Social impact on
a global scale

Empowering social entrepreneurs to drive
real change across the globe.

Verb closes $2.3 million in Series Seed funding

We've got big plans for growth and social impact.

Shining Hope in Africa

Learn how a Verb social venture helped transform
a village in Kenya one student at a time.

IBM selects 10 Social Ventures for SXSW Accelerator

We joined forces with IBM to create a YouTube series featuring millennial social ventures.


Empowering social entrepreneurs to change the world – for good.

We run competitions and prizes with large organizations and brands that bring disruptive innovation to the world’s most wicked problems.

A new approach to tackling big, global issues

We connect our clients with social entrepreneurs through competitions to work together and drive change in the world. Our competitions give social ventures access to the resources and network they need to grow and sustain their businesses.

We believe that doing good is good business

We help our clients bring social responsibility efforts to life through competitions, and engage employees and stakeholders as mentors and judges along the way. Our clients bring their brand to life through real, measurable results.

Latest News


Verb Announces Seed Series Funding Close

By | VERB | No Comments

Today, Verb  announced closure of $2.3 million in Series Seed funding, which is one of the largest rounds ever for an Austin-based social enterprise. Verb connects large corporations and foundations to thousands of social entrepreneurs around the world through competitions and a proprietary technology platform. With a focus on solving “wicked” problems, Verb partners exclusively with clients who want to run competitions tackling social and environmental issues.

Suzi Sosa and Tom Meredith co-founded Verb in 2013 after running a seven-year competition at the University of Texas called the Dell Social Innovation Challenge. Over the years, Verb has replicated the model with clients such as IBM and LIVESTRONG. The 2013 LIVESTRONG Big C competition was hailed by Forbes as “the first time that such a competition has been attempted in healthcare.”

In addition, Verb recently announced a multiyear partnership with the Everglades Foundation to run their $10 million science prize.

“Verb has huge market potential,” said Tom Meredith, Verb’s Co-founder and lead investor. “Verb helps organizations to source creative ideas as well as top talent to address the problems and opportunities that interest them most. Verb’s platform and ecosystem provide entrepreneurs and organizations with the means to replicate and scale their innovations well beyond their local communities or existing markets. Verb helps entrepreneurs around the globe to identify strategic partners, sources of capital and mentors. In short, Verb is at the epicenter of the social innovation movement.”

Award-winning leadership

Ernst & Young recognized Verb’s innovative business model blending financial return and social impact by awarding co-founder and CEO Suzi Sosa with the coveted Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2014.

“We are responding to three massive trends in the marketplace,” notes Sosa. “First, businesses are now seeking to address social and environmental issues more strategically. Second, the rise in global entrepreneurship means there are more innovative startups than ever before, and finally, social media enables engagement with the public on a much larger scale.”

Verb’s Series Seed round is unique because it includes two philanthropic foundations, the Graham Family Foundation and the Tingari-Silverton Foundation, among our investors.

“This was an incredible opportunity for our foundation to make its first program related investment,” says Graham Family Foundation Director and Build-A-Sign CEO Dan Graham. “We are excited that we can make investments that also support our foundation’s mission. More foundations should consider opportunities like these.”

Verb’s Series Seed investment capital will be used to fund global expansion, platform development and strategic hires. Recent additions to the company include Chief Operating Officer Laura Broderick and Chief Creative Officer Tommy Lynn. Verb expects to continue to grow the team throughout the year.

Verb Series Seed Investors

Tom Meredith (Meritage Capital), John Thornton (Austin Ventures), Bobby Epstein (Circuit of the Americas), Matthew Dowd (Paradox Capital), David Hunt (Petro-Hunt L.L.C.), Herbert Simon (Simon Property Group), Zita Cassizzi (TOMS Shoes), Kurt Wilkins (HireBetter), Donna Wilkins (Charity Dynamics), Marc Winkelman (Calendar Holdings LLC), Andrew Bursten (Coastal Telephone Co.), Lance Fors (LFI Properties), Pamela Ryan (Tingari-Silverton Foundation), Dan & Lisa Graham (Graham Family Foundation), and Walter Wilkie (Philanthropist).


