Beam Impact, a company that enables consumers to turn their spending into a way to support social causes, has raised $13.3 million in Series A funding led by Index Ventures. The company’s B2B2C model connects consumers with brands that are supporting social causes and allows them to donate a portion of their purchases to a nonprofit of their choice, at no cost to them. Beam is partnered with 100 brands, including Instacart, Parade, IKEA, Roots Canada and more.
The company was founded in 2017 by Beam CEO Viveka Hulyalkar, a former McKinsey consultant, and CTO Alex Sadhu, a former Tinder iOS engineer. The pair founded Beam to connect people who are anxious to make an impact with brands that have the resources to do so.
“We’re on a mission to create what loyalty would look like if it were designed for today’s customers,” Hulyalkar told TechCrunch in an interview. “The way we’re doing that is by connecting brands and consumers over the values they share instead of just relying on transactional discounts.”
There are two ways to access Beam: via its iOS and Android apps or through its e-commerce brand integration with its partners. On the Beam app, you can browse brands that are on the platform and pick one that you’re interested in purchasing from. You can also filter search results by things you’re interested in purchasing or causes that matter to you. Or, you can go directly to Beam’s partner brands’ websites, all of which include a Beam integration at checkout.
Once you’re ready to make a purchase, you can choose from a list of nonprofit organizations that you’d like to donate to. You can choose from causes related to education, public policy, climate change and more. From there, the brand you’re purchasing from will donate 1% of your total purchase to the nonprofit you’ve selected. When you make a purchase, you can track your social impact. For instance, you may see that you’re 30% of the way to funding the removal of 30 pounds of plastic from the ocean.
The company’s nonprofit partners include Black Girls Do STEM, Feeding South Florida, Women’s Refugee Commission, Center for Black Women’s Wellness, Last Prisoner Project, Rainforest Trust, Animal Haven, One Tree Planted, First Nations Nutrition Program, Stop AAPI Hate, Child Mind Institute and more. Beam is partnered with more than 500 nonprofits.
Beam doesn’t take a cut from donations or purchases and instead gets paid by the brands in its network. The brands pay Beam for the volume of usage they’re seeing via a tiered subscription model. Hulyalkar explained that the model is designed to ensure that the brands are always seeing positive ROI, relative to the combined cost of what they’re paying Beam and the cost of donations.
In terms of the new funding, Beam plans to use the money to increase its headcount of six employees by 8x, among other things. The company has already doubled its headcount since it closed the raise.
“There’s three things that we’re going to focus on with the funding. We have an ambitious goal of growing our headcount by 8x,” Hulyalkar said. “We’re also going to focus on growing our network of brands and nonprofits to help everyone make an impact for their communities. The third thing we’re going to focus on is product development. We are going to be rolling out new features to make our e-commerce integration even more exciting, as well as new features to make the native community a more delightful experience for customers to discover brands supporting issues that matter to them in other categories of their spending.”
The funding round included participation from earlier investors Ulu Ventures and HearstLab as well as strategic angels, like the co-founders of Attentive, Brian Long and Andrew Jones, and the head of product at Everlane, Ruchika Julapalli. The company’s Series A funding brings Beam’s total raise to date to $15.4 million.
Hulyalkar says Beam saw 150% compound month over month growth in 2021 and that the company funded more for nonprofits in Q1 2022 than it did in all over 2021. In the last year, the company says it has helped fund 5 million meals for families experiencing food insecurity, prevented more than 1 million pounds of CO2 emissions and more.
“We’re going to be a compass for everyday impact,” Hulyalkar said in terms of the future for the company. “There are many finance apps out there that help you manage your personal finances, but there’s nothing that helps you manage your personal impact on an everyday basis, and that’s what we’re building. We’re going to make Beam a part of people’s everyday lives and habits and at the same time, we’re going to build a best in class end-to-end values based marketing engine to help companies win by giving.”