The BizSpark startup of the day is YourCause, based in the US. You will find below an interview with Matthew Combs, Founder and CEO of YourCause. All the best to them and congrats for being the startup of the day!
I am the Founder and CEO of YourCause.
I was the founder of an online health and wellness company that is now a part of the online health network Qualityhealth.com. From there, I partnered with two others from Dallas to form Blastoff Ventures, a business incubator with ambitions of starting several startups over the coming years.
Promising can be measured in so many ways. At YourCause, I like to measure our ‘promise’ by our ability to have a positive impact on others- be them our users, clients, other companies, non-profit organizations, events, etc.. The fact that BizSpark feels we have promise only helps to validate the founding hypothesis of our company that we can create a sustainable business model from doing good – all the time.
To connect people, companies, and non-profit organizations – through the use of technology – and empower each to further their respective cause efforts in making the world a better place.
I watched a 10-year old boy from Uganda, on Dateline NBC, recount the night he was kidnapped by the LRA, forced to become a child soldier, and then ordered to kill his parents, or kill himself. I then learned that some 55,000 children in Uganda have gone through the same thing – and I wanted to help. I wanted to use my skills for building web applications to make a difference, and realized that there were so many people out there that had passion and drive, yet did not have a technical platform to express themselves. That is when YourCause was born.
Today, YourCause has morphed to provide private label closed and open communities for major corporations that allow them to empower their employees to take action for their cause. Brands like Aveda are using our platform for the upcoming Earth Month (www.AvedaEarthMonth.org), while others like AT&T use the platform to empower their employees to impact their community. We have grown to provide volunteer management, payroll deduction services, grant & matching gift management, donation processing, and other cause related social networking features.
Thus far, we have been self-funded and are looking at breaking even in the next two quarters. We have recently considered raising some capital to grow into new business areas, expand internationally, and perhaps even acquire an asset or two. If we were to raise capital, we would seek between $2-4 million.
We currently have 9 employees / 4 developers.
We are currently hiring for a development team, and for our sales team- both positions are located in Dallas.
We just migrated to .Net 3.5. It was the most logical progression for us from .Net 2.0.
Content management tools between the web and the mobile device.
We are a recent entrant to the program, so my knowledge is admittedly limited. Thus far, I have been extremely impressed with the actual interaction with the program. Its not just a marketing ploy, rather, I sense that people are actually there to help us. A bit odd in today’s world, though COMPLETELY welcomed.
The hardest area of starting a new business that you will ever face, is the very once that you will receive the least amount of advice, education, or training on: managing people. Do everything you can to learn from other, more experience people who have managed teams, companies, etc.. and really try to put their advice to work. Be patient, and understand that your ‘baby,’ if built correctly, will (one day) no longer be in your control and will grow up right in front of your eyes. It will then be your job to support their growth in every way you can. Don’t try to control it – you will fail every time.
Starting a new venture is not easy. Creating a sustainable business is not easy. Starting a new venture that does good and is sustainable is really difficult. The reward of doing what you are passionate about and doing something that has purpose beyond the technology – makes everything completely worth it...without question.