Indiana University

Cutting-edge iOS/Android App connects volunteers, nonprofits and businesses receives seed funding

  • Feb. 4, 2013


INDIANAPOLIS – A new, innovative mobile app aimed at connecting businesses, nonprofits and volunteers has gotten a kick start with $500,000 in seed funding from the Innovate Indiana Fund and other high-profile undisclosed angel investors.

Founded in 2011, Cause.it helps volunteers sign up for nonprofit service events or activities; gives nonprofits the opportunity to define volunteer loyalty and communicate with volunteers; and allows brands and businesses to develop a socially conscious brand identity and track the social activity levels of their customers. Cause.It helps businesses define what “causes” their consumers support, while rewarding volunteers for their hard work with points that they can use on everything from gift cards to discounts at their favorite companies.

The connection of cause, commerce and community creates an opportunity for nonprofits to better reach, engage and most importantly, retain their volunteers using a simple yet engaging platform like Cause.it. According to the 2011 Fundraising Effectiveness Survey Report, overall donor retention was 41 percent in 2010 – repeat donor retention was at 70 percent, new donor retention at 27 percent and database donor retention at 10 percent.

The Cause.it smartphone app is currently available for the iPhone and the Android version will soon be released.

“We have the opportunity to offer nonprofits a new and potentially very compelling way to reach and reward their volunteers, as well as unprecedented access to not just what they do but who they are and where their affinity with a cause lies,” said Gagan Dhillon, Cause.It co-founder and a senior at the Indiana University Kelley School of Business at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

Dhillon, who co-founded the app in 2011 with Purdue University computer science senior Andrew Blejde, said this round of funding will let the duo build and scale their mobile and data services solution to nonprofits, brands, and new cities. There has already been interest in the app in Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco.

The app’s principal investor, Innovate Indiana Fund – a $10 million Indianapolis-based seed stage-focused venture fund – invests in growing Indiana University-affiliated startups. The fund invests in early stage opportunities and helps its portfolio companies reach commercial success using both infusions of capital and the application of its expertise in company formation.

“The Innovate Indiana Fund prides itself on finding and supporting the best and brightest start-ups in the state, and for this particular business to have the altruistic goal of transforming the way volunteers, nonprofits and businesses work together is icing on the cake,” said Ken Green, managing director of the Innovate Indiana Fund.

The Innovate Indiana Fund has funded companies in a variety of sectors, including biotechnology and information technology.


The Innovate Indiana Fund is a seed stage focused venture fund that invests in growing Indiana University affiliated startups by providing equity capital and domain expertise to technology enabled businesses. The $10 million fund invests in early stage opportunities and has funded companies in a variety of sectors including biotechnology and information technology since its founding in 2009. Located in Indianapolis, Ind., the fund works closely with the Indiana University Research and Technology Corporation to help Indiana University further commercialize the technologies, inventions and intellectual capital originating from one of the top research institutions in the nation.

Media Contacts

Margie Smith-Simmons