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The Social Impact Investment Mirage

It’s time for funders to get real about what social entrepreneurs need to succeed

Last year, our social impact startup hit a milestone that eludes 96 percent of female founders: we hit one million dollars in revenue. It felt like reaching the summit of a mountain nearly everybody had said would be impossible to climb.

We started NeedsList with the idea of creating a “wedding registry for aid”—a software solution to match needs to resources in times of crisis. We envisioned the company to be more than just a tech startup—our ambitions were to help repair our failing humanitarian aid system, which is slipping further and further behind in its ability to provide resources to communities with every additional crisis.

In our first six years we succeeded not only in raising venture funding but also in hitting that elusive revenue target and tripling our impact. In June, we secured a partnership with to scale our model. This year, we are on track to double our revenue again. That means we are finally starting to see something resembling the pinnacle of startup success, the hockey stick.

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