Digital fundraising platform FlipGive has raised $5 million in a Series A to help accelerate its mission of changing the way North American youth sports teams raise money.
“We have only scratched the surface of what is possible in the world of team-sport and club fundraising.”
FlipGive offers an online platform that connects merchants to consumers through community fundraisers. Teams can raise money by receiving cash back through shopping at partnered online stores or certain in-store locations. The startup touts itself as having revolutionized the fundraising space for youth sports, member organizations, and clubs raising money.
The Series A was led by Toronto-based Framework Ventures Partners, the first investment of its new $100 million fund announced earlier this year. The round also saw participation from New York-based venture firm FJ Labs as well as iGan Partners. The capital will help FlipGive hire talent, develop enhanced product features, and bring on new brand partners, as well as support marketing and “member acquisition.”
“We have only scratched the surface of what is possible in the world of team-sport and club fundraising,” said Mark Bachman, FlipGive co-founder and CEO, a father of three, who founded the company alongside Nicholas Lee, after experiencing the need for a more efficient way to fundraise for his kid’s various sports teams.
Bachman told BetaKit that on top of using the funding to build out its platform, FlipGive also plans to expand into new sports verticals including volleyball, gymnastics, and swimming, as well as school teams and trips; to date, the platform had been focused on baseball, soccer, and hockey teams.
Founded in 2008 FlipGive didn’t officially launch its current platform until 2016. The platform now enables its members to shop for groceries, gas, and clothing from a number of major retailers including Starbucks, Amazon, Walmart, Apple, Nike, and Hotels.com. Users are also able to plan team events and accept donations. In 2017, FipGive announced that eight-time NBA All-StarDikembe Mutombo joined the company as a major shareholder and global ambassador. Earlier this year, the startup announced a partnership with TeamSnap, a Colorado-based sports team management platform. At the time FlipGive indicated that, since its launch, teams and groups have raised over $20 million through its platform.
FlipGive co-founders Mark Bachman (CEO) and Nicholas Lee (Chief Technology Officer). Image courtesy FlipGive
“Framework is incredibly excited about working with Mark [Bachman], Nicholas [Lee, co-foudner], and the rest of the FlipGive team to tackle the tremendous friction associated with fundraising,” said Peter Misek, partner at Framework. “We deeply believe in FlipGive’s ability to service a market in dire need of intuitive, user-driven tools that can help families and other groups of people reduce the financial burden related to sporting and other organized activities.”
Return investor iGan, which is typically focused on investing in health tech companies, has been investing in the fundraiser startup since 2013. Founder and managing partner at iGan, Sam Ifergan, called FlipGive “an important enabler of youth sports as well as an incredible marketplace.”
“We are very excited to see FlipGive enter this new era. Having been invested in the company from the beginning, it is very fulfilling to see the vision become a reality,” he stated.
Platforms like FlipGive are becoming increasingly important for Canadian youth sports teams, with reports that parents are spending more than $1,000 per year on extracurriculars for their children. According to a study conducted by Global News last year, many parents expressed that they had gone into debt in order to pay for their kid’s activities.
“This is exactly why we built FlipGive,” Bachman told BetaKit. “Using the power of spending of families so they can earn cash back for everything they buy for their team. [FlipGive is] using that buying power to fund teams.”
With its cash back model, money raised through FlipGive can either go directly towards teams, or those teams have the option to reimburse parents directly.
“Families are forced to sacrifice so much so that their kids can have access to a sport they love,” said Bachman, earlier this year, noting that FlipGive has a goal of raising $100 million for youth sports teams over the next five years.
Photo by Jeffrey F Lin via Unsplash