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‘Making Philanthropy As Easy As Banking:’ Raises $8.7M Series B

Fintech company is poised to democratize access to donor-advised funds following an $8.7 million Series B raise toward its platform development.

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The Charlotte, North Carolina-based company was founded in 2017 by former supply chain executives Cor Hoekstra and Walt Ruloff and is part of Vancouver, Canada-based Amicus Global Relief Solutions.

“When our company exited in the early 2000s, it got us involved in philanthropy,” Hoekstra told Crunchbase News. “It has been a quest over 20 years to bring enterprise tech into the nonprofit sector, but the time simply wasn’t right because of the software. Now it is and we are putting consumer banking at the heart of charitable giving by making philanthropy as easy as banking.”

It’s platform, DAF 2.0, is designed to “breathe new life” into the 90-year-old donor-advised funds, which are a giving vehicle established at a public charity. Prior to Amicus, these funds were typically only available to family foundations and high-net-worth individuals, he added. The platform integrates with consumer banks to enable their customers access to donor funds.

The National Philanthropic Trust reported in 2019 that there are $121 billion sitting in these funds currently, and the market is heading to $1 trillion over the next decade. In addition, there was an 86 percent increase in contributions to DAFs in the last five years, totaling $37.12 billion in 2018.

The FR Group, a Vancouver-based family office, led the round and was joined by the Wells Fargo Startup Accelerator, as well as a group of other individuals. Including the new funding, the company raised $17.5 million in total, Hoekstra said.

Christopher Jones, an investor in the B round, said in an interview that Amicus is building a product that “fits the bill completely.” Jones, a principal at CMVJ Capital with more than 30 years in asset management for global financial institutions, including senior executive roles at JP Morgan Chase and BlackRock, said he is a “huge believer” in investing in mission-centric organizations like Amicus, and the degree of difficulty with what the company is doing is high, which is why it has taken so much money and time to get where they are.

Meanwhile, Amicus intends to put the new funding to work on an undisclosed Tier 1 bank partnership, investing in sales and marketing, and building out its go-to-market strategy. Hoekstra also intends to double the company’s 25-person headcount over the next 18 months. In addition to the Charlotte and Vancouver offices, Amicus has a location in Tel Aviv.

“We are going to continue building out the product,” he added. “We’ve been mostly flying under the radar, but have been intentionally in talks with top banks in the U.S. and Canada.”

Illustration: iStock

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