Startup Spotlight: Underdog Funding

Underdog funding is fast, effective fundraising for youth sports. With school sports losing more and more funding each year, Underdog Funding has taken fundraising online and offers a digital alternative to sending kids door to door. While the cost of playing sports continues to rise, many kids are no longer able to take advantage of…

Underdog Funding

Underdog funding is fast, effective fundraising for youth sports. With school sports losing more and more funding each year, Underdog Funding has taken fundraising online and offers a digital alternative to sending kids door to door.

While the cost of playing sports continues to rise, many kids are no longer able to take advantage of the positive effect of playing team sports because they can’t afford to “pay to play.” Underdog Funding gives programs the opportunity to create an online profile, share why they need the funding, reach out to family and friends through email and give them the chance to support the program online.

Founded:

In August 2013 by Megan Newton

Where the Idea Came From:

The idea for Underdog Funding came to Megan through a friend that was coaching a cross country team. The friend told her they were selling frozen pizzas to raise money. The plan had many flaws and on top of that, the pizzas were disgusting. So, Megan decided there had to be a better way. This simple realization got the ball rolling.

Problem She’s Solving:

There were already a lot of product based solutions, and Megan knew there were a lot of people that wanted to support school sports. The problem was, these people did not necessarily want to buy the products being offered.

Besides that, the companies offering these solutions often would take up to 60% of the profits from the school raising the money, while Underdog only takes 5%.

With school budgets decreasing each year, and sports programs losing 3.5 billion in funding, schools are constantly in need of resources and money, and the solutions being offered just weren’t cutting it. It was a constant battle.

What has she learned that surprised her?

The target audience, schools that need funding and those that want to support them, isn’t as tech savvy as Megan anticipated. Doing business online is still scary to some people and it’s taking a little longer for people to warm up to the idea of fundraising online.

Megan is working to solve this problem by offering to set up everything for the programs if they don’t feel comfortable doing it themselves.

Funding:

Megan took Underdog Funding and pitched at the very first Hatching, and while she didn’t win, the company got noticed and secured funding through LEAP.

The Future:

The goal right now is to target Michigan sports programs. In a year Megan would like brand recognition in state, and to be able to expand to other states in 3 years. She would eventually like to expand nationally.

Advice:

“Seek mentors. Building relationships with more experienced people is incredibly important,” says Megan. Also; “Be flexible with your vision and constantly be evaluating what’s working and what’s not.” She says it’s important to be willing to change direction based on opportunities.

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