Chili Piper Launches New Foundation Amid the Ongoing Refugee Crisis

The SaaS startup has committed $1 million to supporting displaced people around the world, starting with Afghan refugees.

Written by Ellen Glover
Published on Oct. 05, 2021
Chili Piper Launches New Foundation Amid the Ongoing Refugee Crisis
Brooklyn-based Chili Piper launches new foundation to help with refugee crisis
Chili Piper co-founders Nicholas and Alina Vandenberghe. | Photo: Chili Piper

Brooklyn-based software startup Chili Piper just announced that it has committed $1 million to launch a new foundation called Citizens of our Planet (COOP) amid the ongoing Afghanistan refugee crisis, with the aim of supporting resettlement efforts around the world.

Over the summer, the United States pulled its troops out of Afghanistan for the first time in 20 years after leading a coalition to end Taliban rule there. Days later, a revitalized and newly armed Taliban overtook the capital of Kabul, prompting many Afghans to flee their homes and re-settle in other countries like Pakistan, Iran, Germany and the United States. Since the beginning of 2021, an estimated half a million people have been forced to flee their homes in Afghanistan.

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To help, Chili Piper’s COOP has formed a philanthropic partnership with the Techfugees Foundation, a UK-based collective of tech organizations and partners dedicated to empowering displaced people through digital innovations and data insights. Through this partnership, Chili Piper will host and hire a cohort of refugees, helping them and their families resettle in their new countries. The company will also create introductions to potential tech partners to drive additional fundraising efforts.

“COOP’s mission to support inclusion and a better world that recognizes human talent is well aligned with our own and we’re excited about this partnership,” Raj Burman, the CEO of Techfugees, said in a statement. “Our international efforts are mobilizing a catalytic movement to enable even more best-of-breed organizations to join the collective in following Chili Piper stewardship, to provide the duty of care to displaced people globally and recognize the wealth of their contributions to digital society.”

This announcement comes on the heels of a $33 million investment in Chili Piper led by Tiger Global and is coming at a time of rapid growth for the startup amid continued worldwide remote work. 

As U.S. immigrants themselves, husband and wife Nicholas and Alina Vandenberghe say Chili Piper’s latest partnership with Techfugees is especially personal. The co-founders launched the SaaS appointment scheduling platform in 2016 and now count tech giants like Intuit, Twilio and Spotify among its users. Now, the startup is looking outward in an effort to make a more “inclusive and peaceful world” overall.

“We believe it’s our mission to help build a worldwide community that promotes inclusivity, respect, and acceptance, working toward the end of all hostility,” Nicholas Vandenberghe said in a statement. “With this foundation we will support existing philanthropic projects as well as create our own projects to fulfill this mission. We’re humbled by the opportunity to support displaced persons as our first initiative.”

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