February 2022 Investor AMA
This video was recorded during an exclusive Q&A session for OpenGrants investors. Sedale dove into our product roadmap, key partnerships, the market, and more. This is a glimpse into deeper company insights and transparent thoughts on the future of OpenGrants.
About the Speaker
Sedale Turbovsky, Co-Founder & CEO, OpenGrants
Sedale Turbovsky is the CEO and co-founder of OpenGrants, a venture-backed startup focused on building modern infrastructure for funding. He has been an entrepreneur since childhood. After honing his leadership skills as an outdoor guide in his younger years, he started his professional career as an independent consultant focused on delivering data products and digital strategies to enterprise clients in South America. He is experienced in independent grant writing and public/private partnerships at the highest level, having worked directly with OpenGrants’ current strategic partner, Momentum.
Read the Transcription
Please note, this transcription is automatically generated and may contain some spelling and contextual errors.
I spent about seven years of my career as a management consultant in the public sector space and worked with a team. And ultimately we managed about $5 billion in grant funded projects. Over the course of that time, I worked in places like Argentina. I spent some time in Europe as well, and really just developed a deep appreciation for the altruistic and really impactful nature of grant funding. So grant funding as a source of capital, I feel is the most important source of capital out there because it is non-dilutive, it doesn’t require repayment.
And typically speaking, unlike unlike loans and other sources of capital. The outcomes from grants are frequently impact based. So they’re talking about how many people you can serve or what sort of change you can bring about. It’s really great funding for economic development and for other impact driven activities around the world.
And in fact, there’s about $2 trillion of kind of grant and aid format money that moves around the globe. In a normal year in the kind of pandemic world, that number is actually has been significantly increased, but in, like 2019, I quote unquote normal year, there was about $2 trillion that moved around.
And the unfortunate fact of the ecosystem around grant funding is that it really just know. Massively inefficient, where you have about 30% of this money that is just not arriving where it’s supposed to is getting misused. Worst case scenario is getting misused and best case scenario is just getting burnt up and bad bureaucratic process with bureaucratic fumbling and just general sort of poor systems and processes.
And that creates a really unfortunate kind of environment and mismatch of capabilities, right? Because on the one hand, All of these folks were doing anything from running hospitals to researching cancer, to developing next generation technologies for the military. And they’re all trying to work with government and private philanthropy to really bring about these transformative transformational changes to society.
And on the other side of the table, you have all these people who are trying to deploy capital. But because of the legacy, ecosystems and legacy tools that they work with, they simply don’t have the capability to really do it quickly and efficiently. And so you have incredible lags in terms of development of new technology.
You have real problematic application processes that gate out And really making it difficult for certain communities to access, to funding. And then you just have, outright fraudsters who also take advantage of these systems and and actively exploit the problem for their own gain.
And so there’s a whole range of problematic things in this space, as I worked with all that and watch that ecosystem evolve and worked in that ecosystem for a long time. I really just became really passionate at a very basic level just general inefficiency bothers me a lot.
The fact that a lot of my taxes go into this very inefficient system is also frustrating and problematic. And then from a moral and values level there’s also just a, a problem there in terms of just, Giving people, resources and opportunities to keep things moving along.
So really that’s what we are. That’s the problem that we are looking to address is how do we make this system equitable, efficient, and accessible for more folks so that we can drive a kind of net value to the ecosystem at large. And so I’m going to go ahead and share my screen. And for those of you joining us, I’m really excited to get into this.
As I mentioned a little bit earlier, we are recording this session, so we’re excited to be able to provide that. So the other investors and we also have it is open. So basically if you want to unmute and do you have a question, feel free to interrupt me at any time? If you want to if you want to just run your video, that’s also great if you want it to be seen or to engage that way.
And then you can also feel free to ask any questions in the chat. We’ve been building an open grants. We incorporated open grants in late 2018, and we were lucky enough to be able to raise a friends and family round and start to do some initial testing. And then over the last few years, we have learned some incredible lessons about how to address this space.
What people in this space are looking for and really what kind of actions we should take as a company in order to. Build something very valuable for everyone in this area. And so the kind of these lessons learned here that I’ve outlined, I think are the chief and kind of primary levers that we’re starting to pull on as we start to scale up and work to close out the fundraise as well.
The first big lesson that we figured out along the way is that really the product that we’re delivering to most folks is data and in some format or another. Users who are on our platform, who are, using the tool to find information. Of course they’re engaging with the platform itself, which is part of that product.
