Skip to content Skip to sidebar Skip to footer

Matt Ostanik launches new startup to connect nonprofits with donors

Des Moines entrepreneur Matt Ostanik has launched a new startup designed to help nonprofits raise money. The new platform, Given, connects individuals and businesses interested in donating with nonprofits that need additional help.

“I feel like in the tech space we spend a lot of time talking about new products we can build and don’t spend as much time talking about how we can have a positive impact on society as a whole,” said Ostanik.

The first version of the Given app launched in March 2019. “I launched an MVP last year and initially did testing to see if individual users would get value from the app. Then I did a pilot program with six local businesses starting late last year to have them use it with their employees,” said Ostanik. “After those two testing rounds were complete and successful I put together a team of people to work on it.”

Since then, the Given team has grown into a passionate group of nearly 25 software developers, marketers, and business strategists, Ostanik told Clay & Milk. Nearly everyone on the Given team has another full-time job and is working on Given on the side.

“We’ve basically built a ‘virtual side hustle’ team,” said Ostanik. “Earlier this year I put out a call looking for people who might be willing to help with this. I thought I might get two or three responses and instead had more than thirty people respond. Over the summer that team built a new version of the app, significantly upgrading our technology and spent a lot of time talking to nonprofits to grow the number of nonprofits that are involved with the app.”

Through the app, businesses can create ‘virtual giving cards’ within the platform that they can share with their employees and customers, giving them money that they can choose how to donate.

“It’s really a way for a business to engage with its people and give them a voice in how they want to distribute charitable giving,” said Ostanik.

There are currently more than 100 nonprofits active on in the app, with more than 50 those being based in Des Moines.

“We intend to roll it out more nationwide next year,” said Ostanik.

Prior to launching Given, Ostanik founded three other companies: Submittal Exchange, a SaaS company that serves the commercial construction industry; FunnelWise, a sales and marketing software company that assisted provided marketing analytics; and Charette Venture Group, a consulting and investment company for architecture and design firms.

The app officially launched earlier this month and is now available to download on Apple Store and Google Play.

Matt Ostanik launches new startup to connect nonprofits with donors | Clay & Milk
A central Iowa ag-tech accelerator has secured more backers and finally has a name. The Greater Des Moines Partnership first announced the accelerator last year, naming four initial investors. On Monday, the Partnership said the program will be called the "Iowa AgriTech Accelerator" and named three new investors. The new investors include Grinnell Mutual, Kent Corp. and Sukup Manufacturing, all Iowa companies. They join investors Deere & Co., Peoples Co., Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Co. and DuPont Pioneer. Each investor has agreed to put up $100,000 for the first year of the accelerator. Startups entering the program will receive $40,000 in seed funding in exchange for 6 percent equity. Tej Dhawan, an angel investor and local startup mentor, is serving as interim director until the AgriTech Accelerator names a permanent leader. Dhawan held a similar role with the GIA before Brian Hemesath was named as managing director. As interim director, Dhawan said his main job includes hiring the accelerator's executive director, establishing a business structure and initial recruiting for the first cohort. The accelerator will place few filters, such as location and product, on the applicant pool, Dhawan said. "When you’re seeking innovation, innovation can come from every corner of the world so why restrict ourselves," he said. One area the the AgriTech Accelerator won't recruit from is biotech. For its first cohort, the AgriTech Accelerator will work out of the GIA's space in Des Moines' East Village, Dhawan said. A future, permanent home is still to be decided. The accelerator's program will host startups from mid-July through mid-October, ending with an event connected to the annual World Food Prize. The GIA, which the AgriTech Accelerator is based on, also ends with presentations at an industry event. The accelerator has also started lining up a mentor pool. The Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Soybean Association and the Iowa Pork Producers Association have agreed to provide mentors, as has Iowa State University. While the AgriTech Accelerator is loosely based off of the GIA, it will differ in its business structure, Dhawan said. The GIA runs through a for-profit model for both operations and its investment fund. The AgriTech Accelerator will have a nonprofit model for its operations and a for-profit setup for its fund. Dhawan said the nonprofit model is being used so the accelerator can better work with other nonprofit partners, such as trade associations. "These are all organizations that are nonprofits and can be amazing stakeholders without ever having to be investors in the accelerator," he said. "It becomes easier to work with trade associations in their nonprofit role when we are also a nonprofit." When it's up and running, the AgriTech Accelerator would be one of a handful of ag-focused startup development programs in Iowa. Others include the Ag Startup Engine out of Iowa State University and the Rural Ventures Alliance from Iowa MicroLoan. Matthew Patane is the managing editor and co-founder of Clay & Milk. Send him an email at
This Pop-up Is Included in the Theme
Best Choice for Creatives
Purchase Now