Almost every business process or human interaction is rapidly being digitised and offered via the cloud, as a seemingly endless supply of startups look to disrupt legacy software or often old, completely non-digital ways of doing things.
Enter Copenhagen-based startup ChurchDesk, a cloud-based platform and mobile apps for iOS and Android that helps church staff and volunteers run their church more efficiently and better engage with the local church local community.
The company, launched fully in 2012 by CEO and founder Christian Steffensen, whose mom is a pastor, has raised a new $2 million round of funding led by early-stage venture firm Mangrove Capital Partners. It plans to use the investment to expand the product and marketing team, accelerate the roll-out of new product features and ultimately drive uptake across Europe.
“It started as a student startup among other projects. My mom is a priest in Copenhagen, Denmark and I soon learned that churches have so much potential but are underserved and severely lack digital solutions to their pain,” says Steffensen.
“They need to focus on their members and add value to them. In 2012 I chose to go full time and build a team around our mission to bring churches digital.”
The ChurchDesk platform is described as an integrated set of tools that takes care of “ecclesiastical admin, increase transparency and improve information flow between staff, volunteers and the community”. It includes a shared intranet, digital calendar, file manager and messaging system for email and SMS, as well as a content management system (CMS) for church website and campaign management.
“Churches are basically wondering what they need to do to meet today’s expectations from their members. As nobody from the outside is offering great solutions they are dealing with the pain themselves,” adds Steffensen.
“A big part of the solution is to work digitally, meaning actively using software to understand and automate workflows that deal with managing and engaging members, activities, communications, etc.
“We basically help the church engage their members to avoid churn and increase activity level. Something that they all want but don’t know how to do. Further, by working digitally they can free up resources from inefficient workflows to put into value added activities – basically changing the way churches are organised.”
To date, ChurchDesk claims over 1,000 churches using the cloud-based platform across Denmark, Germany and the U.K., amounting to 10,000 staff users who are delivering over 50,000 “events” every month through the platform — so engagement looks decent. Meanwhile, the startup generates revenue via subscriptions based on the size of the church.
Of note, along with Mangrove Capital Partners, ChurchDesk also counts Klaus Nyengaard, previously chief executive of Just Eat, as investor and Chairman. Another seed investor is Accelerace, the Scandinavian accelerator.