But the core thing that we are delivering to them is data. And what they do with it, starts to make that journey from what we do with it in the platform, starts to help take that data from like data to actual kind of actionable information. But frequently. The data in this space is so disparate and diverse and the information that you start to glean as you start to make, take actionable steps with that data is so like diverse as well.
The core product that we’re really focused on at open grants is data and that’s for a few reasons. But one of the big ones that I am very excited about and that we’ve started working on is the opportunity that we have to work with other folks to address specific verticals. And to your point, Paul, hospitals and the, like the Medicare and Medicaid system has a very specific need with grant funding that is massively different from economic development or from research and development or from, homelessness.
And there’s, there’s a huge spectrum of needs here. And so our ability to deliver. Via APIs via those automatic platform, integrations has really improved our not only our kind of potential to generate revenue, but also our ability to engage the market because the thing the communication Issue at the core of all of this has been, as we were building the company, like, all right how are we going to like support entrepreneurs?
And at the same time, talk to like hospitals and governments and enterprise folks. And there’s just so much to address if we want to tackle this space. And so what we’ve started to do is build integrations with radically aligned partners, where we actually delivered data via our API. A great example is we’re working with GTI.
And w working with their portfolio company and , they’re publicly traded. They have a huge footprint, and we are integrating with their platform in order to deliver data to, an entire. Which is really exciting. So there’s about 400 cities that will be using our data. And they won’t necessarily be accessing it through our platform, but they will be accessing it via our API and in a similar vein.
So they’re they’re in the government vertical in a similar vein, we’ve partnered with the R two and the responder network and they support the emergency response, like the emergency services PR community. So think police and fire and. You know that group of service providers that you might run into.
And so that’s a really exciting opportunity for us to partner with a whole other vertical, and they’ve already done all the work to build the content and the messaging to attract that community. So we don’t have to worry about doing that kind of like user growth and user acquisition activity.
And instead we can simply partner with them and deliver our product via an integration into that entire ecosystem. And so all of a sudden we can have 35,000 users. Immediately, as soon as that integration goes live. So that’s a really exciting part of the kind of result of that first lesson that we learned around, around data.
But if anyone does have any questions, feel free to interrupt me, but I’m gonna run them through these lessons here. Just to paint a picture of where we are and where we’re headed so that, data being the product has been a big focus for us. And it’s allowed us to really streamline all the activities where we are engaged in on a daily basis as a team.
And that kind of, goes to our second lesson learned here, which is that any actions that we’re taking in terms of business development, new hires strategic partnerships, investment looking for good investment partners, all of this. To serve the mission of increasing quality of the data that we have and the quantity of the data that we have because, and leads segues directly into our third question or our third point here, which is that, we know that trust in this space is really the key and generally, trust it, we’ve we find is like a really important principle and key principle in building out your business.
Of course, and specifically when it is related to. This really important resource, which is funding, which is effectively the lifeblood of many of the organizations that are going to be using grant funding. And so all of our focus and our drive has turned towards this sort of singular point of, we need to improve the quality and quantity of data on the platform.
And finally, all of this culminates in this last point, which is we want to turn this boring headache, inducing, terrible experience into a joyful one. And the comparison we like to drive is that as many of Zillow is like this very, it’s become this very popular platform for how shopping and people there’s even been ads and like pop culture references to it of just people like, just go on Zillow and spend.
On Zillow, just for fun. And if you go back a few years before Zillow existed, you can, he can look at MLS and some of the housing databases that existed prior, and those were just, they just weren’t fun. There were, there was nothing fun about that. It was annoying and grueling and it was a terrible process and it was really probably.
For folks. And Zillow turned this really terrible experience into something that people just love. Like they just like to go on Zillow for fun. And maybe people aren’t going to just go check out grants for fun, maybe, but maybe they will. And that’s the really exciting prospect that we have in front of us is turning, like injecting joy and hope into this process.
So instead of this being like a daunting experience for you. You show up to grants.gov, for example, and you start searching. That’s just awful. Like it, the user experience is terrible. Then you can’t understand a thing on the site. And then when you actually do find something, if you’re lucky enough to have found something, you click and it’s just more terrible things like it just is increasingly hard.
