There are two market forces converging that makes the timing right for Arbol: 1) Shift to Online Giving: COVID-19 was a black swan event that accelerated a shift from traditional giving to online giving. It is estimated that online giving in the US grew nearly 40% in 2021 and is expected to reach $100BN by 2022. Overall, charitable giving is a $450BN market in the US, 14% of which goes towards the second most popular giving category – education. 2) Rise in low income college student enrollment: As of the 2015-16 academic year, about 20MM students were enrolled in undergraduate education, up from 16.7MM in 1995-96. Of those enrolled in 2015-16, 47% were nonwhite and 31% were in poverty, up from 29% and 21%, respectively, 20 years earlier.
Unlike most crowdfunding platforms that cater to the largest possible audience, and where relationships start and end with a campaign and a contribution, Arbol connects low income college students with their biggest supporters, enabling them to exchange value that is mutually rewarding. By leveraging our superior design, and zeroing in on deep customer understanding, students are able to obtain funding, seek advice and gain access to their sponsors’ network. While sponsors obtain transparency, proof of impact, and get rewarded by sharing in the students’ journeys. Thereby driving engagement up, encouraging positive network effects while diminishing negative ones, and causing the platform to scale rapidly.
The $10K will contribute to our fundraising goal of $100K. We plan to finish the development of our product, release a beta and bring on our engineering staff full-time. Based on our current burn forecast, with no revenue, this initial $100K will give Arbol 10+ months of runway with 2 full-time developers and 1 full-time UI/UX designer.