Albany Business Review: Software startup that tracks student and corporate volunteering is expanding in Troy

Passport for Good — a software platform that helps students, families and school districts track volunteer hours and extracurriculars — is expanding in downtown Troy.

The company is moving into designated tax-free space within the Quackenbush Building at 333 Broadway in Troy as part of the Start-Up New York program paired with Hudson Valley Community College. Passport for Good plans to invest more than $50,000 and create five jobs in the next few years. Those jobs include hires in its product team, onboarding and marketing.

Passport for Good’s software provides data on students’ extracurricular and volunteer work for transcripts and gives schools a data tool and application to measure, encourage and improve student engagement.

Gayle Farman started the company in 2016.

Farman got the idea when her daughters were preparing to apply to college and there was no easy way to track community service hours. Farman, who has spent her career in nonprofit leadership roles, realized it was a problem she could solve.

The concept was prototyped by students at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. And Passport for Good has worked with Troy Web Consulting to develop the software product.

Three years later, school districts — including Bethlehem Central, Cohoes and Watervliet — are using the mobile and web app to track community service for their students. Farman said Passport for Good will be entering the New York City market soon. Last year the company was awarded a statewide contract through BOCES to provide its service to public school districts across New York State. She said the service is growing in Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties, as well as parts of Rochester and the Southern Tier.

Passport for Good’s app is applicable in other markets as well, including corporations, colleges and criminal justice.

The company raised $525,000 in a seed round last year led by a group of regional business leaders to grow the company. Those investors included Steve Gonick and his wife, Denise Gonick, CEO of MVP Health Care. Steve Gonick joined Passport for Good along with the investment as a co founder and board member. Other investors include Nicole Snow, founder of Darn Good Yarn.

Farman said they are prepared to raise more money in a Series A round later this year.

She said being part of Start-Up New York will help that cause. The program was introduced in 2013 and allows businesses to operate tax free for a decade by expanding or relocating to a college or university campus. (The Quackenbush Building is a designated off-campus site for HVCC under the program.) In exchange, the businesses agree to partner with universities and meet certain investment and hiring goals.

“We want to hire well and hire the right talent now to bring us to the next level,” Farman said. “It’s an exciting piece about upstate New York that can help us recruit the high quality talent we need. A supportive partner like HVCC on that recruitment process will be critical.”