As you get farther down the pipe, it doesn’t ever get easier. You don’t ever get to see that like light at the end of the time, just bad all the way. So our vision with open grants is to turn this terrible experience into a really joyful, hopeful one that folks can find a good foothold. They can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
And a lot of that comes from. To go back to the data thing. A lot of that comes from two things. One is making the search process easy and quick and efficient. And, as we’re working to roll out some of these search lists experiences, that’s been a big, a big. Thing that we’re working towards.
But also just connecting people to people who know the space. And that was one of my unique experiences. Working at momentum is that I got to touch a lot of these programs and go really deep on quite a few of them as well. And if you sit down with someone like myself, who’s spent years in this space, literally.
They can pretty quickly tell you where to find money, where not to find money. Who’s interesting. And who’s going to deploy capital and who’s maybe a bad target or someone who’s not a good fit. And a lot of that institutional knowledge. That just comes from, experience is a really hard thing to automate, but it is something that exists within the marketplace that we’ve set up.
And that’s why we have both the grant search engine to look at actually helping people find opportunities. And we have that. That, that grant expert, that talent marketplace, as we call it where we’ve gone through and curated the consultants that you need to navigate both government as well as foundation programs, which can be equally bureaucratic and and equally dense.
So that in itself is something that we’re continuing. And I’d say about 90% of our efforts, just go into kind of optimizing the experience on both sides of the table there, where. Just really focused on improving that experience, making it joyful and hopeful and helping people find that some information along the way, but also that like human connection that they can make that will help them drive a lot of the, what is effectively.
There’s a lot of relationship based kind of outcomes in the grant world for better or for worse. And so that aspect of building those relationships, getting introduced to the people you need to be introduced to it’s. In this space. So those are some of the lessons like that’s, three years and quite a bit of work distilled into some key points that really are, continuing to drive user growth and revenues.
So that’s been exciting to to work through all of that with the team and get to where we are now.
Any questions from anyone on any of that stuff?
Alright, not seeing any questions, but I will, I’ll keep going then. And this is probably, what we’re really excited about obviously is the future. And, we’re just getting started here for sharing and we’ll, we’ve learned a lot. We’ve got an incredible team. There were only three of us when we started. And only two of them were full-time, and now we are now we’re here. We have a great team of eight with a few other contractors. And so just really excited to be where we are and to have the incredible investments and support of our investor community.
And to be scaling up into what we see as really an incredible. Multi-billion dollar, trillion dollar opportunity for OpenGrants and the future that we’re working towards, I think is the most exciting thing. And I’ve described it several times as similar to how these kinds of how loans work over Stripe.
First let’s talk about what grants look like right now. So right now, a grant application Is a bit garbage in terms of process. And there’s a lot of data that also says that not only is this process really garbage, but it doesn’t actually help you make good decisions. So there’s plenty of data that suggests that once you’ve weeded out from.
And direct sort of like fraudulent applications that the way that people are deciding to award grants now works with about the same as having cats pick like the awardees in terms of just outcomes and generating impact. And so this is, there’s a massive efficiency problem. And. Key to solving these issues as has been shown time and time again in the business world is, Hey, let’s, let’s use data, let’s make data-driven decisions and then we can optimize and create better outcomes.
And so how open grants achieves this is an, a pretty unique and innovative way. So we are working on establishing single on chain identity. That would allow folks to upload a single application instead of having a, having to put all of your paperwork and apply at one agency and then go apply at another agency with slightly different paperwork and then go apply the third foundation with slightly different paperwork.
Because right now there’s no standardization within the system. As we seek to first organize and standardize this ecosystem, that leads to a future where as one standards are established, you can actually make. Really good data-driven decisions. And so our first step of course, is just organizing this space and that’s what we’re doing with the marketplace and with the grant search engine, as we start to bring on the community of grant seekers we start to onboard via the marketplace, the community and cottage industry of grant writers and consultants and other service providers in this space.
And then on, on a third side, we start to attract. The actual grand tours, the people who are deploying all this capital and as that ecosystem starts to get organized, our next focus is really standardizing things for these folks. So helping them understand that, Hey, maybe forcing a early stage startup to submit 120.
Through a portal that breaks every weekend is maybe not an efficient way to connect with entrepreneurs or, maybe burdening down researchers and the hospital staff for the grant that requires an actual staff person full-time to manage is not efficient. And these are the real problems that exist right now where, we have researchers who are spending 40% of their careers, literally 40% of their careers just doing.
