CFB Exclusive Interview with GoFundMe

Picture Courtesy of GoFundMe

Picture Courtesy of GoFundMe

 By: Devin Thorpe contributing editor.

 Over the years GoFundMe has been used to help people in myriad ways, can you share one or two particularly powerful stories?

Brad: Hi Devin – sure thing. Our “Success Stories” page includes quotes from a number of memorable campaigns. As you can imagine, the campaigns for the Boston bombing victims were very powerful – a true testament individual strength and courage supported by the generosity of thousands. And, in just the last 48 hours an incredible campaign has surfaced for the homeless man in Boston who discovered $40k in a backpack and did the right thing by turning it over to authorities. This campaign has now raised about $86k – probably much more by the time you read this! (http://www.gofundme.com/4by2as) Every day we witness family & friends coming together to support one another when they need it most. However, more and more often these campaigns are going viral on a national level. Here’s a just a few more that made national headlines in the past 3 weeks:

$171k raised by friend of Australian baseball player slain in Oklahoma:

$103k raised by hero who stopped school shooter, Antoinette Tuff:

$6.8k to grant 87yr old’s wish to see Red Sox one last time:

Devin: Last spring, I wrote a Forbes piece about two of the Boston Marathon bombing victims, Celeste and Sydney Corcoran, who used your site to raise money. At the time of my article, they had raised $206,005. Can you update me on their campaign?

Brad: Celeste & Sydney’s campaign has raised $781,806.00

Devin: As the number of crowdfunding platforms seems to multiply daily, how are you innovating at GoFundMe to remain competitive?

Brad: Innovation will only get you so far. A genuine interest in our users’ success is what sets us apart from the copycats. Not only is GoFundMe designed to ensure success for just about anyone, but we respond to every support email within 5 minutes. In short, caring about your users goes a very long way. Case-inpoint, we’re a 100% bootstrapped company that will soon be the #2 crowdfunding site in the US behind Kickstarter. While other sites have peaked and plateaued, GoFundMe continues to soar.

Devin: What personal and professional experiences brought you to GoFundMe?

Brad: My background is in user-experience design and product management. In 2008, I had the idea that it should be easy for family & friends to come together and raise money online for life’s important moments (full history). I was very fortunate to team-up with my co-founder and friend Andrew Ballester who is one of the most talented developers on planet earth. We built GoFundMe ourselves without the help of outside development or capital. This decision allowed us to stay close to our product and communicate directly with our customers. We have 5+ years of improvements and optimizations underthe-hood at GoFundMe that contributes to our success every day!

Devin: What else would you like to tell us about GoFundMe?

Brad: GoFundMe is the crowdfunding site for the rest of us. Over $111M has been raised by regular people for the things that matter to them most. We grew 500% in 2012 and continue to surge in 2013 (See: http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/gofundme.com). Our users keep each donation they receive without worrying about deadlines or limits. We don’t compete with Kickstarter as we serve two very different markets. Entrepreneur Magazine thought I might make a good Entrepreneur of the Year so they made me a finalist in their 2013 competition.

DevinThorpeDevin Thorpe thinks he is the luckiest person alive. After being “let go” from the best job he’d ever had—as the Chief Financial Officer of the multinational food and beverage company MonaVie—he and his wife ended up living in China for a year where he wrote Your Mark On The World and embarked on the career he’d always wanted yet hadn’t dared dream.

Now, as an author, a popular guest speaker and Forbes contributor, Devin is devoted full time to championing social good. His current life isn’t much like his past.
As an entrepreneur, Devin ran—at separate times—a boutique investment banking firm and a small mortgage company. He served as the Treasurer for the multinational vitamin manufacturer USANA Health Sciences years before becoming CFO for MonaVie. Over his career he led or advised on the successful completion of $500 million in transactions.

Devin squeezed in two brief stints in government, including two years working for Jake Garn on the U.S. Senate Banking Committee Staff and another year working for an independent state agency called USTAR, where he helped foster technology entrepreneurship during Governor Jon Huntsman’s administration. Devin is proud to have graduated from the University of Utah David Eccles School of Business, which recognized him as a Distinguished Alum in 2006. He also earned an MBA at Cornell University where he ran the student newspaper, Cornell Business.

Today, Devin channels the idealism of his youth with the loving support of his wife, Gail. Their son Dayton is a PhD candidate in Physics at UC Berkeley (and Devin rarely misses an opportunity to mention that).

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