Verb Makes Additions to Executive Team

By | VERB | No Comments

We are always seeking the best and brightest in the industry to support our efforts in building the Verb brand, expanding into new regions across the world and grow our thriving community of over 25,000 social entrepreneurs in 100 different countries.

Recent strategic hires

We are pleased to announce that we recently hired Laura Broderick, Chief Operating Officer to revitalize our strategic partnerships, business development and operational efficiency for long-term growth; and and Tommy Lynn, Chief Creative Officer to transform the way we tell the Verb story, support our clients and social ventures in telling their own brand stories and help our clients realize the social and business value of doing good.

About Laura

Laura joined Verb in February 2015 as our Chief Operating Officer. Prior to joining Verb, she was CMO of hibu, Inc., a $1.5B UK based global digital and web services company.

Her previous roles include serving as Senior Vice President of Brand Development for the San Diego Padres and 10 years at Dell as a marketing and e-commerce executive. At Dell, Laura served as Global Consumer E-Commerce Executive Director, responsible for its $4 billion online consumer business.

Laura was born and raised in Houston, TX, and is a graduate of Duke University, where she earned a degree in English and History. She received her Masters in Business Administration from Harvard Business School, and served as a Board Member for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas and San Diego County.

About Tommy

Tommy joined Verb in March 2015 as our Chief Creative Officer. Prior to Verb, he was the Global Creative Director for Dell, Inc. where he created a large, award-winning in-house agency, Dell Blue; which performed creative, marketing and advertising duties globally. He led and executed the global repositioning and redesign of the Dell brand inclusive of strategy, design, voice and the refresh of all vehicles from building signage and experiences to photo, video and marketing. Tommy built and lead the online user experience design team, which led a full global redesign of Dell’s online experience.

Prior to Dell, Tommy ran and worked across several agencies and firms in Dallas as well as running his own design studio. He holds degrees in Sociology and Psychology from the University of Oklahoma and a degree in Design from the Art Institute of Dallas. He is a member of AIGA and devotes time outside the office helping other creatives understand how to fuse a connection between business and design through brand and creative strategy.

Additional team members are expected to be hired in 2015, and stay tuned for updates on the new additions to our team.

We’re always on the lookout for passionate believers in the power of social entrepreneurship to change the world. We’re a scrappy bunch and bring a great attitude to our collaborative style of work on solving global challenges, empowering others and building enduring brands. If you fit the bill, we’d love to meet you.


Everglades Foundation Selects Verb to Manage $10 million Science Prize

By | Everglades, VERB | No Comments

One of the world’s most wicked environmental threats today is phosphorous pollution in freshwater bodies across the globe.

To tackle this, the Everglades Foundation engaged Verb to run a $10 million science prize seeking innovative and cost-effective processes for simultaneously removing phosphorous and sourcing clean water from freshwater bodies.

“This enormous undertaking has the potential to fundamentally change how we clean waterways polluted by excess phosphorus that threatens our global water supply,” said Eikenberg. “Verb is uniquely qualified to lead this initiative, as we search for an innovative breakthrough.”

Saving our global water supply

The prize is a multi-year science-based effort that will rely on the best scientists and engineers from around the world to study, design and ultimately complete a process capable of meeting the world’s need to capture excess phosphorus and recycle it for productive uses.

In close partnership with the Everglades Foundation, Verb will execute a strategic plan to engage experts, educate the public and foster a community of entrepreneurs through a comprehensive set of services and technology platform.

“This prize will have an impact reaching far beyond the Everglades,” says Verb CEO Suzi Sosa, “Not only will it benefit freshwater bodies everywhere, but it will also demonstrate the power of competitions to solve our planet’s most pressing problems.”

