"There’s a great tech ecosystem here in Columbus in terms of the market we serve. It’s the state capital, so we have access to what’s going on in a state level that affects policy and our ideal customers." — Sheri Chaney Jones, founder, SureImpact
- Data-driven strategies for nonprofits
- P&G Signal 2021
- Smart City Challenge
- Tech to help children with autism
- Marinus Analytics recognized for AI platform
- Schools solving industry problems
- Innovations in the dairy industry
- Amazon vet takes role in Memphis
- Scale Up 2021
- Fueling the Future
- Name that Flyover City!
July 1, 2021
Data-driven strategies for nonprofits
Sheri Chaney Jones, Founder, SureImpact
Sheri Chaney Jones has been leading data-driven strategies for nonprofit and government organizations for a few years (she even wrote a book about it). Now her company SureImpact, located in Columbus, Ohio, continues to help mission-driven organizations operate more efficiently and achieve performance goals.
Flyover Future spoke to Jones about how SureImpact tackles this mission.
What do you do for the organizations with whom you work?
Jones: We help them better track and measure their unique social impact. Our clients use the insights we deliver to them to become more efficient and effectively raise more money.
How did SureImpact begin?
Jones: About 12 years ago, I launched a company called Measurement Resources, in which we did the work to provide these insights manually. Five or six years ago, our clients started coming to us saying they loved what we were providing but they wanted the insights at their fingertips, rather than have to wait on us to crunch the numbers and give them a report.
So that led us on a quest to research what technology we thought our customers should be using. Through that kind of analysis and market research, we realized there was nothing out there we would recommend for one reason or another. It wasn't doing what I thought it would, still with consulting costs on top of it. So we built our own.
At that point, you worked with Rev1, right?
Jones: We went to Rev1’s customer learning lab. The process helps you validate your market and understand your impact. We were thinking we would learn that our idea wasn’t good. During that process, however, we learned that 55% of our ideal, decision-maker clients said that they would purchase it.
We stayed in touch with Rev1, and they became the our lead and our first seed investment.
How’s the business doing now?
Jones: Quite well. In 2019, we had a beta [version], where 10 nonprofits paid us for their first license upfront so we could build out SureImpact. They helped us define feature requirements, provided feedback and validated the product as we were building it. Once the product was fully stable and functional, we launched in February 2020. Of course, then the pandemic hit. So although growth wasn't as much as we projected in 2020, we still picked up several customers.
One of those was The Siemer Institute, who brought SureImpact to 50 U.S. markets through the United Way channels and another 143 providers. We have a national presence. Just over the last five months, we went from 14 users to over 200 organizations across the country.
“The Siemer Institute brought SureImpact to 50 U.S. markets through the United Way channels and then another 143 providers. So we have a national presence.”
— Sheri Chaney Jones, SureImpact
Can you walk me through an example of your platform in use?
Jones: It’s like a case management platform. Local social service providers can track the progress of a person: Have they gotten housing approved? Have their wages increased? Did they start a business? All of the benchmarks are recorded.
When funders log in, they’re able to see across their networks and how they’re moving the needle. They can see if one program is better than another. They can see on a national level whether they’re delivering the same outcomes as another geographic area. Is Boston having better outcomes than Austin? If so, then why?
Speaking of cities, what are the advantages of being located in Columbus?
Jones: The cost of living is great. The schools are great, and I can live in a house that can fit my husband, myself and our four children. I think about the size of my home and what it would cost if it was in San Francisco!
There’s also a great tech ecosystem here in Columbus in terms of the market we serve. It’s the state capital, so we have access to what is going on in a state level that affects policy and our ideal customers. It’s a great place for social services, because we have urban challenges, rural challenges and suburban challenges that are reflective across the country.
July 14-15: P&G Signal Conference
The Procter & Gamble (P&G) Signal Conference is back and better than ever this July 14th and 15th. Dozens of leaders from across the business and entertainment industries will join the virtual stage in front of a global audience of thousands. There will be opportunities to ask questions, explore networking opportunities and see examples of innovation in practice. Cincinnati startup and innovation catalyst, Cintrifuse has partnered with P&G to invite the entrepreneurial community.
COLUMBUS, OH—The city has concluded delivery of its Smart City Challenge, demonstrating how safer, cleaner and more equitable transportation options can create opportunity for Columbus residents while helping prepare the region for the future. With $50 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation, the city explored how mobility innovation can help address complex societal problems and help generate economic opportunity.
Tech to help children with autism
Marinus Analytics recognized for AI platform
Schools solving industry problems
ST. LOUIS—Companies who don’t have the resources in-house for product development often turn to universities. An example is Nidec Corporation, which reached out to Research Enabled, an online portal that facilitates matches between industry needs and research solutions. The portal was created by staff at University of Missouri-St. Louis in partnership with the University of Missouri System and the Southern Illinois University System.
Innovations in the dairy industry
MADISON, WI—University of Wisconsin students have come up with innovations that will help the dairy industry. Students at the Dairy Innovation Hub worked in teams to create pitches involving a cooling pouch to replace milk cartons, a septum ring to monitor cow health and bioactives in yogurt to extend shelf life.
Amazon vet takes role in Memphis
LOUISVILLE-CINCINNATI-INDIANAPOLIS—After five months of strategic mentorship and curated resources for scaling a business, Endeavor celebrated the conclusion of its first cohort of Scale Up 2021 Entrepreneurs. The program provides tailored support and mentorship to high-potential entrepreneurs in Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio.
What is fueling Flyover Country innovation? In this weekly feature, we share a variety of announcements covering funding, acquisitions, exits, grants and everything in between. Got something to celebrate? Click here to share your story.
- CLEVELAND, OH—Splash Financial, a digital lending platform that helps borrowers shop and compare financial products from a Splash-powered network of lenders, announced it has secured $44.3 million in a new Series B funding round. The round includes partners of DST Global, Citi Ventures, Detroit Venture Partners, Firebolt Ventures and existing investors CMFG Ventures and Northwestern Mutual Future Ventures.
DAYTON, OH—Aeroseal, a climate tech company shrinking carbon emissions from residential and commercial buildings, raised $22 million in Series A funding. Breakthrough Energy Ventures led the round and was joined by Energy Impact Partners and Building Ventures.
CHARLOTTE, NC—Oyster, an HR platform for distributed workforces, raised $50 million in Series B funding, valuing it at $475 million. This is six times the company’s valuation when it raised $20 million four months ago.
- ST. LOUIS, MO—A professor of physics at Washington University in St. Louis has received a $4.9 million award from NASA. James H. Buckley will use the award to build a demonstration version of a large satellite experiment for gamma-ray astronomy research.
It's time for our favorite trivia game!
This week, let's turn our attention to great writers who hailed from flyover country. Can you match the writer with the city in which he or she was born?
- Anne Tyler
- Ralph Ellison
- Kurt Vonnegut
Click here for today’s answers.
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