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Wells Fargo Startup Accelerator joins $8.7 million round in philanthropic wealth platform Amicus

Source: Amicus

Amicus.io, the fintech company behind the philanthropic platform for DAF 2.0, today announced that it has raised $8.7M in series B funding from mission-driven investors in philanthropic and banking sectors hailing from the US and Canada.

The round was led by The FR Group, a Vancouver-based family office. Wells Fargo Startup Accelerator also joined the round as a new investor. In addition to funding, Amicus is launching its DAF 2.0 platform, a white label solution designed for consumer banks, to the benefit of private bank divisions, digital wealth management, wealth managers and asset managers as well the entire philanthropic community.

Savvy philanthropists have been turning to donor-advised funds (DAFs) at a tremendous rate, with an 86 percent increase in contributions to DAFs in the last five years, totaling $37.12 B in 2018 - with $121.42B in assets under management, according to the 2019 Donor-Advised Funds Report from the National Philanthropic Trust (NPT)1. Traditionally used for the large-scale philanthropic donations of family foundations and high net worth individuals, DAFs have been late to the digital transformation seen in mainstream investment options like online-only stock portfolio management.

Increasing demand for DAF flexibility, like lower minimums and the ability to make smaller grants to charities, has been driven by sponsors of new DAF accounts, which have jumped by more than 50% in the last couple of years thanks in part to favorable regulatory changes.

Experts anticipate a spike in demand for DAFs with the introduction of user-friendly online tools that make it easier to contribute to and grant donations from DAF accounts - putting DAF market projections at $1Trillion in the next 10 years, based on current growth rates and a move to meet demand for flexibility by modernizing the financial instrument, which is more than ninety years old.1

DAF 2.0 Platform for the Consumer Banking Customer

Conditions are prime for the Amicus DAF 2.0 platform, which lets consumer banks increase assets under management with an enterprise-ready charitable giving solution that integrates seamlessly within their existing online bank experience.

Built on legacy systems and dependent on manual processing, the conventional DAF has historically only been accessible to high net worth individuals and institutions through private banks and wealth management firms.

More recently, the largest commercial DAF sponsors have offered more flexible DAF options - even reducing account minimums. The Amicus DAF 2.0 platform dramatically improves the economics of the DAF with a fully automated and integrated backend, making it cost effective for consumer banks to offer a self-directed DAF to customers for the first time.

The white label DAF 2.0 platform lets institutions offer customers a beautifully easy and gratifying self-directed approach to philanthropic giving in a simple three phase process. All from within the bank’s branded environment, the DAF 2.0 platform will allow customers to:

a variety of assets, including seamless transfer of cash, securities, with payments options from virtually any account (cash deposit accounts, credit cards, traditional DAFs)

in white-labeled investment pools, including institutional mutual funds, managed accounts, ETFs, selecting from a drop-down list and adjusting asset allocation with a single click

donate to more than 1.8M US non-profits and philanthropic organizations, with the ability to easily search by name, location, category and the ability to discover new charities by type of cause (wildlife protection, for example).

The DAF 2.0 platform will support sophisticated asset management and provide full transparency into the status and flow of assets along each phase of the investment, liquidation and grant-making process. Customers receive automatically generated tax receipts for up to the minute accuracy of documentation, a real-time view into net asset value and the ability to easily add or change beneficiaries and successors.

Ultimately, Amicus plans to extend the DAF 2.0 to include non-profit organizations, enabling them to share stories, and updates on the impact of donations back to customers who have made donations through the DAF 2.0 platform and even post projects that need grant funding. An immersive giving experience will deepen connections between donors and the charities they support, creating a virtuous cycle of feedback to keep customers engaged and inspired to continue giving. Amicus will be rolling out the first branded implementation of the DAF 2.0 platform in partnership with a leading global financial institution in Q4 2020.

“Amicus and the DAF 2.0 platform is our answer to making the world a more generous place,” said Walt Ruloff, founder and chairman of Amicus. “By lowering the barrier to entry with a highly cost efficient consumer-oriented DAF, we set a ripple effect in motion that will impact the entire philanthropic community, paying dividends to each party involved. Consumer banks play a key role in democratizing access to a modernized DAF, and will finally get in on one of the most trusted and proven tools for philanthropic giving.”

“We understand deeply that when people donate to a cause, they want to actually make a difference. Today’s philanthropists expect transparency, whether they’re in the 1 percent or the 99 percent,” said Cor Hoekstra, co-founder and CEO of Amicus.io. “The DAF 2.0 platform puts consumer banks at the heart of a strategic move to empower motivated donors at scale, to the benefit of all.”

Amicus.io was founded by Walt Ruloff and Cor Hoekstra, supply chain innovators whose business success in the early 2000s provided the impetus to put serious attention on philanthropic work. After an extensive and heart-wrenching exploration of the nonprofit ecosystem, the two were determined to bring better resources to the philanthropic community, including enterprise-grade efficiency and digital infrastructure. More than twenty years of research and development later, they are introducing the DAF 2.0 platform, to serve as a pivot point for a paradigm shift across philanthropy. The DAF 2.0 platform aligns the incentives of donors, financial institutions and philanthropic organizations toward charitable giving at scale.

Amicus is a graduate of the Wells Fargo Startup Accelerator, a fully virtual six-month program focused on helping early-stage startups learn what it takes to break into the Fortune 500 marketplace and the financial services vertical market. Amicus also participated in the Charlotte-based QC Fintech Accelerator, which provides member companies access to world class mentors, capital and financial service organizations. Amicus completed a successful SOC II Type II compliance audit in mid 2020 and announced the addition of CTO, Raja Musunuru.

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