Grant related activities in terms of administration and management of the opportunity. And then also having to go out and find more grant funding to drive their research forward. Imagine the efficiency that could be created just the efficiency alone is really attractive here. Instead of having 30% of awards go to go to administration, we could have, one person.
I could go to the administrative fees and we could have, 99% of that actual award be used to cure cancer or how’s the homeless or build the next, great tech for energy efficiency or some other thing like that. So we talk about capital efficiency a lot here, that’s one of the big issues that we’re solving.
So once again, bringing some standardization to that entire process. And then ultimately in the future, what we’d like to do is actually take that money and move it on to our network as well. And actually manage those transactions. And we envision it happening a lot. Right now, if you use a provider like QuickBooks or.
They’re always looking at your money. They know exactly what’s going on with your company because they can see your phone. They know exactly what’s going on financially with your company. At least I can always see your financials. And so there’s a really great trustless relationship there.
And then, what they do is they say their algorithm tells them all right these financials look like this, let’s loan them 20 grand. Let’s send them a hundred grand and here’s all the terms and they just spit it out. You get an email and they say, Hey, we’re going to give you a hundred grand.
Here’s the terms. And if you decide to accept that money shows up the next day and. And then, payments just come out automatically. And so it’s such an exciting concept and that’s, that’s how, loans have evolved over, over the last decade to be that instead of having to get your paperwork together and trot off to the bank and find someone to fund you.
You can just work with your, payments processor and they will loan you money. And they know exactly like their risk is managed and your risk is managed and it’s a really, generates much better outcomes. And we see the opportunity to create that for grant funding as well, where there’d be single applications, there would be opportunities to continuously update that application profile.
With your with your data, whether that’d be research or impact numbers, or however you record all that information. And then grand tours would be able to then deploy capital. And I do see a hand there. Bryce, go ahead. Hi. Thank you. Can you hear me okay? Yes. Okay. I just want to make sure I’m a lover.
What you’re saying by the way, the you were talking about bringing up. Hope enjoyed to headache inducing process. You’re playing my song and loving that and loving your vision for the future. Had a question about the standardization that you’re talking about is that, are you, or are you including in that the federal grant processing the, because that is a nightmare 18 different websites and.
Or you have the guidelines the the timetables and the close outs, and you’re talking, 30% of the funds go into an administrative person. So are you including that into the string learning through. Standardization. Yeah. The federal government is one of our core targets for sure.
It’s worth noting that the federal government, as I’m sure everyone knows, does not move quickly. Necessarily however, one of the exciting things, and I think this is one of the reasons that this is such a timely opportunity is that the federal government has with everyone else around the world, just experienced this really interesting catastrophe in the form of the pandemic.
And it has. Really motivated them in a way that I’ve never seen in my career. And that, some of my colleagues who have maybe a bit more experience, I’ve also never seen in terms of just spending money and investing in solutions. It really did highlight the just the problematic aspects.
Of the fact that they’ve lagged so far behind in terms of technology an inability to provide parody in terms of experience, in terms of providing services to citizens and the like and to also just put a new it really did shine a new light on just how terribly inefficient they are in general.
And so it has, there’s been more procurement activity over the last few quarters. There has been a ton of discussion about new technologies. One of the, I believe the CIO of the NSF. Actually brought up, using blockchain to maybe centralized or decentralized or improve their application process a bit.
So there’s an appetite there that hasn’t been there before, and we do have also, we just have some excellent partners and advisors who, helped us push that agenda forward. So yeah, there’s, it’s definitely on our roadmap and we’re very interested in. Addressing the federal government but also under no illusions about the speed at which that will probably move.
And so we have other markets as well that we are focused on. But it’s one that we are certainly very engaged with at the moment. In fact. Yeah, no great question. Any other questions along that vein or otherwise from the group.
Alright, no worries. I will keep on keeping on here. So to the to the point of Standardizing the process first. That’s a lot of what we’re focused on right now, of course, is, making a central place where you can go and find grants and find grant writers and consultants who can help you move through that process.
And so what we do now is we have cracked a big sort of data engineering problem of collecting all of the grant data from around the United States. We focused primarily on federal state and state government. There’s probably a bit of a long tail of additional grant funding that we’re looking to collect on that sprint.
And then we are also working on and in some initial discussions with people like Camden, who had a bit of a. Dataset than we knew around the fountain, the world of foundations and private philanthropy and corporate giving. So that’s what we’re engaged in now. And it’s, we’re just headlong deep in that process.
