Classy raises $18M for charity crowdfunding
Classy, a San Diego company that provides online fundraising tools for non-profits, is itself the beneficiary of a substantial amount of cash.
The crowdfunding-for-causes startup said Tuesday that it has pulled in $18 million through a funding round led by Mithril Capital Management, which is chaired by serial entrepreneur and investor Peter Thiel. The round included participation from existing investors such as Bullpen Capital and Salesforce Ventures, the venture arm of the publicly traded online customer management company.
Launched in early 2011, Classy’s online platform has hosted more than 300,000 cause-based fundraising campaigns, raising a collective $130 million from 1.3 million people for social enterprises such as the World Food Program, Special Olympics, National Geographic and Surfaid. The company has 80 employees and plans to use some of the new cash to triple its 15-person engineering team. Classy has also appointed Michael Young, the former chief technology officer at Redfin, as its first CTO.
“Eighty million millennials will make up more than 50 percent of the workforce in less than five years and their overwhelming preference is to engage online and through mobile,” said Classy CEO Scot Chisholm. “Still, only 10 percent of the $360 billion that non-profits raised in the United States last year was raised online; but this is about to change in a big way.”
Classy co-exists in an increasingly crowded space of startups providing online fundraising tools, including San Diego-based GoFundMe. The co-founders of GoFundMe, which lets people raise money from friends for personal causes, last week sold a controlling interest in their company, valued at $600 million, to an investor group.
Collectively, crowdfunding services rounded up around $10 billion in funds for their respective causes or projects in 2014, up from $1.5 billion in 2011, according to a March 2015 report from Goldman Sachs.