Almost three years ago, our Head of Development David Sitsky had a conversation in a pub with John Wood, founder of Room to Read, which led to the creation of our philanthropic product Proof Finder.

The model for Proof Finder is simple: we charge $100 for a fully featured but size-limited version of our core product and every cent of that revenue goes directly to Room to Read. As of today, we have sold 1,468 copies of Proof Finder and raised $146,800.

With that money, Room to Read has worked with local communities to build schools in Nepal and Sri Lanka and libraries in India, publish local language school books in Nepal and enable high-school education for 30 girls. We are about to hand over funding for a third school in Laos.

We weren’t the first to use this charitable model. We borrowed heavily from Atlassian’s $10 Starter License program, which has so far raised more than $3 million for Room to Read. We weren’t the first, but so far we have been the last. This has to change.

Room to Read has provided better educational opportunities for almost 9 million children around the world. But more than 250 million children around the world are illiterate and 61 million primary school-aged children are not in school. Most of them are in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.


Teacher and students at school in Sri Lanka
Philanthropic software has helped build schools like this one in Sri Lanka. Photo: Room to Read


Room to Read only works with communities that are willing to put “skin in the game.” Parents must be willing to dig the foundation holes for the school buildings, paint the libraries and provide ongoing support for their children’s education. Even with that caveat, Room to Read has more communities applying for projects than it has capital to fund them.

So my message is to the CEOs of software companies around the world: as we say in Australia, it’s time to pull your finger out.

The model behind the Starter License and Proof Finder works. It raises money for the worthiest of causes, grows your brand and in the long term it’s the best marketing you could hope for. Many Starter License buyers have progressed to fully fledged Atlassian customers. And Proof Finder has been our introduction to many new customers who have gone on to purchase our commercial products.

As John said today when he visited the Nuix Sydney office, imagine the multiplier effects if there were 5 or 10 or 20 products like Proof Finder.

So I call on the software industry to talk to Room to Read, or ask me, about how easy it is to set up your own philanthropic product.

Do it today. You won’t regret it.

Eddie Sheehy

Chief Executive Officer

Eddie Sheehy has been CEO of Nuix since 2006. He has overseen the company’s global expansion since the commercialization of its software after seven years of research and development.