After Hurricane Katrina, Desiree Vargas Wrigley was inspired to create a fundraising platform where anyone could raise money for anything online. In 2008, a friend introduced her to Ethan Austin, who wanted to create a fundraising site that would allow marathon runners to raise money for any charity and not just the registered partners. Later that year, the two launched GiveForward, an online platform that lets anyone to raise money on behalf of friends and family who are going through a difficult medical crisis.
“So often, people ask a loved one, ‘What can I do to help?’ But very rarely do they admit what they need most – financial support,” says Vargas Wrigley. She adds that the company’s long-term goal is to become the first resource friends and family of an individual dealing with a medical condition turn to in times of emotional and financial need.
Vargas Wrigley and Austin bootstrapped GiveForward for two years before being accepted into Excelerate Labs’ inaugural class. Last month, GiveForward raised $2 million in series A funding.