This week, we chatted with Mac Wilkinson, the founder of Moolathon, a social fundraising platform and fitness tracker based in Louisville, Ky. Lakers point guard (and former UK basketball star) Rajon Rondo is an investor. We’ve covered Moolathon a bit in the past, but we wanted to get into Wilkinson’s head and see how he manages his startup.
Why did you start this company?
Wilkinson: I grew up playing sports my entire life, and to fundraise for uniforms and trips, I’ve done everything imaginable from selling popcorn to washing cars to even selling mulch. Usually, just to scrape together a few hundred dollars.
When I got older, I was able to see the other side of fundraising while helping to organize 5Ks and fitness fundraisers that would raise thousands for the organizations that I support. I would often think, “If these types of events are so effective, why weren’t we doing this type of fundraising when I was a kid?”
Turns out that those organizations usually have the funds to cover initial overhead for these types of events, not to mention the countless volunteer man-hours their supporters lend to help. So I set out to create a platform that would bring this level of fundraising to groups, teams, schools and organizations, regardless of their resources.
What’s the most important factor in building your teams?
Wilkinson: Enthusiasm for the product and the business. I firmly believe that enthusiasm is contagious. When you truly believe in the product and service you are providing, it gives your customers confidence that you will provide that service at the highest possible capacity. That confidence can go a long way when you’re a startup trying to show clients why they should choose your unique approach to the service they need.
What technology is most important for your business?
Wilkinson: Our service is based around a mobile app and fitness tracking that we use to provide a level of accountability our competitors just can’t provide. Other pay-for-play fundraising platforms heavily rely on self-reporting from the fundraisers themselves. Meaning that those who contribute, really have no idea if they are earning their support as advertised. With Moolathon, we use motion detection and GPS tracking to ensure our users are putting in the work, earning those sponsorships and actually completing fitness challenges set by groups and organizations.
What books have you read lately to keep yourself current?
Wilkinson: “Fundraising,” by Ryan Breslow. We are raising money, so I am trying to gain all insight possible on that front! This book was suggested to me by Natalia Bishop, who is a founder, investor and pillar in our startup ecosystem, so when she makes a suggestion, I know it’s worth my time!
I also listen to several podcasts in the fitness and fundraising space to keep me up to date on the latest trends in those industries. When it comes to trends, I think podcasts are an amazing resource to hear discussions about current topics in just about any space.
What tech trends are you watching?
Wilkinson: We’ve recently conducted a ton of customer discovery to see what fitness trackers people are using on a daily basis and what drew them to that particular platform. For us, the same trends that motivate people to meet their fitness goals are the same trends that give us our unique feel-good approach to fundraising.
If you know a tech leader in flyover country you’d like to see in this space, send an email to Lisa@flyovermediagroup.com.