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Impact-driven Houston fintech startup officially launches after successful beta

DonateStock, a Houston fintech company that simplifies the stock donation process, has officially launched. Image courtesy of DonateStock

Today is National Nonprofit Day, and there are a lot of ways to celebrate it — sign up to volunteer, donate to your favorite organization, and more. But Andrea Young is celebrating by officially launching her fintech startup.

After going through a successful beta testing phase, Houston-based DonateStock offers a tech-enabled tool that automates the stock donation process — something only 2 percent of investors are taking advantage of. In honor of the launch, DonateStock is waiving fees for nonprofits and matching all investors' donations up to $500 per donation.

"National Nonprofit Day offers the perfect opportunity for nonprofits to elevate fundraising strategies by taking advantage of DonateStock's waived fees," Young says. "Now is the time to join nonprofits across the city and nation as innovation makes donating stock easier than ever."

Young co-founded the company with Steve Latham because, having donated stock before, she saw how off-putting the slow and confusing process was. But she also saw the value of the win-win process. Donors win by avoiding capital gains tax while also getting to deduct the fair market value of the stock. Meanwhile, nonprofits win as pre-tax stock donations are often much larger than after-tax cash donations.

Steve Latham and Andrea Young co-founded DonateStock. Photos courtesy of DonateStock

"I valued the immense benefits stock donations provided me as an investor while simultaneously helping a nonprofit," Young says of her early experience with donating stock. "I enjoyed the significant tax advantages that allowed me to avoid capital gains taxes while deducting the full market value of my gifted stock. However, I found the entire process time consuming and cumbersome, which led to the end of my stock donation journey."

When the pandemic hit and nonprofits were greatly impacted, Young and Latham saw an opportunity to found DonateStock to help drive donations and guide nonprofits and donors alike through the process. During its beta testing phase, the company partnered with almost 100 nonprofits, including Atlanta's Habitat for Humanity, Houston's Legacy Community Health and New York City's A Leg To Stand On.

"Stock contributions have traditionally been a cumbersome process for our donors, requiring several steps often including physical stock certificate confirmations before completing the donation," says Chree Boydstun, the chief development officer of Legacy Community Health, in a news release. "We view stock donations as an incredible untapped source of new funding and we're excited to work with DonateStock to make the most of this opportunity."

Earlier this year, DonateStock won Capital Factory's Houston Tech Rodeo $50K Investment prize.

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Building Houston

 
 

This week's roundup of Houston innovators includes Joey Sanchez of The Ion, Nisha Desai of Intention, and Moji Karimi of Cemvita Factory. Courtesy photos

Editor's note: In this week's roundup of Houston innovators to know — the first of this new year — I'm introducing you to three local innovators across industries — from startup development to energy transition — recently making headlines in Houston innovation.

Joey Sanchez, senior director of ecosystems at the Ion Houston

Joey Sanchez joins the Houston Innovator Podcast to discuss his new role at The Ion Houston. Photo via LinkedIn

Joey Sanchez, who previously served as director of corporate engagement at Houston Exponential, has been in his new role as senior director of ecosystem at The Ion for about three months now.

"I'm focusing specifically on the communities of entrepreneurs, startups, investors — and trying to bridge connections among them," Sanchez says on the Houston Innovators Podcast. "This is the biggest challenge in Houston and we want to flip that with density. Density is really the key to solving connections."

Sanchez joined the Houston Innovators Podcast and shares about what gets him so excited about Houston innovation on the show. Click here to listen and read more.

Nisha Desai, founder and CEO of Intention

Four climatetech-focused individuals have been named to Greentown Lab's board. Photo via LinkedIn

Greentown Labs named new board members, including two community board members to act as liaisons between startups and Greentown Labs. Greentown Houston's appointed representation is Nisha Desai, founder and CEO of Intention, and community member.

Desai's current startup, Intention, is climate impact platform for retail investors, and she has previously worked at six energy-related startups including Ridge Energy Storage, Tessera Solar, and ActualSun, where she was co-founder and CEO. She's also worked in a leadership role at NRG Energy and spent several years as a management consultant with the energy practice of Booz Allen Hamilton — now Strategy&, a PWC company.

"I'm honored to join the board of Greentown Labs as a representative of the startup community," she says in the release. "This is a pivotal time for climate and energy transition. I look forward to working with the rest of the board to expand the collective impact of the Greentown Labs ecosystem." Click here to read more.

Moji Karimi, co-founder and CEO of Cemvita Factory

Moji Karimi joins InnovationMap to discuss how Cemvita Factory has deployed its recent investment funding and what's next for the company and Houston as a whole when it comes to biomanufacturing. Photo courtesy of Cemvita

Moji Karimi and his sister Tara had the idea for a company that could transform carbon emissions and mitigate new damage to the environment. Only, it seems, they were a bit ahead of their time.

Houston-based Cemvita Factory, founded in 2017, uses synthetic biology and take carbon emissions and transform them into industrial chemicals. However, it's only been since recently that the conversation on climate change mitigation has focused on carbon utilization.

"I think people are realizing more about the importance of really focusing on carbon capture and utilization because fossil fuels are gonna be here, whether we like it or not, for a long time, so the best thing we could do is to find ways to decarbonize them," Moji Karimi, co-founder and CEO, tells InnovationMap. "There's been this focus around carbon capture and storage, and I think the next awakening is going to be utilization." Click here to read more.

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