Built in Colorado is a rapidly growing online community that publishes news about Colorado start up companies and publishes data on the tech scene. April Bohnert interviewed The Level Market Founder Stephanie Cox, about the idea for a marketplace for aid and relief supplies. Check out the article below.
In 2004, aid worker Stephanie Cox was on a long-tail boat on the Indian Ocean, racing away from a devastating tsunami that struck Thailand while she was visiting during a work deployment in Nepal. The crushing tidal wave, triggered by an earthquake, claimed over 230,000 lives and created one of the humanitarian crises that would lead her into the startup world — exactly 10 years later.
By then, Cox was working as an aid consultant and had been asked to find supplies to assist in the West African Ebola crisis. As she ran into roadblock after roadblock, she decided she had seen enough. She sat at her kitchen table in Colorado and sketched a plan for The Level Market, a B2B e-commerce platform that quickly connects nonprofit organizations with humanitarian aid suppliers.
“I had literally ordered a pair of shoes for my little girl on Amazon that morning to be delivered to my door the very next day, and that’s when I had my ‘ah-ha’ moment,” Cox said. “I was like, ‘Whoa, wait a second. The world is upside down here.’ We can order anything that we want on the internet and get it immediately, but when it comes to finding life-saving and life-improving supplies to meet the basic needs of humanity, there’s no marketplace.”
With 17 years of experience in the aid industry — and a whole lot of tenacity — Cox set out to develop what she hopes will someday become the “Amazon of aid.”
“I was a single mom in my PJs at my kitchen table,” Cox said. “I knew nothing about tech, nothing about coding, and I decided I was going to learn everything I could.”
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