RAZ Mobile launches looking to help nonprofits fundraise via mobile web
Today marks the launch of RĀZ Mobile, an Overland Park, Kan. startup dedicated to helping nonprofits and other causes raise money via mobile web pages.
As we reported about a year ago, the company raised $150,000 from local angels last August. Founder Dale Knoop said RĀZ Mobile closed on a second angel round in April 2012, bringing the total investment to $225,000.
The idea for RĀZ Mobile came from a conversation Knoop and his advisor, Brad Kropf, had with a faith-based organization interested in processing donations from churchgoers in real-time.
“Myself and my advisor, Brad Kropf, kind of put that away as a seed," Knoop said. "And as it turns out the seed had a lot of potential."
Knoop (left) said individual donations are currently dominated by direct mail, which can be expensive and is less likely to generate new donors.
“This space is being completely underserved by technology," he said. "Right now, (nonprofits) are relying on carrier-based SMS solutions. But carriers can take up to 50 percent of that, and the money isn’t going to directly to the cause.”
With RĀZ Mobile, any cause interested in fundraising can visit RĀZMobile.com and create an account. That allows the user to build a mobile website. The fundraising effort can also share the website via Facebook, Twitter, QR codes and text messages. Each web page has a donate button that allows anyone to give via credit card, with the option to have their information stored for future donations.
The service is $29 a month with no contract, and RĀZ Mobile collects 6 percent of the processed donations. The sites are designed for mobile phones but are viewable on desktop web browsers and tablet devices. Knoop said the company plans to revise the display and layout of the sites when viewed on larger devices.
Knoop is currently the only person working full-time on RĀZ Mobile after leaving his job with Sprint, where he worked on Sprint TV.
“We’re trying to raise capital to change that to three people full time,” he said.
RĀZ Mobile opted to go the mobile website route rather than use native apps because with apps, Knoop said, usage “falls off a cliff” after download. “Mobile app creation is expensive, and it doesn’t really give you the opportunity, at least the platforms I’ve seen, to control the content you’re putting up,” he said.
Knoop said he has a four-page document of improvements for RĀZ Mobile. He hopes to add functionality like a rewards system for donors, a feature allowing corporations to match donations and a way to incorporate celebrities and sports figures into helping a cause.
“People won’t feel like an ATM anymore,” Knoop said. “They want to be thanked and involved. There’s no real better way than to involve them through their mobile phone.”
For more information on how RAZ Mobile works, watch this short video below.