Q+A: Mark Shreve of WeDidIT
WeDidIt is an online and mobile platform seeking to change the world of nonprofit fundraising. By providing effective fundraising tools and personalized coaching to create smarter, more focused campaigns, WeDidIt helps nonprofits go digital. Their success has already captured the attention of Mashable, Inc. Magazine, Business Insider, and Comcast. DUMBO BID intern Caroline met with Mark Shreve, Director of Client Success, to discuss WeDidIt’s exciting journey as a young startup.
Tell me the story behind WeDidIt.
The company was started by co-founders Ben Lamson, Su Sanni, and Bryan Liff about two and a half years ago. Another founding member, Nick, and I joined about two weeks after the company’s inception. We began as a crowdfunding platform to provide the fundraising capabilities of Kickstarter to nonprofits and charities because they are ineligible to raise money on Kickstarter. Initially, we reached out to about one hundred nonprofits across the US to do a crowdfunding campaign with them. We wanted to hear their feedback and what they wanted us to build upon. For the past year or so, we have focused on building new fundraising technologies. Last summer our company was accepted into an accelerator program called Dreamit Ventures in New York City. It was a three month program that introduced us to some of our initial investors and mentors and allowed us to network with a bunch of cool companies that were in the incubator with us. We moved into the NYU Poly DUMBO Incubator around August of last year. Then about three weeks ago, we found out we were accepted into another incubator program called 500 Startups out in San Francisco. Three of our team members, Ben, Su, and Nick, moved out to California last week, where they will be for the next three and a half months.
We initially started out solely as a crowdfunding platform, but have since expanded into other fundraising technologies for nonprofits. We developed personal fundraising pages for someone doing a walk-a-thon hoping to raise $5000 in a peer-to-peer network. We developed a mobile app that uses a smartphone’s camera as a card reader so that no external hardware is involved. It can take donations anytime anywhere. We also offer fundraising coaching as part of a subscription that nonprofits can buy if they wish to. We advise on fundraising best practices and help craft emails and outreach strategies. We make sure they’re doing what they should be doing to have successful crowdfunding campaigns or personal fundraising campaigns. For the nonprofits who pay to work with us, we design donation pages that have the look and feel of their website.
What do you like about working in a coworking space?
I love it. Our core team is five full-time company members and this summer we’ve grown to twelve members including interns. We are one of the larger companies in this incubator but if we had our own office, we would feel claustrophobic. In a coworking space, we get the feel and atmosphere of a large office while we are still able to focus on doing our own work. There are so many companies here with interesting stuff going on. It’s always rewarding to speak with others who are also pursuing their own creative ideas.
Why do you enjoy working in DUMBO?
I love the tech scene here. It’s really inspiring to hear about what people are doing to build a company, build new software, or develop new ideas. Both in this incubator and in the community there are more people who are forging their own path, as opposed to following a more traditional career route. You can tell there are a lot of creative and intelligent people here. It’s a fun community to be a part of. There is also so much to do in DUMBO. The food trucks are awesome and we enjoy going to team lunches and happy hours at the bars and restaurants all around here. It’s also convenient for us. The other founding members and I live in Brooklyn and it is where we started the company. None of us actually live in DUMBO but we have been here for almost a year now and we really love working here.
What moments on the job are most rewarding for you?
Getting into Dreamit Ventures and 500 Startups were huge successes for us as a company. In my role as Director of Client Success, I do a lot of campaign planning. I help the nonprofits who work with us learn how to use our software, how to run a crowdfunding campaign, and how to get the most out of their subscription. At any given time, there are going to be a bunch of different campaigns live. They all have deadlines and goals to hit. Obviously, it is super rewarding when they hit those goals. For example, we worked with a local Catholic school near Prospect Park. It was awesome to watch them reach their crowdfunding goal because it was a huge online fundraiser they had never done before. We also work with organizations that have raised $50,000 or $100,000. It is always rewarding to see the planning and the strategy we implement turn into a successful campaign. About 80% of our clients right now are based in New York City. It has been really great to meet with them in person, get to know them, and get to know what they’re all about.