, a kind of pub crawl, which was organized by the Web Summit. People enjoyed the Irish nightlife experience and continued their networking in a more casual setting.


    The second day of the Web Summit, we were able to network, discover and really take in this incredible experience. Our media team was lucky to meet and interview the legendary skateboarder Tony Hawk, who was promoting his foundation at the summit. After this special encounter, the media team continued conducting interviews around the venue. Before all heading out after another exhausting day, some of the boys fed their “need for speed” by trying out prototype electric motorcycles. It was a great day!


    The final day, we all arrived motivated to finish off the summit off with a bang. We continued exploring, meeting new people and networking, while the media team managed to get hold of John Sculley, the ex-CEO of Apple, for an interview.



    Just after lunch, the entire team took part in an epic flyer distribution session. We were positioned next the area of the venue called The Town, which was a prime location in terms of visibility. Once we were done with our session, we were rewarded with a front-row seat to a group of shepherds failing at gathering a flock of multicolored sheep. Having not eaten lunch ourselves, we hurried to the Food Summit to grab whatever food was left there.



    The grand finale was the arrival of Bono. The Center Stage hall was packed. Bono, together with Eric Wahlforss (founder of SoundCloud), sat for a talk on the Center Stage. Afterwards, we gathered the remaining team members and headed to the Food Summit for a closing dinner party. Premium traditional Irish food and drinks were served. The Irish folk music gave everyone an irresistible urge to dance. And the presence of Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny seemed to make people shout out: “Free Water!”



    With full stomachs, we all headed back to our apartments. But the night was not over. Some of us met up at a club called Opium, where the closing party was held. The following day, the team went their separate ways and flew back home.

    All in all, the Web Summit was a wonderful and eye-opening experience. It showed us the magnitude of the tech scene. !

    See you next year!

    SIGEF 2014

    The Social Innovation and Global Ethics Forum was hosted by Horyou at the CICG in Geneva, Switzerland, Oct. 22nd-24th. The forum welcomed more than 2,000 participants and Personalities. The forum held six plenary sessions and eight thematic workshops, with 30 international speakers and 50 exhibition stands. SIGEF 2014 welcomed a large international crowd. It was a special moment for each and every individual who attended the first edition of the forum.

    SIGEF Geneva day 1

    On the opening day, the forum began with a Meet and Greet Breakfast for media, the speakers and partners who are part of SIGEF 2014. The opening remarks followed the session “Cities of the Future,” led by Sou Fujimoto, and Christian Brunier, CEO of Services Industriels de Genève, Didier Hamon, general secretary of the Aéroports de Paris, and Gorka Espiau, director of innovation for cities and regions, The Young Foundation. At the end of each day, SIGEF hosted an evening at Place de la Navigation, where people were able to connect through music, food and presentations.


    On the Oct. 23rd, SIGEF hosted documentary screenings and a session on “Arts and Education for Empowerment” led by Mr Reza Deghati, Ray Lema, Christian Holl and Favio Chavez. Genevieve Morand co-led the session on CSR, “The Beginning of a Journey,” and Richard Stallman, president of the Free Software Foundation, took the stage to speak on “Science and Technology for Better Times.”


    At the end of the second day, the SIGEF awards took place and SIGEF was proud to present the award to Hector Alvarez, who is the co-founder of, which is a social clothing brand that helps children in Bolivia. By purchasing a beanie, five meals are provided to a child in that country.

    On the final day of SIGEF, Socialphilia CEO Gaby Castellanos took the stage alongside Mishal Hamed Kanoo, chairman of The Kanoo Group. The session was a productive and SIGEF ended with closing remarks by the CEO of Horyou, Yonathan Parienti.

    SIGEF 2014 brought together people to share ideas, thoughts and to make a remarkable difference in this world for this generation and the next. It helped participants reflect by hearing wonderful presentations from the keynote speakers and plenary sessions. Horyou is proud to have hosted SIGEF 2014 and we look forward to seeing you all at SIGEF 2015.

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