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

By Kyle Alspach , Boston Business Journal
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Nate Drouin (photo courtesy: Boston Business Journal)

Nate Drouin (photo courtesy: Boston Business Journal)

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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.”

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