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Valet.io: Fundraising that empowers your donors

1) Elevator Pitch

Nonprofits spend $60 billion a year on fundraising expenses and admire the the incredible grassroots fundraising power of a handful of innovators like charity: water and Obama for America. We thought that every organization deserved that kind of power, so we built a mobile web application (no downloads required) to help them (nonprofits, political campaigns, and schools) turn their events into successful fundraising campaigns. Our first few customers weren't even planning to make a fundraising "ask" at their next event, but they're glad they did:

  • Cory Booker's senate campaign raised $5,000 in under 60 seconds the first time they used our software. The largest donation was $2,000—20x the donation the guest had made for his ticket. 
  • BronxWorks set a goal of $40,000 at their annual event. We surpassed that in barely a minute, finally settling at nearly $80,000. 

How'd we do it? Guests could see a live fundraising total on a projector screen and a scrolling list of names. To get there, all they had to do was open a link in a text message (sent to the phone number provided with their registration and enter their name, phone number, and the amount they wanted to give. No one was ever asked for payment information. How'd we get the money? Donors got automated text messages and emails that night and the next day, prompting them for billing information. After 24 hours, the organization made a single phone call to guests with unpaid pledges. The result? Nearly 70% of pledges were fulfilled via the automated notifications, and more than 90% after phone calls. 

We're current full-time students but we're not lacking in industry experience:

  • I'm a hacker (Ruby and Javascript) and consulted for several nonprofits on digital strategy and event technology for more than a year before founding Valet.io
  • Jake (co-founder #2) is a long-time motivational speaker for cancer nonprofits and is an active volunteer for political campaigns
  • Ben (co-founder #3) worked in event entertainment helping nonprofits puts on large events

2) Should I Be Raising?

Right now, no. My #1 priority is to bring on a second technical person at the founder level. Right now I'm coding 95% of the time to make sure we have a great product. If I could free up 20% to put towards building the high touch relationships that will help me hire the best team and market to big companies in the future, we could move a lot faster.

3) The Right Investors

We'd be much better off with a few great angels and maybe a couple of seed funds rather than a big VC. With a young team in a heavily relationship driven market, we'll benefit a lot more from someone who can actively advise the company. 

4) Pitch Video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mK6XDClhy90&feature=youtu.be

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