Houston innovators podcast episode 167

Houstonian and serial entrepreneur plans to scale nonprofit fintech tool

The sky's the limit for DonateStock, Co-Founder and CEO Steve Latham says. Photo courtesy of DonateStock

Donating stock can be a smart way to offload assets and optimize a donation — but Steve Latham thought it was so cumbersome a process that it didn't even feel worth it.

"It was such a hassle that I never did it again," says Latham on the Houston Innovators Podcast.

That opportunity for innovation stuck with Latham as he advanced his career in AdTech in New York before moving back to Houston a few years ago. A serial entrepreneur, Latham was an early co-founder of the Houston Technology Center.

His latest venture is DonateStock — a tech platform that simplifies stock donation for both the donor and the beneficiary. The early version of Latham's vision was to clear up the lack of communication the original process had — nonprofits receiving stock donations were never notified about who made each donation.

The next phase for the fintech company, as Latham explains on the show, is to scale this idea by way of channel distribution, rather than just directly working between donor and nonprofit. He says he wants DonateStock to be a featured as an "easy button" option wherever donations are accepted online.

"Now that we've proven and shown that our process works," he says, "let's scale that to make that button available to the 20 or so online donation platforms."

In order to accomplish this goal, Latham is preparing to fundraise early this year, but it's a challenging time for fintech amid economic uncertainty, he says. So far, the company has raise $2.25 million from within the company's network along with angel and family office investment.

"We've raised more money to extend our runway, and we're keeping a super tight lid on expenses because your cash is your oxygen," he says. "There are companies going out of business in our industry right now that had really promising businesses but just spent too much money before they could get to the revenue phase."

This is the third time in Latham's career that he's seen this recession activity, so he feels confident he knows the playbook of how to handle what's on the horizon.

Latham shares more about the difference his company is making within the nonprofit sector, as well as his passion for Houston and its local tech ecosystem — which he's seen grow up from afar — on the podcast episode. Stream the episode below, or wherever you listen to your podcasts.

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