- All Community
Built In Chicago and Marengo Hampshire Partners would like to congratulate July’s Startup of the Month: Toodalu! This rewards company partners with Chicago-area businesses to make charitable donations as easy as using your credit card. The combination of driving to local businesses, giving back to charitable organizations and making people feel good about the way they shop makes Toodalu a triple threat.
According to founder and CEO Todd O’Hara, “Toodalu leverages credit card transaction data to allow our partners to operate on a dynamic platform for loyalty rewards, marketing and analytics.”
Businesses that partner with Toodalu allow customers to donate a portion of their credit card payment to the charity of their choosing. The beauty of the setup is that there is no separate item necessary for donation. Rather, customers link their credit cards (up to 10) to their Toodalu account and when they shop at partner locations, donations are made automatically.
Founded in July of 2009, Toodalu received seed funding from various individual investors and now has five employees. So far in 2012, no new members have been added to the team. Currently, Toodalu partners with businesses in Chicago--you can see all of them here.
Learn more about Toodalu’s people, business and inner workings via our Q&A with O’Hara.
How did a bunch of guys from the all over the country set up shop in Chicago?
I'm originally from Minneapolis and moved to Chicago to work as a commodities algo trader following college. I met up with two Chicago guys Chris and Ravi while navigating the tech circles in the city and we worked on some ideas and built a cool product. Eddie, our VP of sales, we meet through our first investor. Casey is our true east coaster, from Maine. We were best friends in college at Colby. I basically hounded Casey to come join Toodalu for about three straight months while he was working in DC as a sports agent repping NFL and college football and basketball coaches.
If customers can pick or create their own charities, how do you know the money will be used the way you expect?
Anyone can add a charity from our list of over one million non profit organizations that we draw directly from the IRS database. The donations themselves are made either directly to the organization or through Network for Good based on the associated EIN.
In the future, we plan to open the platform to user created causes and fundraisers. While it is impossible to monitor and oversee how each individual cause uses and applies the funds that they raise, we believe that the Toodalu community will naturally vet causes that are not genuine. For example: as a user myself, I will simply avoid supporting a cause that I am not familiar with or confident in.
How did you convince vendors to participate in your program?
Merchants love the seamless nature of Toodalu in that all of our programs run through existing credit card technology and does not require a coupon or iPad on their counter. In addition, we offer the ability for merchants to immediately align their business with charitable giving.
Are there any charities Toodalu is sweet on?
Imerman Angels has a special place in our hearts because Jonny Imerman is an amazing man and worked with us from the start to provide insight into our original concept. There are so many amazing groups out there doing such great things and we just want to help!
Why the name "Toodalu"?
We always laugh at this question because there is no real answer. Lot of people think it's a play on my name, Todd, the truth is that Toodalu is just one of those words that makes people smile and sticks in your head.
Thank you to our sponsor, Marengo Hampshire Partners, the leader in human capital sourcing for emerging and growth enterprises.