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JumpStart Invests $250,000 in Big River

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Company’s Software Suite Increases Online Giving By Leveraging Personal Relationships

Big River, a Cleveland-based company whose software enhances the process of online fundraising, has received $250,000 from nonprofit venture development organization JumpStart Inc. Geared toward nonprofits, Big River’s product is designed to increase the effectiveness of donation or membership campaigns and to improve supporter loyalty.

“For many nonprofit organizations, online fundraising is becoming a substantial way to connect with new donors,” says Big River founder and CEO Ron Cass. “Big River takes a personalized approach to this process. Our highly customizable software allows nonprofits to tailor their communications to an individual’s giving habits. By improving the relevance of their outreach, institutions can more effectively engage donors and increase giving levels.”

Big River’s suite is a cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) comprised of multiple parts, including a content management system, an e-commerce engine, a database of donor information and a built-in analytics aggregator. The efficiency of this software allows nonprofits to process donations in a more productive and cost-effective way.

“Big River’s services are easy to integrate into existing digital properties, such as websites or email communications,” says Jerry Frantz, JumpStart’s Managing Venture Partner. “As a result, nonprofits can hone their fundraising strategy based on quantifiable data.”

In early 2012, Big River was one of the first Cleveland-based startups chosen to receive funding and support from nonprofit Bizdom, an entrepreneurship accelerator focused on creating waves of startups in the urban cores of Cleveland and Detroit. Bizdom was founded by Dan Gilbert, Founder of Rock Ventures and Quicken Loans, and Majority Owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

“Big River’s software suite always struck us as unique, thanks to its combination of smart analytics and a philanthropic focus,” says Bizdom Cleveland leader Paul Allen. “We are pleased that the company is receiving recognition and additional institutional investment.”

Big River’s current clients include the Cleveland Museum of Art and Lorain County Metro Parks, among others. The company plans to use the JumpStart investment for product development, website improvements and the implementation of marking initiatives.

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Big River is a cloud-based fundraising platform which enables nonprofits to present more targeted appeals and develop more meaningful relationships with constituents via the web, email and social media. This unique approach increases giving across an organization's donor base and helps build longer-lasting relationships. Big River can also leverage and thus enhance the value of existing donor management systems. For more information, visit www.gobigriver.com.

JumpStart accelerates the successes of diverse entrepreneurs, their companies and the ecosystems supporting them. The nonprofit venture development organization has given intensive business assistance to more than 425 entrepreneurial clients and invested in 67 early stage Northeast Ohio companies. For more information, visit www.jumpstartinc.org and follow @JumpStartInc on Twitter.

Bizdom is an entrepreneurship accelerator that helps entrepreneurs launch, fund and grow innovative, tech-based startups in the urban cores of Cleveland and Detroit. The nonprofit was founded in 2007 by Dan Gilbert, Founder of Rock Ventures and Quicken Loans, and Majority Owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers. For more information, visit www.bizdom.com or follow @BizdomCleveland on Twitter.