In 2016, Funraise began as a night project. Tony, Jason, and I worked together at Liberty in North Korea, a nonprofit we still support. Despite the years of nonprofit experience under our belts, we found that it was a constant struggle to accomplish our fundraising dreams with the technology at hand. Long story short: What we wanted didn't exist, so we created it. During the day we faced nonprofit and fundraising challenges and by night we solved them by building Funraise.
Cut to Summer 2016; we had recruited a few developers to join our team and called them 'The Night Watch’. With Funraise not yet taking on paying customers, our closest family and friends invested to help us set up some servers and keep the lights on.
For the next six months, we continued our nighttime coding, building, designing, and testing. The Night Watch's ability to quickly test, gain feedback, and iterate on what we were building was a constant source of inspiration for us all—and is very much in Funraise's DNA. Due to the team's heads-down dedication, Tony, Jason, and I were able to launch Funraise's first product, a donation form, while still working full-time at LiNK.
It wasn’t long before friends at other nonprofits started noticing Funraise technology in the wild, so of course, they wanted it too!
Care for Aids, Dig Deep, and Mercy for Animals were among our first users. These organizations acted as both customers and partners, providing indispensable real-world—and real-time—feedback on what we were building.
Something we recognized very early on was that Funraise was piquing the interest of small and large nonprofits alike. To think that we were building something that could truly impact and empower the people behind these causes encouraged us to dream big and explore just how far we could take the platform. One thing was crystal clear: regardless of their size or budget, organizations were looking for a more seamless solution that made raising money… well, fun!
2017 was a big year.
Within a few months of launching its donation form, Funraise was in the hands of a few dozen organizations and we hit 2017 at a sprint. With only a handful of employees, we rolled out product after product: a CRM, Campaign Sites, Peer-to-Peer functionality, and even a payment app. Funraise went from supporting a few dozen customers to a few hundred. And as we reached 20 employees toward the close of the year, Funraise had officially become an all-in-one platform.
That’s why we’re excited to share that this week, Funraise closed an investment of over $9.7 million in our Series A financing, led by Toba Capital.
With this investment, we're doubling our amazing team and doubling down on our product so that we can better serve our deserving customers. The Funraise platform is going to be receiving enhancements, growth, and love from over 20 additional expert engineers. We’ve also considerably increased the Funraise customer success team to provide our customers with a level of support that is unmatched, and expanded our marketing to increase visibility and reach more customers. The next 12-18 months are going to be an exciting time to watch Funraise rise!
Barely two years since launching to the public, Funraise now has over 400 customers, 37 full-time employees, and the best and brightest in the nonprofit and technology space. Together we're building the future of nonprofit fundraising—and we can't contain our excitement over it!
As we celebrate this milestone, we want to thank you for believing in and supporting our vision. The feedback we’ve received from our customers has been incredibly important in our process and will continue to play a critical role in how we expand and improve Funraise. Here’s to the future. We can’t wait to see what we build together.
See you in Funraise's platform!
Justin Wheeler, Funraise CEO and Co-founder