Karen Houghton is stepping away from her role as Atlanta Tech Village’s Vice President to become a new village resident and startup founder.
She’s launching Infinite Giving, a FinTech platform for nonprofit management.
For Houghton, Infinite Giving is about helping nonprofits overcome the “scarcity mindset” and financial hurdles that keep nonprofits from growing.
“A scarcity mindset is a hand-to-mouth mentality which often occurs because [a nonprofit] hasn’t matured as an organization yet to have a large enough donor base,” Houghton told Hypepotamus. “There’s also a healthy tension of deploying funds immediately and directly into the mission that has to be balanced with the financial stewardship of protecting the organization’s existence and operations when donor giving dips and world events happen.”
The software serves as a passive investment engine so nonprofits can diversify and rebalance their portfolios through low-cost index funds.
Nonprofits can invest funds, manage endowments, and even receive stock donations through the platform.
Infinite Giving brings together several of Houghton’s professional experiences. Prior to joining ATV, she founded Land of a Thousand Hills, a coffee company and shop supporting Rwandan coffee growers. Houghton said her passion for growing a nonprofit was eclipsed by burnout with the endless nonprofit fundraising cycle.
“You can have an incredibly successful year and complete a huge campaign, but you still have to do it all over again next year. Every year, every project, every building. Endowments help provide sustainability and recurring funding that you only have to raise once a year and the donors get to have a legacy of generosity that gives infinitely,” she added.
After making her mark in the Atlanta tech ecosystem — first with Pardot and then with Atlanta Tech Village and Atlanta Ventures — she is taking her turn as a tech startup founder. Houghton told Hypepotamus she knew it was the right time to launch Infinite Giving because she saw an “increase in consumer awareness, education, and interest in investment practices.”
“The market timing with COVID — nonprofits are starkly aware of how important having at least 6-12 months of operating expenses in reserve funds (savings). There was also a large increase in donor giving during 2020 from folks who cared about the organization and missions and wanted to ensure their survival,” she said were additional reasons why it was the right time to launch.
Seth Radman, founder of MusicTech startup Crescendo and serial entrepreneur in Atlanta, will join Houghton as co-founder and CTO. “I decided to partner with Karen because of her extensive background in the nonprofit space, her incredible work ethic and track record, and her passion for helping people. From building a primary school in Rwanda to growing Atlanta Tech Village from the ground up, Karen is an absolute rockstar. I’m happy to be working together in support of a great mission — to help nonprofits succeed,” said Radman.
Landing Pre-Seed Funding To Improve Fundraising
Infinite Giving is launching with a $500,000 pre-seed round led by David Cummings. Other Atlanta founders/investors joining the round include Kyle Porte (SalesLoft), Eric Spett (Terminus), Craig Hyde (Rigor), and Jim Berryhill (DecisionLink), along with several others in the tech community.
“We’ve had over 1,000 startups at Atlanta Tech Village and Karen played a tremendous role in building our community from a vision into America’s 4th largest tech hub,” said Cummings. “Over the next 10 years, our goal is to create 20,000 more high-paying tech jobs in Atlanta by way of startups that start and grow in our city. Infinite Giving will now be part of that success.”
The Infinite Giving team is currently looking to recruit its first 30 beta testers. Their target customer is a nonprofit organization managing $1 million – $5 million in assets.