Indianapolis-based Bloomerang Helps Nonprofits Keep Their Donors



Nonprofits and philanthropy are a topic of conversation lately. This week it was announced that Mark Zuckerberg is America’s Top Philanthropist in 2013, with $970 million in donations last year.

Unfortunately for most nonprofits, though, it can be hard to recruit donors, and even harder to keep them.

That’s where Indiana startup Bloomerang comes in. They help nonprofits retain donors, which saves money that can be used to actually fulfill the mission.

Check out our Q&A with Bloomerang below:

What is your startup called?


Who are the founders, and what are their backgrounds?

Our Co-Founder & CEO is Jay Love, a 30-year veteran in the technology sector and a legend in the nonprofit sector. He created eTapestry in the 1990s, the first ever cloud-based donor management product, which was acquired by Blackbaud in 2007.

The three remaining co-founders were lead product managers and engineers at eTapestry, so they brought a unique perspective on user experience and functionality to Bloomerang.

What’s the story behind your idea?

Jay Love was attending sitting in the audience at a nonprofit conference keynote luncheon. The speaker was Dr. Adrian Sargeant, the Robert F. Hartsook Professor of Fundraising at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University and one of the foremost exerts on donor loyalty in the world. 

Following the presentation, Jay asked Adrian out for lunch. During their discussion, he asked Adrian whether he thought all of his research on donor retention was making a difference in the nonprofit world. Adrian paused before finally answering “No, I don’t believe it is.” That’s when Jay knew that his next nonprofit technology venture needed to have a focus on retention and loyalty.

Where are you based?

Indianapolis, Indiana

What’s the startup scene like where you are based?

Indianapolis has always been supportive of startups. Monthly Verge meetups attract hundreds of startup enthusiasts, who now have homes to call their own at Developer Town. We have The Speak Easy, one of the premiere co-working spots in the state, and TechPoint, an organization dedicated to economic development and advocacy. ExactTarget, Compendium and Aprimo, three of the most recent tech success stories, got their start in Indianapolis, while a recent Startup Weekend Indianapolis winner went on to place 2nd in the Global Startup Battle.

What problem do you solve?

In 2013, the Fundraising Effectiveness Project released the findings from their yearly study on year-to-year fundraising results. They found that nonprofits, on average, only retain 39% of donors. In other words, six out of every ten donors who make a gift in year one do not make a gift in year two. Because the cost of acquiring those donations is typically greater than the donation amount itself, nonprofits with low retention rates find themselves on a gift acquisition treadmill with ever-diminishing returns.

Further exacerbating this problem are the technology options currently available to nonprofits. The three leading donor management applications on the market facilitate and encourage a culture of acquisition, rather than retention. 

Because our software is focused on retaining your current donors, rather than acquiring new ones, our customers are able to increase their donor retention percentages and bring in more revenue annually.

Why now?

When you combine a lack of donor retention insights, high subscription costs and feature homogeneity, many nonprofits feel trapped by their current providers and unable to unlock the true potential within their databases. We felt the time was right for a new entry to the marketplace, and so far the response has been overwhelmingly positive.

What are some of the milestones your startup has already reached?

In January, 2014 we signed our 250th customer and hired our 19th employee. Our revenue growth rate in 2013 was over 5,000% of 2012 ($6,700 to $395,232.40).

What are your next milestones?

We expect to have 34 employees and 500 customers by the end of 2014.

Where can people find out more? Any social media links you want to share?

You can find us at and socially at and


Nothing Is Stopping Bad Ass Startup Chick Denver Hutt And Now She Has A Website About It

DEnver Hutt, Indianapolis, Indy startup, SpeakEasy

Denver Hutt (center) surrounded by entrepreneurs. (photo: Facebook)


Just yesterday our managing editor Monica Selby penned this piece about taking some downtime. It’s good for you, your mental sanity, your health, and even your business. As I read her post, it made me think of the very important lesson we all learned back in May when Bad Ass Startup Chick Denver Hutt revealed she had the “c” word.

Hutt is the Executive Director at Indianapolis co-working and event space The Speak Easy. She also travels around the world learning and helping startups. She is a networking goddess, a strong advocate for startups of any kind and flavor, and a lover of Indianapolis and its startups (although not born there).

Back in May a bad cough that went untreated got worse and worse. Even after the cough was treated, it never got better. It was eventually revealed that she had cancer. Nowadays, in between treatments and doctor’s appointments, Hutt is making sure she sees the world, friends, favorite things, and startups. A true inspiration for everyone in the startup community and elsewhere.

