Passport for Good, the only BOCES-approved software-as-a service that captures community engagement for organizations, announced today that it had raised $525,000 in an oversubscribed seed round of funding led by a group of regional business leaders.
“I found Passport for Good’s product, as well as its strategy and business plan, to be very compelling,” said Steve Gonick, a Capital Region-based serial entrepreneur who served as a lead investor and has joined the company as a co-founder and member of the board of directors. “Schools and corporations are becoming more data-driven, and they also are becoming more socially responsible and committed to community engagement. Passport for Good provides technology to address those needs and improves the fabric of local communities.”
Said Gonick: “The investors we have assembled are seasoned business veterans who have all enjoyed phenomenal success in their careers. We have been heartened by the positive reaction to this product. We sought to raise $250,000-300,000 in this round and we were thrilled to be oversubscribed with $525,000 from some of the region’s most impressive individuals.”
Gonick said he was additionally attracted to Passport for Good because it is a “triple bottom line” startup venture, focused not only on financial success but also on making positive social and environmental impacts. “I am particularly interested in investing in triple-bottom-line businesses founded by women,” he said, “because women have been underrepresented in the startup sector and so many strong, capable women have great scalable ideas.”
This successful seed round will enable Passport for Good to grow its workforce and launch an aggressive sales and marketing effort. On July 1, the company reached a critical growth milestone when it became an approved vendor to provide its services to public school districts across New York State after a competitive procurement conducted by the Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES). The BOCES approval allows districts to purchase a subscription as a shared service through their BOCES Regional Information Center and to be reimbursed through state aid for using the community engagement software.
Nicole Snow, the founder of Darn Good Yarn, the region’s fastest-growing business according to the 2017 Inc. 5000 list, was one of the investors in this round. “Gayle Farman not only came up with a sustainable business, she came up with a business that empowers people to make the world a better place,” she said. “I am proud to be affiliated with another great Capital Region entity founded by a visionary female entrepreneur.”
Gayle Farman, founder and president of the company, said: “With these funds and with the wise counsel from our investors and board members we will be well-positioned to achieve our mission to enhance community engagement across the region and nation within the various sectors that value service and volunteerism. The education sector has been our first market and is highly interested in capturing community engagement, but we also expect our product to be popular with corporations, colleges, and organizations that provide alternatives to incarceration.”
Farman said that it all began with a problem to solve. There was no easy solution for organizations to capture the positive impact they were making and so much data was lost using burdensome paper systems or nothing at all. “The individuals doing good had no record for themselves,” she said. “The software and mobile app provide an easy way for subscribing organizations to monitor a wide range of personal and professional activities in the community and generate reports that showcase authentic individual and collective experiences. Passport for Good provides new data that celebrates the good and raises awareness of community need so that everyone can feel a sense of connectedness.”
Farman has been leading a team of local and remote employees, interns and independent contractors from the company’s new offices in Troy, NY. The company’s community partnerships have been essential to its early success. Passport for Good is a member of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Emerging Ventures Ecosystem (EVE) and was a graduate of its 2015 REVEAL program. RPI students built the original prototype, and the company has begun the process of applying for the Start-up New York economic development program. Farman intends to hire additional technical and marketing staff with the infusion of funds. “Developing and continuously improving a digital product – and marketing that product — requires the right mix of talented individuals,” she said.
The company’s upgraded mobile application debuted last month.
Passport for Good has been working with several school districts in the Capital Region, including Albany, Ballston Spa, Bethlehem, and North Colonie. Farman is preparing her company for rapid expansion in New York State and beyond, and will be marketing its product to K-12 public schools, private schools, colleges and corporations. “We are getting ready to share our story on a larger stage and we look forward to serving many more individuals and organizations,” Farman said.
About Passport For Good
Passport for Good offers a first-in-class, subscription-based Software as a Service (SaaS) to address the growing challenge faced by schools, corporations and the criminal justice system to track time spent by individuals and groups performing community service activities. The robust tracking system and mobile application assists non-profit organizations by allowing them to communicate their needs. It also centralizes data, automates the community service experience, and aggregates data across individuals and events to allow organizations to demonstrate community impact and to enhance linkages between service learning, skill development, and academic and career exploration. Prototyped by students at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, it is now powered by a full team of senior software engineers. The company was formed in 2016 by Gayle Farman of Slingerlands, NY. For more information, visit www.passportforgood.com.
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