Maven Ventures
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Maven Ventures

Powering Generosity Through Our Investment in Pledge

Kenan Thompson speaks during a virtual fundraiser using the new PledgeCam.

I’m thrilled to announce Maven Ventures’ investment in Pledge and share our enthusiasm with the world. Pledge is a fundraising platform that makes it easy for businesses, nonprofits and individuals to make a positive impact in their communities and around the globe. With Pledge, every Zoom call, Clubhouse chat, Shopify store, and virtual event can become a fundraising opportunity and demonstrate real-time impact. In a year where we’ve all been physically distanced more than ever before, technologies like Zoom have helped to keep us all connected. Traditional fundraising events have vanished, yet nonprofits and mission-driven companies still need to create engaging connections with mission-aligned consumers and donors. In the midst of such a difficult year, we were inspired by Pledge’s vision to help maximize the impact these organizations provide around the world, and we’re honored to have the opportunity to help them further that mission for decades to come.

We were introduced to Pledge in May 2020 during the Zoom App Marketplace Competition finale. We were immediately excited about the company’s Zoom integration, but even more enamored by the impact Pledge was creating. A few months later we led Pledge’s funding round, bringing in other mission-aligned investors like Designer Fund, Mantis VC, MS&AD Ventures, Bill Tai, and Randi Zuckerberg. Since then, the company has powered fundraising campaigns for Oprah, Ariana Grande, Jimmy Fallon, and created the largest fundraiser on Clubhouse to benefit Texas affected by Winter storms.

The best part? Pledge is just getting started.

Pledge could not have emerged at a better time. COVID-19 aside, macro and cultural trends globally point toward today’s younger generations being far more socially and politically conscious than prior generations. Millennials are the largest demographic in the world and have over $2 trillion in spending power. Generation Z is exhibiting an even stronger inclination toward values-based activism and consumerism, suggesting nonprofits and socially or politically conscious brands stand to benefit greatly. Over the last twelve months, people across America have activated around important causes like never before: racial equity, climate change, and politics, to name a few. They’ve put their time and money to work behind these causes, and not only through donations: 83% of millennials want the companies they buy from to align with their values. No platform on the market enables today’s consumers to give and support the brands and causes they care about in a more engaging way than Pledge.

Introducing Pledge, the fundraising platform that makes it easy for businesses, nonprofits and individuals to make a positive impact in their communities.

With the winds of changing consumer behavior at its back, Pledge is driven by passionate, mission-driven executives who have built global technology companies from inception to exit. Prior to leading Pledge, CEO James Citron led two large communications and mobile engagement companies to acquisition. Alongside James is a talented team of tech builders and widely-recognized, mission-driven experts who have operated at the highest levels of social good and corporate social responsibility.

Since our early investment in Zoom, we’ve been enthusiastic about the value in building on top of Zoom’s ecosystem, so we were especially moved by the opportunity for Pledge to turn any Zoom meeting into a virtual fundraiser as Zoom’s charitable giving partner. When we invested in Pledge, over 10,000 mission-driven companies and nonprofits had hosted virtual galas and telethons, and integrated Pledge’s donation functionalities to engage new and existing donors, create new revenue streams, strengthen customer loyalty, and increase customer lifetime value. We already loved the Pledge team and vision worth fighting for — when Pledge was selected as the embedded finance partner to power fundraising on Zoom, the investment became a no-brainer.

Pledge has enabled nonprofits and organizations to demonstrate “ROI of Impact,” and nothing excited us more than this. At the time of our investment, Pledge had already helped its nonprofit partners make tremendous impact in every corner of the globe. Just to mention a few, Pledge has enabled its partners to provide over 1.8 million people with clean drinking water for one year, plant over 576,000 trees, remove over 130,000 pounds of trash from beaches, and serve roughly 17 million meals to families in need.

We often talk to founders and VCs about a company’s vision worth fighting for; with Pledge the vision was clear, and already largely supported by numbers. We are so thrilled to be part of this company and their work, and we’d love for you to join the cause and #PledgeToDoGood.

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Maven Ventures is a seed-stage consumer software-focused venture fund. We back ambitious founders with a vision worth fighting for, and help them bring software that will improve millions of lives to the world.

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Sara Deshpande

Sara Deshpande

Consumer tech investor and startup supporter @mavenvc.

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