Amicus.io adds USD8.7m in Series B funding

Amicus.io, a fintech company behind the philanthropic platform for DAF 2.0, has raised USD8.7 million in series B funding from mission-driven investors in philanthropic and banking sectors hailing from the US and Canada. 

The round was led by The FR Group, a Vancouver-based family office. Wells Fargo Startup Accelerator also joined the round as a new investor. In addition to funding, Amicus is launching its DAF 2.0 platform, a white label solution designed for consumer banks, to the benefit of private bank divisions, digital wealth management, wealth managers and asset managers as well the entire philanthropic community.

Savvy philanthropists have been turning to donor-advised funds (DAFs) at a tremendous rate, with an 86 per cent increase in contributions to DAFs in the last five years, totalling USD37.12 billion in 2018 - with USD121.42 billion in assets under management, according to the 2019 Donor-Advised Funds Report from the National Philanthropic Trust (NPT). Traditionally used for the large-scale philanthropic donations of family foundations and high net worth individuals, DAFs have been late to the digital transformation seen in mainstream investment options like online-only stock portfolio management.

Increasing demand for DAF flexibility, like lower minimums and the ability to make smaller grants to charities, has been driven by sponsors of new DAF accounts, which have jumped by more than 50 per cent in the last couple of years thanks in part to favourable regulatory changes. 

Experts anticipate a spike in demand for DAFs with the introduction of user-friendly online tools that make it easier to contribute to and grant donations from DAF accounts - putting DAF market projections at USD1Trillion in the next 10 years, based on current growth rates and a move to meet demand for flexibility by modernising the financial instrument, which is more than ninety years old.1  

Conditions are prime for the Amicus DAF 2.0 platform, which lets consumer banks increase assets under management with an enterprise-ready charitable giving solution that integrates seamlessly within their existing online bank experience. 

Built on legacy systems and dependent on manual processing, the conventional DAF has historically only been accessible to high net worth individuals and institutions through private banks and wealth management firms. 

More recently, the largest commercial DAF sponsors have offered more flexible DAF options - even reducing account minimums. The Amicus DAF 2.0 platform dramatically improves the economics of the DAF with a fully automated and integrated backend, making it cost effective for consumer banks to offer a self-directed DAF to customers for the first time.

The white label DAF 2.0 platform lets institutions offer customers a beautifully easy and gratifying self-directed approach to philanthropic giving in a simple three phase process. All from within the bank’s branded environment, the DAF 2.0 platform will allow customers to:

Contribute: a variety of assets, including seamless transfer of cash, securities, with payments options from virtually any account (cash deposit accounts, credit cards, traditional DAFs)

Invest: in white-labeled investment pools, including institutional mutual funds, managed accounts, ETFs, selecting from a drop-down list and adjusting asset allocation with a single click

Grant: donate to more than 1.8 million US non-profits and philanthropic organisations, with the ability to easily search by name, location, category and the ability to discover new charities by type of cause (wildlife protection, for example).

The DAF 2.0 platform will support sophisticated asset management and provide full transparency into the status and flow of assets along each phase of the investment, liquidation and grant-making process. Customers receive automatically generated tax receipts for up to the minute accuracy of documentation, a real-time view into net asset value and the ability to easily add or change beneficiaries and successors.

Ultimately, Amicus plans to extend the DAF 2.0 to include non-profit organisations, enabling them to share stories, and updates on the impact of donations back to customers who have made donations through the DAF 2.0 platform and even post projects that need grant funding. An immersive giving experience will deepen connections between donors and the charities they support, creating a virtuous cycle of feedback to keep customers engaged and inspired to continue giving. Amicus will be rolling out the first branded implementation of the DAF 2.0 platform in partnership with a leading global financial institution in Q4 2020.

“Amicus and the DAF 2.0 platform is our answer to making the world a more generous place,” says Walt Ruloff, founder and chairman of Amicus. “By lowering the barrier to entry with a highly cost efficient consumer-oriented DAF, we set a ripple effect in motion that will impact the entire philanthropic community, paying dividends to each party involved. Consumer banks play a key role in democratising access to a modernised DAF, and will finally get in on one of the most trusted and proven tools for philanthropic giving.”

“We understand deeply that when people donate to a cause, they want to actually make a difference. Today’s philanthropists expect transparency, whether they’re in the 1 percent or the 99 percent,” says Cor Hoekstra, co-founder and CEO of Amicus.io. “The DAF 2.0 platform puts consumer banks at the heart of a strategic move to empower motivated donors at scale, to the benefit of all.”