But one of the really exciting things that we are working on is we have a few proof of concept projects that we are working on with with the stacks foundation. We have some initial discussions going with the stellar foundation as well, and a few other private foundations where we’re physically moving their funding onto.
Our networks that we’re building out so that they can deploy those grants more efficiently. And so you’ll be seeing some news about that in the coming quarter, but we’re very excited about that because it’s a little baby step, but it is the first step to really standardizing this process entirely.
And it is worth noting in an exciting. On Bryce’s point that we actually have made some really good inroads. And we have some great relationships with several federal agencies that are deeply interested in the future kind of vision that we’re building out because. Of not only the pandemic, but also just generally the inefficiencies that exist, where basically they’re just tired of losing a bunch of money every time they send it over overseas or to other people.
Which is it’s nice to see. Overall, as we think about how all of this kind of translates to revenue and actual business a couple of the places that we see really making a lot of money first and foremost are around the actual enterprise. Sales of these API. So we’ve found a lot of customers who are deeply interested in the data itself and they want to integrate it into their platform for one reason or another.
And we do forecast that will be about 90% of our revenue is actually these integrations that we’re building out. We also do plan on charging a small fee to folks who move money onto our platform. At right around 1%. So if we can generate a 30% efficiency improvement and then we’re just taking 1% of that, it’s a a pretty good deal for our clients.
And so that we see as another revenue generating opportunity. And then of course we do have some really exciting stuff coming out in terms of our ability to. Really go deep on AI and machine learning to match grants and do evaluations of not only doing the matching, but also evaluations of compatibility, as well as competence scores, where we can show people, Hey, here’s 10 grants that really fit your profile.
But these two you’re going to be really competitive for, then you should focus on. ’cause of how they’ve performed in the past. And so we are currently not only looking at the data engineering around what’s out there and currently available, but also capturing past performance of grant programs and doing analysis of those applications and those applicants in order to generate some intelligence for those who are looking for funding.
And this kind of goes back to that kind of core idea of, Hey, let’s make sure that we. All of the data and that we have really high quality versions of that data. And then how do we inject, joined to the process? So one of the things that I always that I see people struggle with all the time is, oh, okay.
I’ve, here’s five grants. How do I figure out which one to spend time on? Because I only have. And, mostly because it’s a really terrible process, but I only have time to put one application together and put this one grant. And so how do I decide where to spend my time and as a consultant, it’s actually not it’s not a hard thing to figure that out on someone’s behalf.
So we’re really excited. That frequently just involves a lot of kind of grant work. And so we’re looking to inject like joy and optimized process, not only for grant seekers, but also for consultants themselves that they could already, they already know like, all right you want to spend time on NSF SVIR program.
And now as a consultant, I can say, all right this is where you want to spend your time and I can help you do the strategic and deeply qualitative. That a consultant should be doing. And I can forget about all of the research work that normally I’d like, myself as a consultant, that’s stuff that I’d farm out to an intern or like some kind of junior analyst.
So our vision here is not only to improve the experience. Great seekers but also for the consultants and ultimately for the grand tours as well, because at the end of the day, we know that government doesn’t like those civil servants. They don’t want to Wade through a bunch of bad applications.
They’d rather read 10 really great applications and decide to fund five of them. And they’d like to do that quickly and efficiently. And so by improving the interchange of data and by driving more efficiencies, using basic kind of marketplace principles of ensuring that. The person who wants the thing over here is finding the person who needs the thing over here and that they’re getting connected quickly.
And itself, we’ll just generally improve a lot of the things that happen within the grant funding space. And so we’re taking those first steps now. We’re also, about 10%, especially of our CTO’s time is spent on really going deep on those kinds of future proof of concepts.
And we’ll be rolling those out and generating a lot of learnings from those. So we’re very excited about that future. And. We are taking some really cool steps as well. To just build more community and learn more from folks who have a lot of experience in this space. And one of the ways we’re doing that is with the leaf under raised.
And so it’s been really great. And we hope that you’ll all continue to be engaged. As we continue to build open grants and tell this story because frankly, this is where we learn the most is from, talking to people who use the platform, talking to people who have a vested interest in seeing things improve for one reason or another in this.
And so as we continue to standardize, as we work towards a kind of standard process here your inputs and feedback will be really critical to making that happen. Yeah. Thank you, really genuinely for not only for engaging and for finding this, something that was compelling to invest in, but also for for being here and being involved.
