Jeb Banner, founder and CEO of Indianapolis-based Boardable, is calling on his entire staff to step up as the coronavirus outbreak wreaks havoc on the not-for-profits that use his company’s software.
“This is an all-hands-on-deck moment,” Banner told IBJ this week. “We’re asking ourselves, ‘How can we be there for the non-profit sector?’”
Boardable’s web portal supports the governance functions of not-for-profit boards of directors. The company previously offered 14-day free trials, but on March 17 it expanded the free trials to 90 days.
“That longer trial allows organizations to take a deeper dive and really use it as a customer would,” Banner said.
Banner said he’s hopeful the software, which recently underwent two key enhancements, will help organizations better deal with the work-from-home situations and social-distancing mandates they now face.
Last week, Boardable, which has 21 full-time employees and a handful of part-timers, awarded its 1,000th free trial. the company gave out more than 500 90-day free trials in the first two weeks of the offer.
Banner declined to say how many customers Boardable has, but said those using free trials constitute a sizable chunk of the organizations the company is working with.
The free trials include access to the full suite of Boardable software features and allows for unlimited users, meetings, committees and stored documents.
Boardable paid accounts start at $79 a month for its Essentials Plan and $199 a month for its Professional Plan. Both plans include 10 users at the base price. Additional users come in increments of five for $20 a month for the Essentials Plan and $30 a month for the Professional Plan.
Founded in 2017 as Board Management Software Inc., Boardable is fortunate to have substantial resources to power through the coronavirus disruptions. In late November, the company secured $3 million in growth capital. Last May the company secured $1 million in seed funding.
The venture and growth capital markets have dried up in the wake of the pandemic, leaving many startups and scaleups scrambling.
Banner said his company wants to do more than count its blessings.
“With the stay-at-home order, non-profits are really in need. They’ve been disrupted by this,” Banner said. “We want to help, and even though these organizations are using our software on a free trial basis, we want to treat them like [paying] customers. We have a great support team.”
Banner originally had planned to conclude the 90-day free trial at the end of April. He said that once he saw “the need and demand,” he extended the trial until the end of June.
“We have capacity to do more,” he said. “We could take on 1,000 more organizations.”
Historically, many not-for-profits with limited budgets have relied on email and Dropbox to manage board and other meetings. Those tools, Banner said “get you through a board meeting and after that, it’s a mess.”
“Those tools are like digital duct tape,” Banner said. “With the COVID-19 situation, that’s really falling apart.”
Boardable’s software organizes the information disseminated to and shared among board members in a number of ways.
Recently, the firm added an e-signature feature to help board members sign off on meeting minutes and other documents. And this week, Boardable added a video feature to facilitate meetings and other virtual face-to-face engagements.
The two new features mean Boardable’s platform can be extended beyond just board meetings to handle various meetings involving staffers, volunteers and customers.
“We’re going after Zoom and DocuSign,” Banner said.
Those are no small targets for a modestly sized scaleup. But Banner is undaunted.
“We hope the organizations using [our software] on a free trial become customers, but it’s OK if they don’t,” Banner said. “We’re simply trying to solve a problem for non-profits, and we think we have a very good solution.”
Boardable was built on software it custom-constructed for the United Way.
The company’s customer base quickly expanded to other not-for-profit organizations. It now has customers in 25 countries.