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Jared Bakewell from Proseeds was inducted into the 2017 class of the Pipeline Entrepreneur Innovators Awards. Brian Lee from Silicon Prairie News caught up with Fix to find out more about Proseeds and what Bakewell has planned for the company.
“Proseeds is a way for people to support their favorite non-profit organizations for free,” explained Bakewell.
Proseeds works by linking a credit or debit card to a non-profit company. Whenever the consumer completes a transaction with the card at a participating retailer, the company automatically donates 5% of the purchase back to the non-profit at no cost to the consumer.
Bakewell says customers are enthusiastic about what Proseeds is doing.
“They are sticking with us. Of the restaurants and merchants that are on the platform, we’ve got essentially a 100% retention rate,” he said. “They’re the ones making the donations, paying for the platform to exist so that’s really encouraging.”
Launching from the Midwest
Proseeds was launched in May 2015 in Omaha. Since then, the company has onboarded thousands of customers, over 250 non-profits, and around 130 merchants. Proseeds is getting ready to open up a round of fundraising to help them go national.
Bakewell is hoping that going through Pipeline will help him to scale the business. He also believes that the program will make him a better business leader.
“For Proseeds to be successful, it necessitates that the person at the helm of it is a world changing entrepreneur, because our business is truly trying to change the world,” said Bakewell. “I know I’ve got a long way to go to get to that level of effectiveness.”
Sense of purpose
Bakewell believes that the effort he’s putting into Proseeds will pay off. He says he envisions a world where a percentage of every consumer transaction would go to fund the good in society.
“That would be a fundamental shift in what is going on in the world. Imagine if someday the funds generated from Proseeds go to educate future generations, they go to cure diseases, they go to house the homeless and feed the hungry,” said Bakewell. “That’s a realistic world view through the lens of what Proseeds could be.”
Finding the team
Bakewell sees living in the Midwest as a benefit to startups. He thinks that through programs such as Pipeline and The Startup Collaborative in Omaha, access to developers who can see an entrepreneur’s vision is getting easier.
“Having people who see the vision of what our company is and what it can be, that have that hard technical skill is really encouraging for what we’re trying to accomplish,” said Bakewell.
Bakewell recommends entrepreneurs surround themselves with people who aren’t just involved with a company for a paycheck or for equity, but are there to support the mission.
“If you can dream it, it can possibly be built but find someone, or have that knowledge at least within yourself, [and] know that it can be done.”