And as you get emails and information from us, definitely let us know if you have feedback and thoughts because that’s, one of the key things that we’ve done over the last three years to help us get to where we are now is really learning. I just want to talk a bit about the product and, definitely feel free to raise your hands or chat up.
But There’s a few things that kind of, we see as driving the adoption of this product itself and making it making it really useful. And the first one is, how do we really create a joyful grant searching experience? So can we include things like, swiping to match with grants and can we leverage AI and machine learning to drive really that like that, fun dopamine focused experience like, Ooh, this is some instant gratification that time to value is really clear.
So we’re, frequently we’re focused on collapsing that experience as much as possible to provide really good outcomes to users quickly and efficiently. And. In terms of our product, that’s going really well. We’ve just pushed a big UX and UI update to the platform itself. And I think, many of you have seen our brand refresh as well, so that’s come up, that’s come a long way, and we’re very excited about it.
And we’re very open to any feedback you all might have about how the platform looks and feels. Because this is really. Once again, if we can inject joy and hope into this space, we’re going to be like light years ahead of every one of our competitors and anyone else who’s doing things in this area because frankly it, the reality of it is, even the best kind of even our closest competitors, like turbo SBI, our instrument.
They do an okay job of surfacing grants for people. And that they’re like grant aggregators. But they don’t really provide anything beyond that. And so you’re still like, once you’ve solved that initial pain point, that is a bunch of pain right behind it. It’s it doesn’t, it’s not like it gets better.
And so everything from, actually putting a grant application to. To managing that grant post award and all of the steps that, that takes to closing out the contract, which is the whole thing as well. That whole process is what we’re trying to address with the platform at the end of the day.
And so we will be, we’ll be going really deep on this, working to standardize and streamline, all those steps. The other thing that we’re highly focused on is building out that the marketplace aspect and ensuring that not only that market is that marketplace is collaborative and interesting.
But also that it has really high quality folks within it. And so right now, We really optimize for making sure there’s a lot of good high quality folks. But we do have some really cool collaborative tools that we plan on rolling out in the future. And a lot of that is because, ideally we start seeing more kind of network effects happening within this platform in terms of being able to get like the right people, the right multifunctional team organized around a big, aggressive opportunity.
So some of the most exciting opportunities I worked on. We’re electrifying the port of San Diego, where we brought in technology providers and all kinds of experts to do everything from DEI work to electric tug boats. And so there’s a huge spectrum of activities that can really take place.
And the government is frequently looking for these kinds of teams. And honestly, the state of their like tech is that they’ll put a link on their website and say, Hey, here’s our teaming list. And it takes you to. A really weird hosted six cell form. And you fill in your information and hope that somebody emails you or that’s it, that’s all they get.
And so being able to organize that and make those introductions within the marketplace is something that’s really exciting. Something that we have forthcoming, in the year. And ultimately that leads to the last kind of macro point here, which is, ideally we start. See, like this ecosystem really organized and have a clear idea of who’s looking for grants.
Who’s trying to support that activity. What kinds of things are they interested in working on? Where are they located? What kind of technology do they have and what level of technology do they have? So that we can start to deliver Concise well-organized teams to the government and to others who might be interested and say, Hey, here’s your team to work on electrification for rural communities and in Northern Montana, like that’s, these are the kinds of questions that like EDA and other government agencies, as well as philanthropy when they’re trying to drive impact, that’s really what they’re looking to do, they’re trying to say.
How do we drive specific impact for a very specific group of people in a really specific place around the world. And honestly like the best resource they have right now to answer that question are management consultants, which is terrifying. I was a management consultant for a while, and it’s just not those aren’t the people you need doing innovative things with new technology.
That’s not how that ecosystem works really well. And unfortunately it is the de facto. To a lot of these hard to answer questions and the vision for open grants really. And what gets me really excited is, the payments network and like being the place for all this to happen is exciting.
And it’s really cool. And I think there’s definitely like a multi-billion dollar trillion dollar opportunity there. But what I think is really compelling is what happens with all of that data and information. When you step back a level and say, okay how do we fix global warming? How do we solve hunger?
How do we, like, how do we start to solve these other things? And when you start to ask the very specific questions of all right what do we do for Over the, what do we do for the sinking central valley, right in California that literally like the water table has been so depleted that the whole thing is sinking and the land is becoming super salad, like super salty and like over overly saturated with all kinds of weird minerals.
