A Charlotte fintech startup, flush with $8.7 million in new funding, is launching its personal platform geared toward making us all philanthropists.
Amicus.io is targeted on “democratizing” donor-advised funds (DAF).
This week, it unveiled its first product, DAF 2.0 — a platform, it says, permits client banks to supply self-directed DAFs to prospects for the primary time.
It comes simply months after closing on a Collection B spherical led by Vancouver-based The FR Group and together with Wells Fargo Startup Accelerator, from which the corporate just lately graduated.
That brings its whole raised to $17.5 million to this point.
“DAFs have been late to the digital transformation,” its CEO and founder Cor Hoekstra stated by e mail to Hypepotamus.
“Our platform makes charitable giving more accessible and transparent so the average person can make a bigger impact. The goal is to make the Amicus platform a popular savings option, similar to a 401(k), IRA or 529 plan.”
Donor-advised funds (DAFs)
Donor-advised funds (DAFs) aren’t new.
First pioneered within the 1930s, it’s a philanthropic giving automobile administered by a charitable sponsor — kind of like a “charitable savings account,” as Hoekstra explains it.
Donors contribute quite a lot of property, corresponding to cash and securities, into their accounts and obtain an computerized tax receipt. These funds are then simply invested the place they’ll develop tax-free. Donors can then grant funds to the non-profits and causes of their alternative.
Up till now, stated Hoekstra, conventional DAFS have been “antiquated, inefficient, and most often used by high-net-worth individuals through private banks,” which require excessive account minimums.
However Amicus hopes to vary that.
A streamlined, digital platform helps lowers the executive prices for the monetary establishment, he stated. That, in flip, drops minimums for the common on-line banking buyer.
“By lowering the barrier to entry, we set a ripple effect in motion that will impact the entire philanthropic community, paying dividends to each party involved,” added co-founder and chairman Walt Ruloff.
A digital disruption?
In the meantime, DAFs are booming.
A current report from the Nationwide Philanthropic Belief estimates that contributions to DAFs in 2018 totaled $37.12 billion, an all-time excessive. In the meantime, charitable property in donor-advised funds grew from $112.10 billion in 2017 to $121.42 billion in 2018 — an 8.three p.c soar.
In accordance with Amicus, that makes situations “prime” for disruption.
Hoekstra, who is predicated in Charlotte, and Ruloff, who lives in Vancouver, Canada, based the corporate again in 2017.
The pair initially met whereas working within the provide chain trade again within the early 2000s. Each labored for One Community Enterprises and i2 Applied sciences across the identical time.
After exploring the non-profit ecosystem, they stated they have been decided to carry higher sources to the philanthropic group.
Hoekstra stated it took 20 years to analysis and develop Amicus, however now they’re able to scale.
The corporate presently employs 25 employees throughout workplaces in Charlotte, Tel Aviv, and Vancouver.
“We expect to double our headcount in the next 18 months with additions in sales and marketing teams, as well as engineering hires, including positions at our HQ in Charlotte,” he stated.
It additionally just lately tapped former AAA Carolinas exec, Raja Musunuru, as its new chief know-how officer.
In the meantime, Amicus is predicted to roll out its first branded platform in partnership with a “leading global financial institution” later this yr.
It additionally plans to increase the DAF 2.Zero platform to incorporate not simply banks, however non-profit organizations as properly, letting them share tales and updates again to donors.
“We want to deepen the connections between donors and the charities they support, creating a virtuous feedback loop that keeps customers inspired to keep giving,” Hoekstra stated.
Amicus is a graduate of the Wells Fargo Startup Accelerator, a totally digital six-month program centered on serving to early-stage startups be taught what it takes to interrupt into the Fortune 500 market. It additionally participated within the Charlotte-based QC Fintech Accelerator, which offers member corporations entry to mentors, capital, and monetary service organizations.