The four Porter brothers are no stranger to fundraising campaigns — their father, DuBose Porter, has been a Georgia state legislator for 28 years and the current Chairman of the Democratic Party of Georgia. Their mother also ran for office.
But, though Americans are donating to their preferred candidates and parties more than ever, with the percentage of Americans making political contributions doubling from 6 percent in 1992 to 12 percent in 2016, the Porter brothers had identified what they saw as a major issue with these contributions — they lack transparency, are difficult to track and often-inefficient.
The brothers identified a similar problem with charitable contributions, another growing market. Giving USA’s latest report shows that in 2016, charitable donations reached an all-time high in the U.S., increasing almost 4 percent to over $390 billion. Again, it’s an industry that has trouble with efficiency, reporting and sometimes, poor allocation by the recipient organizations.
“Almost 50 percent of people don’t trust charities,” says Inman Porter, the youngest Porter brother. “When someone makes a donation to an organization, the journey that dollar goes through is quite frankly ridiculous. Not only is it timely and costly, but the person making the donation has no idea how their money is being used.”
“We always wondered two things: one, why was there no ‘KickStarter for Political Campaigns and Nonprofits’, and two, why fees were so high, transaction speeds so slow and transparency almost nonexistent,” he continued.
His solution? A platform where donors can sign up free to contribute to non-profits and political campaigns without the high processing fees.
That platform, first developed by Inman in 2016, became SupPorter, the startup that all four of the brothers have now made into a family affair. Inman, who has a background in financial services, serves as CEO, while brother (and accountant) Stephen Porter is CFO and former Capitol Hill staffer Asa Porter has become Director of Government Relations. Their father and fourth brother, Guyton, are both advisors.
Inman’s original vision as a Kickstarter for donations was taken up a notch last year when he began learning about the principles and potential use cases of the blockchain. Blockchain’s distributed ledger structure is specifically valued for being highly transparent and secure.
“Later, when we started researching how Bitcoin worked, it was a no-brainier to bring our existing business model on to the blockchain. With this technology, we could process payments faster and cheaper with complete transparency,” says Inman.
The platform will still take donations in USD, which will be converted in the blockchain to SupPorter tokens. Donor organizations can easily analyze data, as well as input them to financial reporting forms in minutes.
With this vision, in March of 2017, Inman quit his New York City finance job to work on SupPorter full-time, moving back to Atlanta in the process. Along with co-founder and coo Douglas Schwartz, they self-funded to get the company off the ground, swelling their team to 11 employees and building up an advisory board of experts across disciplines.
Though they have a working app and website that allows organizations to raise funds with low fees, they needed additional capital to build the blockchain backbone. SupPorter is thus in the middle of a token pre-sale, from which they hope to raise up to $3 million from accredited or non-accredited investors. Following the pre-sale, the startup will launch an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) to bring in additional capital.
Inman projects that the company’s revenue model will shift from primarily deriving revenue from processing fees, to operating based off of the increased valuation of their token. They hope to close initial funding and complete the first version of the platform this year.