Today’s a big day for everyone at Classy – us as founders, our entire 80-person team and the more than 2,500 nonprofits and social enterprises that we work with daily to scale their impact. First, we have three big announcements that we’re excited to share with you:
- Peter Thiel & Ajay Royan’s firm, Mithril Capital, has made a very significant investment in Classy alongside investors Salesforce Ventures, Bullpen Capital and others.
- We added two amazing leaders to our advisory board: Scott Harrison, CEO & Founder of charity:water, and Suzanne DiBianca, President of the Salesforce Foundation.
- And lastly, Michael Young, the former CTO of Redfin, has joined Classy as our first Chief Technology Officer.
These partnerships will help us accelerate and expand upon a vision to which we’ve been committed since the beginning. Nine years ago when Classy started as a simple pub-crawl, it was about bringing friends and family together to raise money for something we believed in. This one event inspired dozens more to help local nonprofits solve problems in our San Diego community, like youth homelessness, beach pollution and low-income families dealing with the burden of cancer.
Four years ago we made the transition from fundraising events to a technology company, but our mission is still very much the same: To mobilize and empower the world for good. To us, this means bridging the technology gap for nonprofits and social enterprises so they can scale their impact in a way that was never before achievable. The first phase of this journey has been to help organizations modernize the way they attract funding online; and together with our customers, we’re well on our way to accomplishing this goal in a big way. Over the last four years we’ve witnessed tens of thousands of amazing campaigns that have drawn funding from over 150 countries around the world.
We’ve seen incredible stories of social innovation, human perseverance and generosity that transcend borders, race or sexual orientation. Stories like Team Rubicon, a veteran-led disaster relief organization, whose Classy campaign funded their life-saving response to Hurricane Sandy; or, Malala Yousafzai, the youngest Nobel Peace prize winner ever, who used Classy to launch her nonprofit to empower adolescent girls around the world; or lastly, Pencils of Promise, who has raised enough funding through Classy to break ground on hundreds of schools in disadvantaged parts of the world. It’s organizations like these that inspire us to keep going, to keep building and to keep dreaming up new ways to help them grow.
But as amazing as these stories are, the financial and operational challenges that nonprofits and social enterprises face have only increased over the past four years. Not only that, the way in which people give is changing faster than ever. The stakes are far higher than ever before for the nonprofits and social enterprises on the front line of some of humanity’s greatest challenges, like disease, poverty, human rights and climate change. It’s imperative that we continue to help them navigate these trends, secure funding and empower their supporters so they can continue to provide these vital services to the world. At the same time, we know we can do more. And that’s the reason we’re most excited about today’s news.
For the past several years we’ve been taking a deep and holistic look at how technology can accelerate the pace in which organizations solve social problems at a local, national and global level. Mobilizing and attracting funding online is a critical piece of the equation, but it is one piece of many. Fortunately, with the help of our customers, the Classy Awards nominees and Leadership Council and our new partners, we’ve been very busy expanding our product and we’re extremely excited to start rolling out some of these innovations over the course of the next year.
So while today’s announcements are glass-raising milestones by themselves, it’s what they will enable us to do over the long-run that is most exciting. To think that we can play even a small role in helping to accelerate solutions towards the world’s social challenges is not only extremely gratifying, it’s extremely motivational. We speak for every person at Classy in saying that we are fortunate and proud to be part of this team, doing what we’re doing, helping who we’re helping and shaping the future together. And that includes you too, our customers, our partners, our investors, our advisors and our friends and family. Anything truly awesome started with at least one believer, and we will forever be grateful for your belief in us as we continue to turn our shared vision into a reality – today, we feel a few milestones closer to making this happen.
A note from Ajay Royan at Mithril Capital:
Co-Founder, Mithril Capital
Editor’s Note: This post was published on June 30, 2015.