Simplyk scores seed capital to take free nonprofit fundraising platform to the US

Simplyk is a startup on a mission to make fundraising easier and more accessible for nonprofits. The Montréal-based company has developed a fundraising platform that it offers free of cost to help manage donation campaigns, ticketing, membership forms, and volunteer recruitment.

With nonprofit organizations often strapped for cash and relying on fundraising as a main source of revenue, Simplyk’s founders François de Kerret (CEO) and Thibaut Jaurou (CTO) want to take away the financial stress of managing the fundraising process.

“[Nonprofits] have to be…very reasonable in terms of spending and…it prevents them from getting good fundraising technology.”

To that end, the startup recently secured $3.7 million CAD to bring its platform to the United States.

The round was led by Ring Capital, the impact venture investing arm of France-based Ring Foundation, a philanthropic fund that supports early-stage tech charities “tackling major social issues.” Simplyk became connected with Ring through de Kerret’s network, as the CEO originates from France.

Existing investor Real Ventures and new investor Panache Ventures also backed the startup as part of the round. The financing, which brings Simplyk’s total funding to date to $4.5 million, also includes some undisclosed angel investors.

Simplyk aims to be an all-in-one fundraising platform that offers donation campaigns, ticketing, membership forms, and volunteer recruitment. The idea is to make those things freely available “so that every nonprofit can focus on maximising their impact.”

“[Nonprofits] have to be very, very reasonable in terms of spending and the consequences is that it prevents them from getting good fundraising technology,” said de Kerret. “It increases their budget at the end of the day. So what we do at Simplyk is we offer the entire fundraising suite, but for free.”

The impetus for Simplyk came from de Kerret moving to Montréal in 2014 and wanting to volunteer in the community. He struggled to find opportunities and decided to create a marketplace to match volunteers with nonprofits; Simplyk launched as a volunteer matching platform in 2016.

Working in the space over the next couple of years, de Kerret realized nonprofits have limited budgets that make it hard for them to manage a range of fundraising-related activities. Simplyk shifted its focus in 2018 to a management platform for nonprofits.

To date, ​​Simplyk has signed up more than 4,000 nonprofits, including branches of Big Brothers Big Sisters, YMCA and United Way.

The startup is able to offer its product free of service to nonprofits by asking donors to make a small contribution to Simplyk alongside their nonprofit donation. It’s a model some other fundraising sites have adopted as well.

de Kerret told BetaKit three out of four people will make the optional contribution, which allows Simplyk to fund its operations. The CEO argued this model is lucrative enough that Simplyk does not foresee changing its revenue model and asking nonprofits to pay at any point in the near future.

Example of Simplyk’s platform.

He expects Simplyk to reach a “break-even” point within the next 18 months, following heavy investments to grow its market share.

Simplyk is not the only company seeing opportunities in the nonprofit space. A number of companies offer some type of fundraising management platform or support to strapped nonprofits and charities. In Canada, AI-powered donor prediction engine startup Wisely recently acquired social media management and analytics-focused Hopeful Inc. with an aim to create a full-service fundraising powerhouse.

Even with competition, Simplyk thinks it’s found a niche in the market. de Kerret noted that while large nonprofits might have budgets that cover the cost of tech platforms, it’s the small to medium-size organizations that struggle.

“Sometimes some medium [nonprofits] already have technologies … but when they move to Simplyk they think first we save money so we have money budgeted for our mission, and then I will get these additional possibilities,” said de Kerret.

With 25 Canadian agencies signed on as customers, Simplyk is now ready to move into the United States. The company has begun outreach in the country as a number of its Canadian clients have affiliations south of the border.

​​“By offering nonprofits a free and efficient solution to optimize their fundraising, Simplyk allows these vital organizations to multiply their impact by focusing on their core business: supporting their beneficiaries,” said Laurent Babut, partner at Ring Capital.

Imaged courtesy of Simplyk

Meagan Simpson

Meagan Simpson

Meagan is the Associate Editor for BetaKit. A tech writer that is super proud to showcase the Canadian tech scene. Background in almost every type of journalism from sports to politics. Podcast and Harry Potter nerd, photographer and crazy cat lady.