Beam Raises $13.3M Series A to Turn Ecommerce Spending Power into Funding for Nonprofits

Beam

Beam partners with more than 100 brands, including Instacart, Roots Canada, and Parade, and 500+ nonprofits to make purchase-driven giving free for consumers while building community and lifting sales for mission-driven brands

Beam Impact, the leading social impact tech company, announced that it has raised $13.3M in Series A funding to help mission-driven ecommerce brands build stronger loyalty by empowering people to make an impact on massive social issues as part of their everyday purchases. Index Ventures led the funding round with participation from previous investors Ulu Ventures and HearstLab as well as strategic angels like Brian Long and Andrew Jones (co-founders of Attentive), and Ruchika Julapalli (Head of Product at Everlane). This brings Beam’s total funding to date to $15.4M.

Beam is on a mission to create what loyalty would look like if it were designed for today’s customers in order to shift $10 billion from brands to high-impact nonprofits. For consumers who feel powerless about daunting social issues, particularly Millennials and Get Z, Beam is a way to make a measurable impact every day. For e-commerce brands facing all-time highs in competition and difficulty standing out amid growing greenwashing, Beam’s platform builds community and lifts loyalty with customers over shared values. To take on these issues, Beam will use funds from this round to aggressively grow its team, expand its network of partners, and deepen its product offering to fully serve brands, nonprofits, and consumers who want to make a difference.

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Beam is on a mission to create what loyalty would look like if it were designed for today’s customers in order to shift $10 billion from brands to high-impact nonprofits.”

A New Way to Make an Impact: How Beam Works

Beam’s B2B2C model lets customers discover mission-driven brands through the free Beam app, and make an impact directly while checking out with the Beam ecommerce integration. Beam pairs partner brands with vetted nonprofits reflecting their values and lets customers choose a nonprofit while checking out, where the brand donates part of their purchase at no extra cost.

The Beam platform provides real-time transparency at every point in the consumer journey into how the customer’s dollars are going towards tangible goals, like funding 100 hours of free therapy for Queer and Trans teens in their area. As customers become progressively more invested in helping organizations reach their goals, they concentrate more of their spending with brands on Beam. Beam’s platform has already demonstrated that it drives a 15% lift in average order value, an 11% improvement in conversion, and a 30% lift in quarterly order frequency for partner brands.

“At Hanky Panky, uplifting women has been core to who we are since 1977,” said Stephanie Thrasher, Associate Director of Ecommerce at Hanky Panky. “Working with Beam has enabled us to make that commitment tangible to customers and allows our community to visualize how they’re part of something meaningful with every order— it makes them want to order from us more and more.”

Beam has already closed partnerships with more than 100 leading brands, such as Instacart, Roots Canada, and Parade. It has also partnered with over 500 nonprofits in the last year. By providing the technology and connective tissue between brands, consumers, and nonprofits, tremendous outcomes have been achieved, like funding more than 5 million meals for families experiencing food insecurity, preventing over 1 million pounds of CO2 emissions, and more. As impact becomes a bigger part of users’ everyday lives, 70% go on to support nonprofits they discovered through the Beam platform with their own time, money, and voice.

“We created Beam to connect people anxious to make a bigger impact every day with brands who have the resources and intent to,” said Viveka Hulyalkar, CEO and Co-founder of Beam. “When we use our spending power to make brands ‘walking the walk’ win, we create accountability for others to be like them—especially as competition in ecommerce is at an all-time high and consumers demand more of the companies they choose to do business with. The private sector is not a silver bullet to complex problems like racial inequity or climate change, but by using it to drive tremendous resources to grassroots organizations, we can create lasting change at scale.”

In addition to distributing far greater resources to local organizations who can put money to work directly where it’s needed most, Beam also builds unique awareness for nonprofits through its platform. “I was stunned when Beam reached out — their offer was so good that I even wondered if it was legit,” noted Len Proper, Executive Director of the Military Veterans Resource Center. “Rather than just providing corporate donations, partnerships like the one they’ve facilitated with Instacart are increasing awareness of food insecurity among veterans in central Ohio on a larger scale by getting customers involved at the point of purchase. Our partnership with Beam and Instacart has helped us expand our operations beyond central Ohio to help veterans and their families across the entire state.”

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The Right Team

Beam was co-founded by Hulyalkar and Alex Sadhu, both members of Forbes 30 Under 30 list who have deep experience in social impact. For example, at age 15, Hulyalkar started a nonprofit where she secured sponsorship from the NBA to install $1 million of solar panels in local schools, which made her realize that brands she loved were investing tremendous amounts of money in issues that she cared about that she previously had no awareness of. Later as a consultant at McKinsey, she worked with retail brands struggling to hang onto customers as traditional retention was failing. It was in this role that she found the inspiration to create Beam with Sadhu.

Sadhu was an early engineer at Tinder, where she worked on the iOS team developing many new features. Prior to Tinder, she worked in student leadership for mental health and children’s literacy nonprofits, as well as working at the Office of Sustainability at Tufts University, giving her insight into how software could be used to connect nonprofits with new partners and resources to have an even greater impact.

“We are so excited to partner with Viveka, Alex, and the Beam team for many reasons,” said Damir Becirovic, partner at Index Ventures. “We believe Beam is representative of a unique business that is becoming the connective tissue between for-profit businesses and nonprofits. It’s clear that Beam represents a rare win-win-win between consumers, brands, and nonprofits. Consumers are able to direct donations to causes they find important, businesses generate a stronger connection with their customers, and nonprofits increase their impact on society. Beam has innovated on a seamless product and a fair business model that has allowed the company to now power giving for iconic brands like Instacart and others. We believe it’s only a matter of time before Beam is ubiquitous across all ecommerce transactions.”

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