At Twilio, we believe the right communication, at the right time, via the right channel has power to affect change. Whether that communication is deploying volunteers to a disaster, connecting someone in crisis with a trained counselor, or organizing groups around a critical cause, communications is core to everything we do. The Twilio team is inspired everyday by the applications our customers – whether that’s a large enterprise, a tiny startup or a nonprofit – build using Twilio’s communications platform.
For the past several years, Twilio’s social impact arm, Twilio.org, has worked with more than 1,100 nonprofits and social enterprises to help them achieve their missions through communications. We provide support through access to our platform and through employee volunteering, but we felt we could do more.
In May of this year, Twilio.org took this support to the next level by launching the Twilio.org Impact Fund with the funds from our 1% Equity Pledge. Impact Investing is investing with the intention to have a positive social or environmental impact as well as a return on capital. By adding impact investing to our approach, Twilio now provides funding to nonprofits and social enterprises that are accelerating their impact through the innovative use of communications.
As we began searching for our first investment, we looked for social enterprises that leverage communications to create impact at scale, have an experienced and diverse team working to solve the problem, and are creating measurable impact by reducing the friction of organizations communicating with their communities.
Today, I am thrilled to announce that Twilio.org has made its inaugural Twilio.org Impact Fund investment in Hustle, a one-to-one text messaging platform that enables personal conversations at scale.
Over the past few years, Twilio.org has been keeping an eye on Hustle – an advocacy platform built on top of Twilio Programmable SMS that has been growing rapidly. Hustle recognized a challenge many organizations have – people respond to personal, one-to-one communication, but as organizations scale, it becomes more and more difficult to communicate this way. Hustle created a platform that combined the power of one-to-one human connection with a robust technology engine that arms organizations with the ability to communicate at scale. With Hustle, organizations can educate, organize and inspire action in ways that were never before possible. Since their start in 2014, Hustle has powered more than 38 million one-to-one conversations. Now that’s an impressive and innovative use of communications.
We were inspired by the innovative way Hustle uses communications to help organizations humanize the way they communicate with their community. But Hustle inspired us in other ways too. Hustle is a company whose values closely align with Twilio’s values. Live the Spirit of the Challenge. Empower Others. Create Experiences. Think at Scale. Hustle recognizes that the best way to reach the greatest number of people is to meet them on the channels they use most frequently. By reaching out via SMS, Hustle makes their platform accessible to anyone with a feature phone which has proven effective in financial health education campaigns and also in increasing minority voter turnout in the 2016 election.
Hustle plans to use the funds from this round to build out its API and integrations platform, grow its presence in the political and advocacy space and expand into new markets such as higher education and unions.
We can’t wait to see what they build.
Check out the Hustle press release here and a blog post from Hustle’s co-founder and CEO, Roddy Lindsay here.
Twilio.org Impact Fund
With our investment partners, we support nonprofits and social enterprises that are pushing a new way of thinking about communications and expanding the boundaries of what’s possible. We are proud to welcome Hustle to the Twilio.org Impact Fund family, and we look forward to continued investment with other organizations that are using communications for good.
Twilio.org has partnered with impact venture firms including Omidyar Network, Kapor Capital, Village Capital and Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation, as well as Fast Forward Accelerator and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. To learn more about the Twilio.org Impact Fund, contact us here.