Fort Wayne-based Pond says it is basically a dating app for nonprofits and technology providers. The company says its platform is designed to make it easier for organizations to customize their experience and start meaningful connections. The company was co-founded by Mitch Stein, a Fort Wayne native who spent time in the investment banking world at Goldman Sachs and says he wanted to bring the power of marketplaces to the nonprofit sector.
In an interview on Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick, Stein said Pond’s platform turns the traditional marketplace model on its head.
“The truth of the matter in the nonprofit space, people are unbelievable stretched for time, for resources, often don’t have a lot of expertise in the area of technology, and they don’t really trust a lot of the vendors,” said Stein. “And so what we do is…say you don’t need to do the shopping. You just share the needs that you have and we’re going to go and bring all the potential providers that could meet that need. They’re going to express interest where they think it’s relevant and the nonprofit gets to decide who they want to connect with in a really efficient, streamlined way.”
Stein, who also serves as chief executive officer and chief impact officer, compares the platform to Zillow, Expedia or Carvana, where customers are looking to make major purchases. Stein says nonprofits can get paid for having conversations with potential vendors, particularly in the technology space.
“A vendor or a seller is spending is spending all the time on Google, Facebook, all kinds of advertising to get to the right customer. We’re saying, ‘We’re giving you a direct line to get to the direct line to get to the most relevant person. You’re going to pay for that and we’re going to share most of that value with the actual [nonprofit].'” So they build up a balance on Pond that ultimately empowers them to be able to make those purchases that oftentimes aren’t as affordable or in budget.”
Pond currently has more than 230 nonprofits across 35 states on its platform. Stein says the company has seen 35% growth just in the last month alone.
“There’s 2 million nonprofits in the country, so we’ve got a lot of room to grow within that market.”