How do we fix that? And being able to answer that quickly and efficiently, that’s what we can do with this data. And so I, there’s a really exciting kind of network. With open grants at scale that I’m just super pumped about. And I think that is, a big part of our future here.
And in some way that will have a really outsized impact on the world. And on the current like ability that we have as human beings to solve some of the really existential threats that we’re facing. So that I think is super exciting. And it’s something that we will continue to build out on the platform.
I do see another hand here. Go ahead and. Basically, Hey John, I just tweeted out a shout out. Good going really proud investor in the company. And I actually wanted to ask you a question about the per deal, private deal space across foundations and other entities. Are you getting into that?
We do. We actually have some really exciting things. Moving forward with a few foundations the ones that I mentioned in queen stacks and the stellar foundation. And yeah, we are also we are having some really great early discussions with candid and the foundation center about how we approach the system at large.
So yeah it’s definitely on our roadmap and we’re very excited about it because that’s a whole other class of. Of capital and it’s a very compelling space. The other thing I’ll mention, that’s related to this last piece that’s lined out is as we’ve started to work and build these proof of concepts in the web three space, we’ve definitely started to toy with concepts.
How can you have a donor advised fund? That’s run the Dow and how can we tap into kind of this whole new class of philanthropic wealth that’s coming out of the that’s coming out of the crypto revolution that’s taking place. And that’s been very compelling and really interesting for a lot of reasons, but one of them is that something fundamentally.
That I’ve seen is that the incentive structure of donor advised funds and foundations in general, it’s not really optimized for grant funding at any point. That those are really built as tax structure, tax shelters and tax structures and tax advantage vehicles. And so the idea of being able to provide.
With the tools they need to optimize their grant funding has been compelling and we’ve gotten good reception. From the initial conversations we have been having in that space. And, maybe down the road, we also have a, an open grants, a donor advise fund that runs. So that could be really compelling as well.
Hopefully that answered the question. Absolutely. I was intently listening. Awesome. Very cool. So yeah, pulling up with about a little bit more than 10 minutes left here. I definitely don’t want to just keep talking, but I will. I don’t want to keep talking to the exclusion of your questions is really what I want to say.
I’m always happy to talk about this. In fact, I could probably talk for much longer than an hour but Yeah, let me know if you have any other questions. And I do see your hand. They’re bright. So go for it. What about international partners? I work with a couple of organizations in Africa and it can be really frustrating to not only find something and there are small, so most African grants are going to be, hundred thousand dollars or even millions of dollars.
And this organization has a budget of five grand and they’re. They don’t have a shot there some kind of, which, and that includes poor rural communities internationally to be able to maybe even as part of the, the payment management system over the platform. Yep. I’m super happy that you brought that up.
I will I’ll share some things here that are mostly confidential. So you don’t necessarily tweet a bunch about them or anything like that, but We are currently working with a Stax foundation, as well as a few other groups to do almost what you might call like micro grants to, to focus on more of a sustainable basis.
It’s actually one of the exciting things about the stacks protocol for example, is that it generates a sort of re it generates a monthly Bitcoin yield, for example. And so what we’re setting up with them is the opportunity for them to direct those funds to an ecosystem of wallets. I have onboarded via this proof of concept that we set up.
And then we’re actually working with another group who literally that was a complaint and a use case that they put in front of us. They’re like, Hey, we just deployed grant funding into Africa for some entrepreneurs. And it wasn’t a lot, it was like $10,000 or something, but they lost 15% of it just like transmitting it.
And so we’re like, Hey, look, we can do that. With one. And really drive a lot of efficiency there and we can make sure that it’s secure and whatnot. So that’s, it’s super exciting and yes, I, I think there’s a really compelling opportunity. Not only because there’s organizations that don’t need a million dollars and that’s just an, a ridiculous amount of money to give people.
But I think it’s also just a ridiculous amount of money to give people who have. All at once for frequently. And so the idea of being able to traunch out funding for programs based on like progress, if they do their initial and NSF actually works, NSF SBR program works this way, which I think is really intelligent of them, where they’d apply up to about 250 K at first. And then the organization, de-risks the technology. They develop some things, they report back and if things went well, then they put more money into it. So things didn’t go well, that’s the end, that’s the end of that project. And so I think there’s a huge opportunity to be way more efficient with capital in general, instead of seeing like a $90 million USAID project go package you off to Africa, for example, you could do a, of.
