Germany said “wilkommen” to Rally.org today, as the crowdfunding-for-causes startup expanded into Europe and opened a startup incubator in Berlin.
Rally’s approach emphasizes storytelling to help people fundraise for causes they believe in. The platform took off quickly in the U.S. and has more than 4.5 million global users. With the launch of the European program, Rally’s payment network will accept Euros and there are plans to expand to the British pound.
“This is all part of our larger vision of empowering what we call the global Cause Economy,” said spokesman Nick Warshaw. “Europeans are focused on their localities, and causes, clubs, individuals, and political parties across Europe are clamoring for a robust, easy-to-use online fundraising solution.
The demand for fundraising channels encouraged Rally to also host Give Camp, which will teach people how to make the most of crowdfunding, and the incubator program, which helps organizations leverage Rally’s platform. For the first initiative, entrepreneurial network Startup Weekend, music resource-sharing company Muzup, and social relocation community G10BALS will join forces to preserve Berlin’s princesses garden Prinzessinnengarten.
This announcement follows Rally’s hefty $7.9 million first venture capital round in June, which it completed online. Investors include Relay Ventures, Mike Maples of Floodgate, Reid Hoffman of Greylock Partners, Kevin Rose of Google Ventures, Tim Ferriss, and Eric Ries. At the time, CEO Tom Serres said the money would support international growth.
Serres initially founded Rally based on the idea that fundraising for a cause is more effective when there is a personal story behind it. After traveling around France, Spain, Germany, and England in 2009, he discovered that people across the pond were interested in how Obama used the internet to raise money, and saw potential for Rally in that market.
On Rally, cause owners create a profile page and can spread awareness, post blog entires, and safe visual content. It also provides analytics to maximize fundraising power. Use cases range from college students raising money for college tuition to massive organizations like the Make-a-Wish Foundation. Rally is headquartered in San Francisco with an office in Berlin.
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