Social enterprise Verb has closed $2.3 million in series seed funding — one of the largest rounds ever for an Austin-based social enterprise, according to a recent announcement.
The investment capital will be used to fund global expansion, platform development and strategic hires, the company says. Recent additions to the company include a chief operating officer and chief creative officer, and Verb says it expects to continue to grow the team throughout the year.
Verb connects large corporations and foundations to thousands of social entrepreneurs around the world through competitions and a proprietary technology platform. The company claims to focus on solving “wicked” problems by partnering exclusively with clients who want to run competitions tackling social and environmental issues.
Ernst & Young recognized Verb’s unconventional business model blending financial return and social impact by awarding co-founder and CEO Suzi Sosa with the Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2014.
“We are responding to three massive trends in the marketplace,” Sosa said. “First, businesses are now seeking to address social and environmental issues more strategically. Second, the rise in global entrepreneurship means there are more innovative startups than ever before, and finally, social media enables engagement with the public on a much larger scale.”
Sosa and Tom Meredith co-founded Verb in 2013 after running a seven-year competition at the University of Texas called the Dell Social Innovation Challenge, an annual program designed to inspire social entrepreneurship all over the world.
Over the years, Verb has replicated the model with clients such as IBM and LIVESTRONG.