5 questions for ImpactFlow CEO Tyler Foreman


Portland-based startup ImpactFlow recently announced a $5.7 million funding round. CEO and co-founder Tyler Foreman talks about matching businesses with nonprofits, his time at Intel and the changing face of philanthropy.

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Portland-based startup ImpactFlow, a software platform that matches business and nonprofits, recently announced a $5.7 million funding round.

CEO and co-founder Tyler Foreman talks about the new face of philanthropy, his time at Intel and why Portland is great place to launch a startup.

1. What inspired you to start ImpactFlow?

tyler foremanImpactFlow was born from a previous venture aimed at connecting nonprofits to one another.  We have always been passionate about how we can help nonprofits achieve their mission more efficiently.  Even incremental improvements in this area can have massive positive impact in the world and we wanted to apply our combined expertise to help make that happen.

After some experimenting with our initial concept, we realized that the business sector was missing from the equation and that by facilitating collaboration between the business and nonprofit worlds we could make giving back easier and more effective for everyone.  That is what led us down the path that brought us to where we are today.

2. Why match for-profits and nonprofits?

At the end of the day, it’s all about building strong communities that have mutually aligned interest in improving the world around them.  Nonprofits are often the driver of these initiatives, but we believe that they can achieve their goals and accomplish their missions much more efficiently when they partner with businesses that want to help.  These partnerships help raise awareness for the cause and can be very powerful in getting other members of the community more engaged, while providing mutual benefit for both partners.  Our Impact Events are a great example of how this type of partnership can be established and bring multiple stakeholders and members of the community together in support of a nonprofit’s mission in a highly engaged way.

3. You worked at Intel for 3 years. How did that shape your business philosophy?

I loved my time at Intel and really admire how they operate as a business.  Even though my tenure there was relatively short, it had a very strong influence on me and how I have approached running a business.  Something that always stood out to me at Intel is their deep understanding that the strength of the business is directly correlated to the people behind it.  I happened to be there to see both the end of the boom times of the late 90’s and the beginning of a more difficult phase that followed the dot com crash.  Throughout it all, I was impressed that the focus remained on the people and culture.  Building strong teams and treating people with dignity and respect through good and bad was a core value at Intel and this made a big impression on me.

4. What are the pros and cons of launching in Portland?

Launching in Portland has been amazing.  I’m not sure that we would have come this far, this fast if we had remained somewhere like Silicon Valley/San Francisco.  The community has been really supportive of our work and the welcoming, relaxed environment has been a great fit for us.  Openness and collaboration in how we work are very important to the culture we are fostering within the company and Portland has been both very supportive and very receptive to this approach.  

5. How would you describe the changes taking place in individual philanthropy over the past few years?

The model for individual philanthropy is changing rapidly as younger generations, including millennials, are starting to become a larger portion of the population that gives back.  This new class of donors are not interested in the same giving methods as previous generations.  They want more choice, more diversity and a more engaged experience when they give.  They want to see the impact they are helping to create.

We are helping to address these needs with our platform by enabling donors to easily discover new nonprofits to support and engage directly with them on our platform.  On ImpactFlow, individuals can manage all of their giving in one place and also give back in new ways, for example, by attending an event that benefits a cause they care about or shopping at a business that has committed to give back a share of the profits.  They can also receive social updates from the nonprofits and business they support to see the impact they helped create in real time.  This hyper-engaged approach to philanthropy is where we see the entire industry shifting to over the coming years.