Much smaller, investments or grants to a bunch of people and see what, see what goes down and see what’s, what becomes efficient, what’s generating impact. If there’s some dead ends there, you can quickly cut that off. And right. So I think there’s a huge opportunity here to revolutionize what actually, how that, that ecosystem functions fundamentally.
I think that will be. There’ll be a bit of a longer process, but we are, we’re building some of these proof of concepts right now. Ideally there’s some good learnings from all of this and we’re able to tell a compelling story and scale it up really quickly.
Awesome. Thank you. That’s really exciting. Yeah. Yeah. That was a great question. Awesome. I’ll just pop over to this last slide that I want to share. In our last planning we went through and just did a deep dive on everything that drives this platform forward and looked at customer acquisition.
And if you don’t know what these are, these, if you don’t know what these acronyms are I apologize. I realized after I put the slide together that these are things that maybe are just in my head and then a few other people’s heads, but like customer acquisition costs. That’s that first. How much it costs to get people on the platform, lifetime value, what that ratio looks like, how many of our customers convert to paid users?
All of this information really boiled down to the one thing that we feel, it really drives everything forward, which is completed organization profiles on the platform. And that goes both for grant consultants, as well as grand tours, as well as As well as great secrets. And so this is back to that, that data question, how do we get to plentiful data that it’s highly accurate?
And how do we continue to improve that information over time? So just so you know as a parting thought our focus while. We’ll be publishing investor updates. We’ll be putting things in the discord channel. You can find us in a variety of places so you can stay tuned on we funder.
If you tune into the information we have coming via our basically MailChimp that maps email we send out you can tune into that or you can tune into and feel free to email me if you have. Gotten access to this, but we also have basically like an investor community dashboard where we publish where we publish information, all these metrics.
And As a team, all of the activities we focus on, of course, focused on that, improving that data one way or another. And that kind of key core metric that we’re tracking as our north star metric is completed organization profile. So you’ll see that reported out in our monthly investor updates.
And we’re always excited to hear that. If you have thoughts on our investor updates, if you have information that you are interested in learning more about, or learning more about why something is important to us or why something went up or went down we’re happy to, we’re happy to answer those questions.
Emailing me is not always the best way. If you want to connect and have good discussions, asynchronously text is great as well as discord and then email, I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. I promise, but it might not always be very speeding. I really appreciate you all taking the time to connect today and it was great hearing your questions and connecting with all of you.
We’ll be doing some AMS. It’s probably maybe quarterly. And then we’ll also be posting some other events. We have a really exciting webinar coming up shortly that I’m sure you’ll see some information about. And just to encourage you to engage in the ways that in the ways that make you excited about the project.
But we’re very excited about what we’re building here at open grants. And it certainly wouldn’t be possible without all of our amazing investors and backers. Really appreciate you all taking the time and taking some of your resources and committing them to building out. That’s just a future that we see as, something that both drives not only.
I really efficient economy, but also one that is equitable and accessible and really provides a, an equitable footing to a lot of people around the world. So very excited about what we’re doing really deeply appreciative of all of you. And with that I’ll pause and ask if there’s any parting questions.
All right. Once again, thank you all. I’m going to go ahead and give you all a five minutes back. Of your Wednesday. And yeah. Thank you so much for being here. It’s been a real pleasure and we will see all, and like I said, click on that link. If you want to get on discord, if that’s not your thing you can reach out via email if that’s not your thing.
If you haven’t yet, there will be an email that goes out that basically asks if you want to get like text updates from you personally. So you can get my, basically my personal cell and feel free to text me there. And that’s one way that I can get back to you really quickly. And otherwise, yeah, definitely.
Please share the we funder campaign on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, where have you and specifically, sharing it generally. But if you do have specific people within your network who you think could be really interested in this, definitely, deeply appreciate bringing other folks into the fold and into the community.
As we continue to build this, we are very much focused on making it a public good, something that the public can own part of, because we do feel strongly that, one of the reasons we are making the money that we’re making and that we’re in the position. ’cause a bunch of people pay their taxes and and there’s a cool tax base to work with deploy grant funding, which is very exciting.
But also of course we feel like we owe it to everyone to, drive some value back to you to y’all. Definitely, if you have any questions about how to best share these things, reach out, we’re happy to engage and yeah. Thanks again.