Hut is a tell-it-like-it-is girl and has always believed in transparency, so she started a blog She’s not looking for sympathy. She wants to share her lessons and keep people updated. I had to make sure we were plenty stocked up on chocolate, tape, and wine when I read this post from Tuesday where Hutt revealed she’s not responding to chemo. No worries though; she’s an entrepreneur, and this is just a minor setback

She’s going to Chicago to meet with doctors at the University of Chicago, and of course she’s making a trip to 1871 and a Cubs game while she’s in town. Then she’s going to do some more discovery (ok get a third opinion) at Sloan Kettering in New York in two weeks. Rest assured she’ll also stop in on startups there as well.

You can keep up with Denver’s journey here, and you can get a #TeamDenver shirt. You know we’re going to.

Oh, and Denver, we’ve got a little challenge for you. Make it to Everywhere Else Cincinnati, or we’ll come down to Indy and get you!


VentureCamp Gives New Meaning to “Go Big or Go Home”

VentureCamp has everything an entrepreneur needs from an accelerator:

  • top-notch mentorship
  • a smart cohort
  • a curriculum developed by leading investors

Oh…and a mansion.

Indiana startup, accelerator, Venturecamp

Looks like something out of The Bachelor, right? That’s actually not too far off. Besides building companies and receiving world class mentorship, VentureCamp participants live together in the mansion. And, it’s all being captured on video.

VentureCamp obviously isn’t your typical accelerator.

First, rather than accept teams that are already building products, VentureCamp only accepted individuals. And, they focused on women and minorities, groups that are typically left out of the venture capital game. After the first week, the participants were split up into teams, they chose a company, and had 7 weeks to build it out. The whole experience can be likened to Startup Weekend, but on a bigger, grander scale.

Second, the whole thing is housed in Indianapolis’s Kessler Mansion, owned by one of the camp’s backers, Chad Folkening. The idea is to give the entrepreneurs an idea of what life could be like, in the event their companies go big.

Finally, from morning to night, the whole thing is filmed. Camera crews hang out in all the meetings, strategy sessions, and dinners, capturing the formation of three new companies. The footage will be turned into a “docu-series,” shown first online, but the team hopes to eventually put it on TV. VentureCamp backer and senior advisor Patrick Mellody told USA Today that the film will promote other VentureCamps held around the world.

Despite some of the glitz, VentureCamp entrepreneurs have been hard at work for the last 8 weeks. With mentors like Priceline’s Jeff Hoffmann,they receive outstanding feedback on their business models and pitch.

And, speaking of pitch, what’s the one thing all accelerators have in common?

Demo Day!

Today is the first VentureCamp Demo Day. They are launching (and hoping to fund) 3 companies:

  • TourNative is a marketplace that connects travelers with locals.
  • YumDom helps home cooks find just the recipe they need for their lifestyle and includes 6 iPhone apps tailored to different dietary needs.
  • PlanSoon connects people with someone new to go do something fun.

It should be interesting to watch what comes from VentureCamp, both the new companies and the docu-series. Whatever it is, this team definitely knows how to “go big.”



Indianapolis Public Startup Angie’s List Sees Stock Drop 16%

Publicly traded tech startups haven’t been doing very well lately. Groupon, and Zynga have both dropped more than 70% since their initial public offerings earlier this year. The world has been watching the public story of Facebook as well. The largest social network in the world debuted at $38 dollars a share and has since dropped 46%. Right now is a tricky time for tech startups turned public companies.

For Angie’s list, the story hasn’t been much better. Except for the fact that Angie’s list debuted much lower than Groupon, Zynga or Facebook, they’ve still seen a steady decline since going public. Tuesday, Angie’s list stock closed at $11.17, which was below their IPO price of $13. The 16% drop on Tuesday was the single biggest decline for the Indianapolis based startup since they debuted on the stock market 9 months ago.

Angie’s list is a marketplace for people to vet and find service workers. Carpenters, babysitters, plumbers and more can be found on the site. The Angie’s list community is filled with reviews from every service sector possible. Companies can’t pay to be on the list it’s all referral/review based and there are no anonymous accounts.

Angie’s list also incorporates discounts of up to 70% off from the service providers found on the site. The company was founded in 1995 by Angie Hicks and William Oesterle and has remained in Indianapolis since then.

Angie’s List reported a loss of $37 million on revenues of $68 million during the first half of 2012.

Source: Yahoo