somos has a unique ownership model

somos is community backed with 23 investors taking part in our pre-seed fundraising round. they've all bought into a business model that allocates equity ownership for the team, teachers and grassroots community organisations.

  • 2,500 shares

    have been put aside at the pre-seed funding stage to allot to our five core community partners (represented 0.5% each as at december 2021). these shares give our partners the same financial and voting rights as the founder and investors have. 

  • 1% of gmv

    will be donated to our five core community partners annually (0.2% each). we've chosen a % of gross merchandising value instead of profits so that our users know that every single purchase from day 1 will result in a donation to our partners

  • 30,000 shares

    have been put in an initial option pool for future somos employees and teachers. we recognise the importance of long term security and want to give teachers every incentive to make somos the best place to grow their business. 

community driven governance

somos is a for-profit social enterprise and our governing documents specifically require us to take our shareholders, employees and other stakeholders into equal consideration when making decisions. 

purpose

somos exists to: 

1) enable language teachers to earn & live well;

2) provide access to affordable language education; 

3) support language rights for all people.

directors' duties

unlike most for-profit companies, somos needs to think beyond the needs of its shareholders and also consider all stakeholders and the wider community in its behaviour and decision making. 

responsible business principles

somos is committed to operating in line with its responsible business principles.  

reporting

somos is obliged to produce an annual report setting out its performance with respect to its community commitments. 

innovation

the founder commits to continued anti-racist and organisational justice based training. at somos, we want to be both innovative and culturally intelligent in how the organisation operates and this will be a cornerstone of growing and developing the team. 

accountability

along with reporting requirements, somos will be giving direct shareholder power to our community partners. They will have the same financial and voting rights as our investors. 

frequently asked questions

a unique set up comes with questions! here are some common ones but of course if you have more, please feel free to get in touch 😀 

  • which community organisations will somos be partnering with?

    we will be announcing our core community partners in h2 2022. 

    the organisations will be groups specialising in either:

    • the protection & promotion of language rights,
    • mental health & wellbeing;
    • broader access to digital services for systematically excluded cultures and groups, and/or
    • supporting refugees and migrants in diaspora.
  • why is somos making its community partners shareholders?

    we want our long term future to be aligned with our community. if our project goes well, we want to share that success directly with grassroots organisations doing critical work protecting languages, culture and people. 

    traditional csr and diversity and inclusion programmes are often very top down. we want to build with (rather than for) the communities we work in. giving our partners shares with the same financial and voting rights as our other investors makes us directly accountable to them. 

  • Is somos a not for profit?

    no. somos is a for-profit social enterprise. unlike regular for-profit companies, somos is obliged under its governing documents to look beyond its shareholders and also consider other key stakeholders (e.g. employees, partners and the wider community) into account when making decisions. one of somos's key objectives is to have a material positive impact on society. 

  • does somos work with community groups and charities other than its core partners?

    yes! we are particularly keen to work with people/organisations that (i) teach or facilitate the teaching of endangered, minoritised & indigenous languages; (ii) support refugees and migrants in diaspora (e.g. free classes to learn local languages, protecting rights etc); (iii) broaden access to digital education; and (iv) support mental health and wellbeing. 

    if you are a charity or community organisation interested in working with us/think our platform could help you, please feel free to contact us and we'll be happy to discuss.