Every year, international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) work tirelessly on thousands of aid projects around the world to reduce poverty and save lives for people in humanitarian crises. They are required to report back to their donors – large foundations and philanthropy groups – that want to know where and how their money is being spent. For project teams scattered across the globe, the burden of reporting has grown and the tools available to help share knowledge and create reports in real-time are limited. This often leaves NGO field workers saddled with ‘admin work,’ and it leaves executives and donors struggling to communicate the aggregate impact of their work. Ellen Hunter, winner of the Fall 2017 Startup Runway Showcase, recognized this opportunity and founded Impactive.
Impactive solves this deficit, allowing large NGOs to easily access and analyze a project’s quantitative data — and the story behind it — in order to show accountability and impact.
Hunter, who started her career as a strategy consultant with the Boston Consulting Group, was disheartened by the relative lack of resources and technology among her non-profit clients. “In the private sector, executives have access to systems that provide real-time information about their operations, which can inform more strategic decisions,” said Hunter. However, according to Hunter, nonprofits struggle to afford and implement similar solutions, and they have unique needs because they are concerned about impact over profit. Impactive makes it easier for project teams on the ground to monitor progress and provide all of the data and stories that executives and donors want to see. From a mission perspective, Hunter believes this is important because it will free up people at all levels, so they can focus on strategy and impact.
Dar Vanderbeck, Chief Innovation Officer at Atlanta-based non-profit CARE USA, agrees. “Transparency and integrity are two core values at CARE.” Vanderbeck continued, “We are so thrilled to be an early partner of Impactive because it will allow us to walk the talk on our values, in a powerful and delightful way, leveraging technology to share our stories, impact and learn together.”
With a cool product like Impactive, developing a thorough pitch for investors may seem like a walk in the park. But Hunter quickly realized that it wasn’t that easy. “There’s not a lot of time to say everything you want in five minutes,” said Hunter, “I had to develop a really clear sense of every point I wanted to make on every single slide.”
Impactive won the Fall Showcase, and the $10,000 cash prize, but it turned out to be much more than a simple pay day for Hunter. “It provided a level of validation,” said Hunter, “We have users and that’s important, but to get up in front of a room full of investors and have them respond favorably is definitely encouraging.” Hunter also found value in connecting with the other founders participating in Startup Runway, sharing stories, contacts, and other resources.
Hunter and the rest of her team are looking ahead to what this year has in store. Impactive is currently working with CARE on a pilot program utilizing the Impactive platform. This is sure to be the first of many collaborations for Hunter as Impactive continues to expand and thrive.
Applications are now open for the 2018 Spring and Fall Showcases on May 2nd and November 1st.
Is your startup ready to fly? Apply today!