We wanted to get a look inside of some of our communities most well-known startups, how they came to be, what they do, and what keeps them up at night. So, we asked. We’ll be publishing a different startup profile every month.
Our first feature is Cloud for Good, which works with nonprofit organizations, K-12 schools, and higher education institutions to create transformational change with Salesforce.
Cloud for Good has landed on the Inc. 5000 list for the past 4 years, is a 4-time Great Place to Work and a Certified B-Corp. They grew to that from a one bedroom apartment in 2010.
Here’s an Q&A with Tal Frankfurt, Founder and CEO.
Cloud for Good
Describe your business (Limit, two sentences):
Cloud for Good works with nonprofit organizations, K-12 schools and higher education institutions to create transformational change with Salesforce.
What makes your business different from others in the market?
We combine deep domain knowledge, with technology expertise and consulting experience. That combination allows our consultants to help our clients raise more funds, provide better programs and services and better communicate with their constituents.
Who are your clients/consumers?
Nonprofit organizations, K-12 schools and higher education institutions. Our clients include Susan G Komen, UN Foundation, National Aquarium, NYU and Harvard.
How have you funded your growth to date?
I bootstrapped the business. I started it in a one bedroom apartment above my father-in-law’s office and grew it to a 4-time Inc. 5000 company.
Who is/are your founder(s)?
While working as a spokesperson and director of resource development for a nonprofit organization, Tal Frankfurt was looking for tools to better manage his constituents (donors, volunteers, the media etc.). He heard about Salesforce.Org (previously Salesforce Foundation) and this started a snowball effect. The rest, as they say, is history. He founded and led a Salesforce Nonprofit User Group and was exposed to the growing need for many nonprofit organizations to integrate technology tools to meet their vision.
What is a stat/fact about your business you want to share that will help the audience understand who you are?
Cloud for Good is a 4-time Inc. 5000 list, 4-time Great Place to Work and a Certified B-Corp. We have grown from a one bedroom apartment to 60 employees over 3 different continents.
What are you the proudest of?
Last week I met an individual that was a beneficiary of one of our clients. He was a normative person with a college degree, a full time job and 5 beautiful kids. Until last year. In a span of one month he lost his job, his wife left him with the kids and he was not able to pay rent. He was forced to spend a few nights in the streets until he found a shelter that my client operates. This individual was sharing a powerful story about how he was able to rebuild his self confidence, find a job and pay rent as a result of his experience at the shelter. We are working with organizations who are making incredible positive change in their communities and every time I am exposed to their impact I am proud of our mission.
What has been your best business decision?
My best business decision was the decision to focus on Cloud for Good as a business and not as a job.
The story I normally do not share about how and why I started Cloud for Good, is that when I first moved to the United States in late 2009, I was looking for a job. My plans at that point in time did not include starting my own business. I interviewed with numerous consulting firms who focused on Salesforce for nonprofits but I did not receive offers to join any of their teams.
In January 2010, after an intense two-month period full of interviews, I realized that I wasn’t going to obtain employment with these firms and decided to start my own business. In my first four months, I made about $500 cumulatively (yes, that’s about $125 per month) but closed out the first year with almost $200,000 in sales. As the demand for my services grew, I had to ask myself, did I want a job or did I want to run a business? I decided to run a business.
Describe a time when you were sure you were about to fail. Did it happen?
When I started Cloud for Good from Memphis, Tennessee (I have since moved to Asheville), many told me that it would be impossible for us to operate and win business because the talent and clients were not in Tennessee. While they were right about the lack of clients and talent in Memphis, they were wrong in their assumption that location is that important to running a successful business in the 21st Century. As physical and organizational boundaries are becoming increasingly blurred, businesses need to become significantly more agile in the way they think about managing people’s work and about the workforce as a whole. Work is not a location, it is what people do.
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