CEO at local fintech firm talks 'generosity trend,' what's next for 2022 – Charlotte Business Journal

Philanthropy as a service is a growing trend among financial institutions, and Charlotte’s Amicus.io wants to stay on the forefront.
Amicus.io’s platform merges technology and charitable giving by modernizing donor-advised funds. The goal is to empower donors of any size. Co-founder Cor Hoekstra said the idea is gaining momentum among banks and wealth and asset management firms. They are making it a pillar in their digital growth strategies, he said.
In 2022, Amicus.io is positioned to build on that momentum.
Amicus.io will soon launch an offering built on its DAF 2.0 platform at one of the “big four” financial institutions. It is not yet ready to publicly share the name. Hoekstra said, with that deal, he expects other firms to follow with similar agreements.
“Philanthropy is actually a good business. It not only facilitates doing good in the context of community, but it also strengthens the relationship of that customer with their particular company that provides financial services,” Hoekstra said.
DAFs are becoming a more popular way to give. DAF grants to qualified charities totaled $34.7 billion in 2020, a 27% increase from the prior year, according to a recent report from the National Philanthropic Truist. That is one of the highest increase rates on record. The number of individual DAF accounts also surpassed 1 million in 2020, according to the report.
This year, Amicus.io is looking to hire in Charlotte for multiple roles, including products and sales. It also wants to work with more registered investment advisers, independent broker dealers and self-directed investing firms, Hoekstra said.
Hoekstra, Walt Ruloff and Paul Welsh founded Amicus.io in 2017. The company is a graduate of the Queen City Fintech and Wells Fargo Startup accelerator programs. It raised an $8.7 million Series B round in late 2020, bringing its total capital raised to $17.5 million. In mid-2021, the startup landed a deal with The TIFIN Group, which uses artificial intelligence to personalize investing. Later that year, it co-hosted a virtual discussion with Pinkaloo to raise awareness in honor of Giving Tuesday.
“The generosity trend is gaining momentum,” Hoekstra said. “What I am anticipating is that, as financial institutions embrace offering these philanthropic services and products to their clients, … we see more widespread adoption and an uptick in terms of participation in the philanthropic, not only conversation, but actual action.”
Amicus.io, headquartered in the Johnston Building in uptown, was recently named among 10 startups to watch by the North Carolina Technology Association.
Amicus.io also expects to do another capital round in the future, Hoekstra noted.
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