A historic undertaking

In addition to the $10 million prize, the Everglades Foundation will award “sub-prizes” to reward innovators tackling smaller subsets of the problem within the broader stakeholder community. An independent panel of judges, with diverse backgrounds in science, policy and economics, will oversee the process and select the winners.

This multi-year competition is the largest science prize ever run focused on clean water, and is expected to attract more than 300 applicants from over 10 countries.


Using Design Thinking to Accelerate Social Innovation

By | VERB | No Comments

The challenge: A development project in Zambia wants to improve family planning and contraception use among young girls.

This is not an unusual development problem, and could be approached with many standardized solutions. But, what if we wanted better outcomes? At lower cost? How would we solve it then?

At Verb, we are big advocates of design thinking for ourselves and for our community of social entrepreneurs because it increases the probability of a breakthrough innovation– and can be used to innovate products, services and business models.

Why Design Thinking Matters

Design thinking is particularly powerful for social innovation because it can lead to more effective and impactful programs at lower cost. It is also very inclusive and thrives despite severe constraints. For example, in Zambia, design thinking led to the development of pop-up nail salons; which were very low cost and perfectly suited to the intimate one-on-one conversations that foster sex education conversations with girls and women present.

We value design thinking because it requires a willingness to discard preconceived notions and to approach the process with a beginner’s mindset. At its core, design thinking is a multi-step process as simple as the scientific method, but it becomes more powerful in the way it is implemented. When we explore a problem through the design thinking process, we are more likely to understand the root cause of the problem with empathy and come up with creative and lasting solutions.

How Design Thinking Works

Design thinking has three primary phases, which make up the innovation cycle – inspiration, ideation, and iteration. Once an idea has been sufficiently refined, the innovator advances to the final phase: implementation.

1 – Inspiration

Inspiration is the first phase and is rooted in observation and divergent thinking. The goal of the inspiration phase is to acquire a lot of information from different kinds of sources. There are several useful tools that an innovator can deploy to collect high quality information in this phase, such as immersions and peers observing peers.  The most important objective of this phase is to delay judgments and conclusions about the solutions and to preserve the “beginner’s mindset.” All great innovations and breakthroughs are rooted in the insights that emerge from the inspiration phase.

2 – Ideation

The ideation phase is when the innovator begins to form hypotheses. It’s important to maintain an open mind and some degree of divergent thinking in this phase, too, and design thinking tools such as storyboarding, rapid prototyping, and role play can be particularly useful to do this.   Ideation works best when the innovator utilizes techniques that activate both the right and left sides of the brain, mixing both creativity and analytical thinking. For example, mind mapping is a very useful tool that activates both sides of the brain. Many other people report having their best, most innovative ideas while engaged in activities like playing music, exercising, sleeping, or making art. Very few people have their most innovative ideas in front of a computer!

3 – Iteration

In the iteration phase the innovator tests hypotheses made in the ideation phase, and convergent thinking begins to take over as the best solutions emerge. Low-cost, rapid prototypes are particularly powerful tools in the iteration phase and allow the innovator to discover limits and fail fast. It is very important to remain flexible and open-minded in this phase because the first iteration is rarely successful. Ideally innovators are testing multiple, simultaneous solutions before choosing one. The goal of the iteration phase is to use experimentation to collect more precise information that will inform another round of ideation and iteration.

The innovation cycle is complete when multiple rounds of inspiration, ideation and iteration have led to a powerful innovation that is ready for implementation.

More information and case studies are available on

Have you tried using the design thinking process in your own work? We’d love to hear about the projects you’re working on.

Featured Case Studies


Shining Hope for Communities


LIVESTRONG – Big C Competition


Husk Power Systems


Dell – Social Innovation Challenge


Dell – Empowering Women Challenge


Sword & Plough


TOMS – Start Something That Matters Fellowship








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