Cake Fundraising is a cause marketing platform that serves donors and fundraisers through dynamic promotional tactics and data capture. Cake makes it so that any nonprofit or business can create campaigns through four simple steps. Founder Justin Kersey pitched his company at a recent Tech Cocktail Startup Showcase, so we checked in on him for a fun Q&A. Since pitching, the team has almost finished their website and they hope to have their first campaign up and running by mid November. They've also expanded their team by adding two more people!
What's the hardest lesson you've learned so far on your startup journey?
As a small team with minimal resources, we've had difficulties balancing time constraints, budget and MVP requirements (needs versus wants). These difficulties were more glaring when we were in the beginning phase of startup life when there were more uncertainties. As we've moved forward, its become more obvious where we need to allocate our time, spend our budget and focus on particular product features. We've been fortunate not to have had any major difficulties – thanks in large part to having an experienced team.
Tell me some startup advice that you disagree with.
I don't agree with the idea that companies have to get their product to the market ASAP: fail fast, fail quick. I think it's important to spend some time understanding industry dynamics and trends as well as testing with end users. I'm a fan of the pivot & test approach a la Lean Startup.
What other tech trends excite you these days?
Apart from the industry I work in, I'm excited about a small but fast growing movement in nutritional advice and wellness driven by DNA profiling. I have a few friends and contacts who are working in genomics science and are developing scientifically-based products aimed at the consumer lifestyle market. I think its a really cool area of work and has the potential to really help people improve their health and make decisions based on highly personalized information.
What's the long-term wildest dream vision for Cake Fund Raising?
Cake is a huge success and becomes synonymous with 'cause marketing'. Instead of a marketing exec talking about their next 'cause marketing campaign' they'll talk about their next ‘Cake' campaign.
Why should people use this product?
If you want to help dismantle puppy mills, clean up the environment and end world hunger all from your computer, then Cake is your answer.
If your startup was a cocktail, what would it be?
A martini because we've been shaken but we're not deterred!
What's one quirky fact we would love to know about you or your startup?
While I was a graduate student at Duke I took out student loans to help get the company going after I had already take a leave of absence from school.