TechBirmingham thrives through its immensely talented and diverse group of member companies. Meet our Member Companies is an ongoing Q&A series highlighting this group of movers, shakers and makers in Bham’s tech industry.
Meet Brooke Battle, Founder of Swell Fundraising. Battle is originally from Mobile and has lived in Birmingham for 23 years. Read on to get to know more about Swell Fundraising and the great things they are doing in Birmingham and beyond.
Hi Brooke! Let’s get started — Tell us more about Swell Fundraising.
Swell Fundraising provides nonprofit organizations with a software solution that activates event guests to raise awareness and funds from their personal network. Our roots are in the Birmingham philanthropic community and we are passionate about growing impact through innovation. We try not to have any “average” days at Swell. However, a typical day involves several software demonstrations with a prospective nonprofit, client support for an upcoming event and working with our developers on software improvements.
What do you think is the biggest misconception about your field?
The biggest misconception about nonprofit software is that ‘one size’ can fit all or worse that ‘one size’ should fit all. We also run into the misconception that nonprofits cannot pay for software. Nonprofits, much like for profit companies, have capacity to fund innovation if they are compelled by the value proposition.
What exciting news or product/service announcements does your company have on the horizon?
The most exciting news is the continued expansion of our client base. Tactically speaking, we had a new release of the Swell platform in mid August. This release allowed the company to scale more quickly and provide clients with a more intuitive user experience. The most visible upgrade is the new social media/leaderboard projection feature that will help all of our client events stand out from the rest. This application released the first of August.
How do you feel about Bham’s tech scene?
Obviously, I think Alabama Launchpad is a huge strength to the startup community. We benefited greatly from the process and funding as well as the invaluable relationships. It seems that Birmingham’s biggest challenge will be to foster a progressive, creative community that will retain top talent locally. Fortunately, the earth is shrinking and we can seek exceptional talent regardless of geography.
Talk a little more about Launchpad and how it helped Swell.
Launchpad helped me in several ways and will always be a critical building block in the Swell story. The most obvious benefit is the funding which enabled me to take an essential step to market our software and gain insight into the sales model. The marketing effort paid-off with new clients. Funding alone wasn’t the difference maker though. The discipline of writing and re-writing the business plan coupled with the pitch caused me to take an honest assessment of my strategy. The process pulled me away from product development toward business development. Everything has changed since Launchpad. We had 4 clients in 2014 and launched 5 new clients just last week. We can begin new software features and engage in hiring discussions as revenue increases. As well, we refine or develop an automated process to support elements of the business regularly. Launchpad (and some wise consulting) demonstrated to me how efficient this business must be and we are building toward that every day. Most importantly, Swell software will help raise at least $1.5 million for nonprofit initiatives this year (5x last year).
Thanks so much for sharing, Brooke!
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