Isa Watson, CEO and founder of Durham based Envested, which built a platform to engage Millennial’s, among others, in charitable giving, said she had to learn one lesson quickly as an entrepreneur.
Previously a chemist with drug giant Pfizer, and in business development with J.P. Morgan after earning her MBA from MIT, she found that in the startup business a CEO has to be a jack of all trades. “I had to learn enough to run the business without those rich resources I had before,” she said.
“I just had to roll up my sleeves and learn what I needed to know.”
Watson founded Envested in 2015, funded by friends and family round of $300,000. The four-person company created in iOS app and web platform with the Android version coming soon, that uses sophisticated data analysis to personalize a giving experience. Users select a geographic area and the causes they care most about.
“Our market research shows there is increasing desire for people to give and make an impact on their communities,” Watson said.
Nonprofits in a given area currently the Triangle create “challenges” that show up for consideration in those personalized profiles. The company has a partnership with MIT to analyze its user data so that it can present challenges that resonate with them.
Nonprofits explain exactly where a donor’s money is going when they create a challenge.
The company’s revenue model is based on corporate sponsorships of the nonprofits issuing the challenges, as oppsosed to the 5 to 10 percent fees competitors charge.
Watson said that while she is aware there are competitors out there, they don’t focus hyper locally or target users with data analysis the way her company does. It also includes a social connection platform so users can see what others are doing and share.
“We plan to expand and replicate this model in other cities in NC and beyond,” Watson said. Targets include Charlotte, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Boston, and Detroit.
Our partner site, Exit Event detailed the process: http://www.exitevent.com/article/envested-app-matches-millennials-with-60-triangle-nonprofits-160315
On the web:https://www.envested.org/