19-Year-Old CEO Raises $1.2 Million For Boston Startup

By Kyle Alspach , Boston Business Journal

BOSTON (CBS) – Less than five months after launching an online donation site, Fundraise.com Inc. founder and CEO Nate Drouin said the Boston company expects to raise some cash of its own next week, with a $1.2 million round from investors including Atlas Venture of Cambridge.

Drouin, who is 19, said in an interview that he started the company in January with $250,000 from his father, Victor Drouin, president of Green Mountain Communications Inc. of New Hampshire.

Fundraise.com launched on March 15, and aims to serve as an easy-to-use platform for online donations to charities, political campaigns and other causes, Nate Drouin said.

“It’s extremely possible to create a viral fundraiser on Fundraise.com,” he said.

The company charges a fee of 7.5-percent of the amount raised, and expects to generate well above $2 million in revenue by the end of 2011, Drouin said.

The site has already had 600 causes raise funds, including a June charity boxing match that benefited the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s Jimmy Fund, he said.

Fundraise.com apps are also available for the iPhone and iPad, and the site offers a donation widget that can be posted on any cause’s web site.

Drouin said he was able to secure the domain name Fundraise.com after discovering that it had been largely dormant.

He tracked down the owner, a California man who previously worked as a grant writer, and managed to make a deal to buy the domain name for $40,000 in cash.

“I’m the first to say, that was awful lucky,” he said.

Drouin is also hoping for some luck when it comes to the 2012 presidential campaign.

He’d like his site to serve as the fundraising platform for one or more of the Republican candidates, though he’s not commenting right now about whether that’s a strong possibility.

Meanwhile, on July 27, Fundraise.com expects to close on the $1.2 million financing led by Atlas and joined by angel investor John Goldsmith, former CEO of Boston investment bank Tucker Anthony, Drouin said.

The seven-person company is currently located at 164 Canal St. near the TD Garden, though the company plans to move to a larger space in the South Boston Waterfront area in August, he said.

Lisa van der Pool of the Boston Business Journal reports

The location of the new office — which would be located in the so-called Boston “innovation district” — hasn’t been finalized, Drouin said.

The company expects to grow its revenue rapidly, he said, as it looks to capture a share of the $25 billion online donation market.

Fundraise.com has gotten inquiries about several potentially large fundraisers just in the past few days, following an article by Bloomberg News featuring the company, Drouin said.

“Things are moving very, very fast,” he said.

“It’s just fantastic. We’ve gotten so lucky with the name, so lucky with developers. We’ve been so fortunate.”

  • zeke

    must be nice to have a rich daddy.

  • Mike

    Lucky bum, started my company at 20 with absolutely no money from my parents.

  • daddywanted

    Nice to have rich dady

  • mmk

    so Dad gave this poor lil rich boy 1/4 million and then Dad
    made a few…calls…now red tow haired boy is a Fuc*in
    Genius! And this bunch of bullShi* is goona fundraise for
    Repukes! YESSS. The Amerikan way!

    • Mud

      That is exactly what has happened. This kid wouldn’t have been able to do any of this without the help from his Dad and Dad’s buddies. I’m sure he has all of this Dad’s top advisors to help too.

    • Lloyd

      Gee – just think what life would be like without entrepreneurial parents:

      Mrs Gates: “Bill – what’s this stupid Microsoft? Mr Bleeker is still holding that hardware store job open for you … get a real job and give up this … what is it … software?”

      “Mark – your left Harvard for some website? Go back to Harvard, and you will be qualified to get a good job with that nice Mr Ceglia when you graduate. Facebook ,,, what’s that all about? get a real job.”

  • Jake

    So, he take 7.5% of what people are giving to charity. Take from the poor before the poor even have a chance to get it!! Wow, a young Republican for sure.

    • cbinmaine

      learning young how to get over on people. next job in D.C. working for Osama Obama

  • llv

    So not impressive.

  • retphxfire

    So he’s another conservative who has found a way to make money off the poor (7,500 for every 100,000 is a lot of baby formula) Where is the news in that?

  • plaidshirt

    why would I give him 7.5% that can go directly to the charity?

  • DS

    Good for him… but where is the news? There are a number of other websites that already does what his website does and charges far less for being a channel. And why does he need $1.2M to be start a website? Maybe he has to pay the newspaper to write about him

  • NorthernSky

    I don’t understand these comments about how lucky he was blah blah blah given 250K. People win the lottery every day, people have huge inheritance windfalls and there are thousands of rich kids running around… most of them haven’t done squat. This kid started a valid business, at that one that is dedicated to raising funds for charities. How can you all be so negative about that??! No wonder you’re jealous – try getting out of your own way for a start!

    • No Cents

      You must be his Mom or some politcal figure who will get money for your campaign from this silver-spoon born kid!

  • Avg college kid

    Hey bud. Im sure this story is all good news to you. This young is all about money and making a profit. Helping others is way down his list of things to do. HE TAKES 7.5% right off the top of any donation. How about if he only charged those giving to political parties but if they are giving to say world vision or good will its all free. This kid is helping others but he’s also helping himself to a great amount of money. This story is not about giving to those that are in need but rather its about the rich getting richer.

  • clyc

    does anyone know how to print this article?

    • Jake


  • sublime

    Yeah, let me donate $10,000 so they can keep $750 for “over-head costs”, what a good cause… NOT.

    I’ve donated to several charities before, and for an online donation site, they are at the higher end for over-head costs.

    Fundraising should not be a ‘get rich quick’ business. That’s just messed up.

  • Jae Osk

    what the heck, how are you going to charge people that are donating money to someone else?, I don’t see how anyone would want to use this site its pointless and just makes these people richer, what a scam.

  • No Cents

    I think I am going to start one of these that is not-for-profit. I’ll have to raise the money myself for the upstart because I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my arse.

  • shauna

    well his dad started it… if someone gave me 250k i could do wonders too! give us a story of $0 to 1.2mil and I will be happy sheesh

  • Frank

    This seems to be a front for political contributions. If one where to check, I’ll bet his dad has political ties….There are many sites for people to donate to charities, there are others to sing up so part of your on-line shopping costs go to a charity of your choice. Who needs this?
    The politicians, and he gets 7.5 %, what a scam….!

  • Fat Frank

    Rich kid with rich father starts his own company. News at 11.

  • Ex Pat

    This kid is nothing but a neo-con stooge. Send him off to Afghanistan!

  • the business guy

    Change title to “19-Year-Old Raises $1.2 Million For Boston Startup”.

    • the business guy

      thanks to $250K from rich dad with powerful connections

  • Tom

    Unfortunately for Nate, this is nothing but a small website with some startup money backing it. There is a significant difference between having 1.2 million invested in your company than having 1.2 mil of profit. Anybody ever been to the actual website? People barely use it. The most I saw that was raised was 20$ out of $20,000. I graduated highschool with this kid and he barely got into college. Don’t put to much stock into a news articile

  • http://www.bigfootdigital.co.uk/2012/07/20-under-20-the-ones-to-watch/ 20 Under 20 - The Ones to Watch -

    […] to get jealous! Drouin is only 20 years old, and already he has raised $1.2 million for his online donation site Fundraise.com. After starting the website with an initial investment […]

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