Social Impact Measurement Startup Wins US$100K Pitch Comp
8 March 2018 at 4:36 pm
A tech startup offering a platform for not for profits to measure their social impact and secure funding has won more than $100,000 at a pitching competition in Sydney, and the company’s founders believe there is “tremendous untapped potential” for investment in the sector.
Socialsuite helps NFPs and community service organisations to report on the outcomes of their services and improve service delivery.
On Tuesday, Socialsuite won the Salesforce World Tour PitchComp in Sydney – pocketing US$100,000 prize money (A$128,000) – after impressing an expert panel led by investor and Shark Tank judge Steve Baxter, Reinventure Group partner Kara Frederick, and co-founder of Blackbird Ventures Niki Scevak.
The competition invited startups built on the Salesforce platform to submit pitches to secure an investment from Salesforce Ventures.
“We were selected as one of three finalists to pitch in front of the conference attendees and also in front of the panel of judges,” Socialsuite co-founder Dr Clara Ong told Pro Bono News.
“And we won, which was a great validation, not only for the not-for-profit sector, but also really shining a spotlight on the importance of investing with a social purpose.
“We came first over a banking app and a marketing app for businesses. So from our perspective, I think it’s a real win for shining the importance of social impact measurement.”
— Salesforce Ventures (@SalesforceVC) March 6, 2018
Ong said that there was “tremendous untapped potential” for investors to take interest in NFPs, but warned that a greater understanding was needed of how the sector works.
“We pitch to a lot of people and investors either get it or they don’t,” she said.
“They tend to have this notion that the not-for-profit sector moves at its own pace and there’s not a lot of money going around, and even if there is a lot of money going on, that getting a share of that money is difficult.
“So some investors don’t understand the value but with not for profits being our primary market, we believe there is tremendous untapped potential and market opportunities.”
Ong said that Socialsuite’s success aligned with a growing awareness around the value of impact investment.
“Funders are starting to become a lot more wary that you can’t just throw money around anymore. There’s a general understanding now and social impact is starting to gain a lot of momentum and spotlight,” she said.
“I think we’ve really raised awareness around social impact investment. The fact that we’re an app that works with not for profits to help improve their social impact and have had a panel of experts validate the importance of our existence, I think really shows that the old traditional way of viewing not for profits is starting to change now.
“A lot of not for profits are out there doing amazing work but a lot of times they are all competing for such a limited funding pool. By winning this pitch comp, we can really put it out there that we are here to help not for profits to build their capacity and measure their impact.”
This achievement for Socialsuite comes on the back of the company recently launching an Australian-first blockchain smart contracts pilot program with the IXO Foundation.
Socialsuite CEO Brad Gurrie told Pro Bono News that winning the Salesforce PitchComp was “another step in the momentum of the Socialsuite business”.
“With the recent announcement of the IXO Foundation Blockchain partnership, and now winning PitchComp, there is significant interest from industry on how Socialsuite can help not for profits, impact investors and consultancy measure outcomes,” Gurrie said.
Socialsuite co-founder Damian Hajda added that: “The win is a great endorsement for Socialsuite and our team. In only a few years of operation we have been able to secure some of the largest organisations in Australia and savviest not for profits.”
Ong said that Socialsuite would use the prize money to help them raise funds for a round of venture capital financing.
“At the moment we’re looking to raise about $1.2 to $1.5 million. So this money is going to be very useful and will count towards this target that we’re raising,” she said.