Founder of the Week: Braden Fineberg

Founder of the Week is back for the 2018-2019 school year! Check out Braden’s full interview here: https://youtu.be/pkVpXcJ7I0g 

If you learn only one thing from Braden, it should be this:

When it comes to advice for aspiring entrepreneurs, Braden considers the most essential characteristics of a founder to be optimism and the ability to be comfortable with failing. For the unpredictable experiences an entrepreneur faces, he believes that these two qualities will allow an individual to overcome any bumps in the road.

Being stopped—by friends, professors, or lost strangers—on Locust Walk is a familiar scenario for almost every Penn student. However, when people started stopping Braden Fineberg on Locust to ask for donations to their nonprofit, usually in amounts that would make the average college student wince and unwilling to comply, he evaluated why these organizations struggled to get donors. He realized it wasn’t because people didn’t want to support the cause. And that marks the beginning of Flourish.

Flourish is an innovative micro-donation platform that allows users to give small amounts, usually less than $5, to nonprofits and projects of their choosing. It operates both on the Flourish website and through an app on the Apple and Google Play store, enabling anyone to donate at anytime, anywhere. The company strives to help charitable organizations obtain sufficient donations, while also allowing donors to feel their impact. Gone are the days where the smallest amount a donor must give is $25, the equivalent of two lunches, as Braden says. Now, donors can “turn their pocket change into global change” every time they swipe their credit or debit card.

As a co-founder, Braden (SEAS ‘19) reflects that understanding an entirely new industry for starting their company has been a challenge in his journey. Balancing management and autonomy within the company is another aspect that he is learning more about as the company continues to scale and grow. The nonlinear trajectory of building a startup has led Braden to be more open to take advantage of opportunities as they come and be open to new frameworks and thought processes. The Weiss Tech House’s funding resources has assisted Flourish to become a successful revenue-generating company with a full-time team, a notable accomplishment for such a young company.