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Babson Graduate Business: Gravyty

Gravyty founders
Rich Palmer M'16 (left) and Adam Martel M'17 (right) pitching Gravyty at SXSW

Babson graduate students Adam Martel M’17, a major gifts officer who has helped nonprofits raise millions of dollars, and Rich Palmer M’16, a product developer with eight years of experience in data and analytics, are helping nonprofits with some of their biggest challenges: retaining donors, and raising more money.

Gravyty

Gravyty helps nonprofits retain donors and raise more money by leveraging predictive analytics, data visualizations, and data analytics. Through easy-to-use workspaces, Gravyty helps nonprofits do three things really well:

  1. Retain donors by combining private data, big public data, and behavioral insights to determine who is going to give the next big gift, and when is best to contact them.
  2. Onboard new fundraisers. Fundraisers don’t need to wade through complicated excel spreadsheets or get lost in antiquated databases, they are able to make an immediate impact on day one.
  3. Work more efficiently. Gravyty helps fundraisers talk to more donors at the right times which brings more money into nonprofits to help further their mission.

The Idea

Gravyty is a result of a confluence of skills and ambitions. The team was able to combine Adam’s understanding of the problems he faces as a front-line fundraiser working in the nonprofit space, with Rich’s ability to build technology solutions and to create a product that customers love.

“The name ‘Gravyty’ represents something steady and secure,” shared Adam and Rich. “Coincidentally, we also felt a strong Babson connection, given Roger Babson’s lifelong obsession with gravity.”

The Software

Gravyty’s algorithms are the result of years of research and experience. The combination of macro and micro factors allows the pair to take a holistic view of how to retain and solicit from major donors. They focus heavily on usability. Traditional nonprofit technology is slow and difficult to use, so the team follows a “two-click” approach, where it never takes more than two clicks to get anywhere within the system.

In contrast to other nonprofit technology, Gravyty uses a modern technology stack complete with Django, Heroku, PostgreSQL, and AWS.

Babson

Rich and Adam noted that Babson has been incredibly instrumental in their progress to date.

“Our advisory board includes members of the Board of Trustees, faculty, lecturers, and staff. They have helped guide us through the process of starting the business as well as open their networks to us in terms of additional advisors, investors, and customers. The Arthur M. Blank Center for Entrepreneurship has helped immensely in securing seed funding, sponsoring our pitch at SXSW, inviting us to the Hatchery and Summer Venture Program, and connecting us with the entrepreneurial community. Finally, our fellow students have been exceptionally kind and generous in their support and their willingness to help us achieve our goals.”

The team met through Babson’s John E. and Alice L. Butler Venture Accelerator program. They both attended the same events and started noticing similarities between their goals and dreams. They also noticed that they had skillsets that were incredibly deep yet complimentary.  After a short period of time, the two decided that it made sense to team up and start evaluating problems to tackle together.

“After about three months of ideating (which included both good and very bad ideas) we came across an exercise where we put our individual skillsets and experiences in a Venn diagram. We were amazed to see that where we overlapped, specifically in product development, technology, sales and nonprofit fundraising, there was an incredible opportunity to make a profound impact. That’s how we chose to start a technology company that solves the fundraising problems that most nonprofits face.”

Looking Ahead

“We have a two-pronged approach going forward,” added the pair. “First, we are going to build out the capabilities of our predictive workspace to include solutions for managers and other areas of fundraising departments. Second, we’re working on building entirely new ways to help nonprofits fundraise by liberating data sources that have traditionally been in siloes. We think this will change the way all nonprofit organizations raise money from their top donors.”

Rich and Adam are currently focused on two immediate areas of need for Gravyty. They are welcoming conversations with interested angel/seed investors in the Boston area to help close the startup’s initial round of funding, and are putting a call-out to anyone connected to colleges or universities outside of Babson, in hopes of receiving warm introductions to show how Gravyty can help their fundraisers leverage predictive modeling and raise more money.

Gravyty