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GoFundMe Continues to Expand Its San Diego Presence

GoFundMe, a company that focuses on crowdfunding for charitable causes, has continued to expand its San Diego presence.

Founded in 2010, GoFundMe helps users create fundraisers for dozens of categories, including education, faith and business. The site can also subsidize new businesses, cover college or funeral costs.

Intially launched by San Diego co-founders Brad Damphousse and Andrew Ballester, their crowdfunding company has evolved into a global company with offices in Redwood City, Los Angeles, Detroit, Australia, Dublin, and of course San Diego.

To date, the crowdfunding donation site has brought in more than $9 billion in overall giving.

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It took five years to raise its first billion, nine months for the second, and just seven for the third. More notably, its platform has made more than 120 million donations in total.

How It Works

Crowdfunding has become one of the biggest levers for raising money over the internet. Using emotional storytelling campaigns that spread virally through social media, charitable giving has also given the company a huge boost.

Each giving page is easy to create and designed to support bold headlines, customizable pictures and videos, and goal trackers, which can be adjusted upward if serious support rolls in.

At the most basic level, GoFundMe allows campaigns to be easily shared across other social networks, where equally customizable hashtags help them gain steam. GoFundMe has also become a platform to popularize local causes that might otherwise be ignored.

For example, such campaigns helped raise more than $9.5 million for victims of Orlando’s Pulse nightclub shooting, $11 million for Louisiana flood victims, and $3 million for those affected by Hurricane Matthew in recent years.

Its business model works by pocketing small transaction fees on each donation. Although, more recently it’s been working on changing the business model by eliminating fees and switching to a donation model and adding in new features like team fundraising and working with larger charities.

In October last year, GoFundMe launched Charity, a new fundraising platform specifically targeting nonprofit organizations. This platform was birthed from the acquisition of CrowdRise back in 2017.

In particular, Charity lets nonprofits continue to build campaigns on GoFundMe but also, create ways of building GoFundMe-powered donations off of GoFundMe’s own site.

New Ownership and Leadership

In June 2015, San Diego co-founders Damphousse and Ballester sold their majority stake in GoFundMe to Accel Partners and Technology Crossover Ventures (TCA), a deal valued at around $600 million.

Former Groupon President Rob Solomon took over as CEO and the company moved its corporate headquarters to Redwood City. It has since grown to over 300 staffers worldwide.

After a five years, Solomon stepped down from the role and was replaced by Tim Cadogan earlier this year. Cadogan was formerly the CEO of OpenX, a programmatic advertising platform.

Cadogan said there are no plans to change GoFundMe’s strategy with the switch of CEOs. “This is a deepening investment in our strategy,” said Cadogan. “We are keeping our DNA as a company and looking for ways to continue to make that even more effective and widely available.”

A privately held company, it has only disclosed one funding round which valued GoFundMe at $500 million in 2015. Expected to be far more valuable than that today, the company has been profitable since its earliest days with steady growth year-over-year, according to the company.

Hiring in San Diego

Over the years, GoFundMe has continued to grow its San Diego operations, employing more than 50 people locally with plans to grow.

“GoFundMe San Diego is home to a cross functional group of employees from teams including trust and safety, engineering, customer service, and more. We continue to expand our presence in San Diego to fulfill our mission of inspiring hope and changing lives through giving,” said Cadogan.

In the region, the company is currently hiring for new roles including communications, engineering, and compliance professionals, among others. Such jobs at GoFundMe can pay up to the six figures.

Mark Cafferty president and CEO at San Diego Regional EDC said having a global company such as GoFundMe in San Diego’s “backyard” demonstrates the work-life quality that the region offers unlike other major tech hubs.

“As a globally recognized brand, few people know GoFundMe was born and bred in San Diego — rising to the top of all fundraising platforms from right here in our backyard” said Cafferty. “The company, and its people, represent exactly the life-changing work that sets our region apart.” 

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