By Tiffany Liu • August 23, 2017

"Local Startup Gravyty Takes the Weight of Researching Donors off Fundraisers’ Shoulders" | BostInno Feature

We're excited to be featured in BostInno's website discussing the powerful combination of public and private data for nonprofits and how First Draft allow frontline fundraisers to spend more time with donors instead of responding to emails!

July 18, 2017/BostInno/ "Among the consequences of the growing popularity of data science, there’s the fact that many companies have started building their business on what we can call, generically, “insights from data.” Locally, that’s the case of Blue Water Metrics, which is using sensors to gather data about ocean health.

In many cases, leveraging data is easier by using artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques, as Reverie Labs – another Boston startup – is trying to do to speed up the drug design process.

If you mix big data and artificial intelligence and then you add the fundraising landscape, you’ll have the three key ingredients for Gravyty, a Boston-based startup that is using AI to help frontline fundraisers at nonprofit organizations raise money from donors.

Specifically, what this startup, co-founded by two Babson MBA program alumni, is doing is using the huge amount of data fundraisers and nonprofit organizations have in their database to understand who, among major and mid-level donors, will be more likely to make additional donations.

“Nonprofit organizations have an incredible amount of data about their constituents … And most of that data makes the constituents look like stocks,” Adam Martel, CEO and co-founder of Gravyty, explained in an interview. “So we can create a predictive stock map.”

The starting point of the predictive chart is the private database of donors that each organization has built over time, which may include basic information such as the donor’s name and phone number. Then, the Gravyty algorithms combine it with big public databases like the Census data, and with social media data and a few other behavioral analysis, according to Martel.

“When you look at a donor’s ZIP code, and you know that they live in a low-crime rate area, where the median housing value is high… We get to the point where we can really say … ‘We might be able to ask them for more money,’” Martel said.

Founded in October 2015, the 9-employee company is developing a series of products aiming at saving frontline fundraisers’ time. First Draft, for example, is an application designed to automatically craft personalized emails to donors who may be willing to make a new donation. Currently, the company started beta testing Gravyty Travel, a tool that suggests where fundraisers should be traveling based on which donors are more likely to make further donations.

“Right now, fundraisers spend between 40 and 50 percent of their time in the office, trying to record actions and keep track of all their data,” Martel said. “That time can be reallocated to get them out more, to spend more time with donors.”

Gravyty raised a seed round of $450,000 and it’s generating revenue now, according to Martel. Among its 16 customers, Yale School Management is the largest."

By Lucia Maffei