A look inside Gravyty cofounder Adam Martel's new fintech AI startup
Updated: May 21, 2022
In a merger of equals, there can only be one leader of the combined company. But Gravyty CEO Adam Martel and Graduway CEO Daniel Cohen didn't have to fight for the role when their respective companies joined forces.
"Daniel ... wanted to take this to the next level. And I desperately in my heart wanted to start another company, because I love the zero-to-one stage," Martel said. So Cohen stayed at the helm of London-based Graduway, which established presence in Boston by merging with Gravyty earlier this month. Martel will still be a CEO, but this time at a Boston-based venture he's launching Thursday after his farewell to Gravyty, which he co-founded in 2015.
"We'll raise a pretty significant seed round, probably, end of Q1 22. But we already have almost $3 million committed in a seed round," he said of his new AI-enabled fintech business. "All of our investors that exited from Gravyty, they all want to put money into the next company."
Named Givzey, the company uses AI algorithms to help donors and nonprofits make and receive their donations more effectively. The software allows donors to split their donations into multiple installments over time, which makes them more sustainable. It's easier to make a $1,200 gift to your school in $300 installments for four months, for example. But Givzey would allow the school to receive the whole $1,200 upfront.
Givzey enables this "give now, pay later" approach thanks to algorithms that can predict how much a donor can give, and then giving donors actual loans to give to nonprofits. Givzey doesn't provide loans based on donors' credit scores, but rather on their past giving to the nonprofit. The startup assumes the risk of each loan and makes money by charging nonprofit organizations a software-as-a-service subscription fee.
"In the past, these [donations] were all pledges, and pledges aren't binding," Martel said. "So the nonprofits had to spend an inordinate amount of time trying to follow up with donors to get their pledges. Now, the nonprofit gets paid upfront and Givzey takes the responsibility of the loan itself ... And that's actually what I think they're paying for." Equipped with a pre-seed round that still hasn't closed and a team of four part-time developers, Givzey has five customers so far — three nonprofits and two higher education institutions, according to Martel. It also has two board members: Christopher Mirabile, senior managing director at Launchpad Venture Group, and Jay B. Love, co-founder of donor management software provider Bloomerang.
"What I find particularly exciting about Givzey’s potential is that it is that rare solution that is a win for both the donor and the recipient organization," Mirabile said in a statement. "The Givzey platform is going to change non-profit fundraising fundamentally and forever." Martel didn't share the amount of Givzey's pre-seed round, to which he contributed himself.