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September 13, 2019

Mobile app leverages technology to streamline the volunteer experience

Bloomington, Ind. — Elevate Ventures has made its first Community Ideation Fund investment within the Velocities region to Civic Champs, in Bloomington. Civic Champs is a social enterprise that makes volunteering a frictionless experience for volunteers and nonprofits. It aims to streamline volunteer management, so service organizations spend less time on manual clerical tasks.

The CEO, Geng Wang, started the company with Michael Jeffery and Ryan Underdahl in February of 2019. Civic Champs’ initial product is a mobile app that automates volunteer hour tracking with geofencing technology — a virtual geographic boundary defined by GPS. The technology triggers a notification when a volunteer’s mobile device enters or leaves an area. The nonprofit collects the information to keep track of volunteer hours.

With a staff of four full-time employees, Civic Champs supports 23 nonprofits. Wang hopes to have as many as 200 nonprofits using its model within 18 months. He plans to build out a more robust platform to automate each part of the volunteer experience, including tools for scheduling, onboarding and tracking waivers. The team also plans to incorporate leaderboards and competitions to get more volunteers engaged.

Garnering a great deal of local support, Civic Champs has raised a total of $312,000, including the funding from Elevate. Of that total, $70,000 came from local investors.

“The Community Ideation Fund means a lot to us. At a high level, it reflects the support the region has for startups like Civic Champs,” says Wang. “Knowing that there are local capital sources that believe in us, and our idea, gives us further confidence to continue pursuing our vision.”

Under the Community Ideation Fund, each partnership region has access to up to $200,000 over the next three years through the state’s 21st Century Research and Technology Fund, which is overseen by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation and promotes economic growth and innovation-driven public-private partnerships in Indiana.

Cindy Frey, president of the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce said, “Civic Champs’ pitch to the Velocities investment committee was outstanding. If this is any indication of the type of companies we can launch from the Bloomington/Columbus region, then this partnership is going to be very successful.”