StartOut grows sponsorship revenue while saving buyers over $5m in 18 months.

About StartOut

StartOut is a national non-profit organization with a mission to accelerate the growth of the LGBTQ+ entrepreneur community and drive economic empowerment.  They envision a world where LGBTQ+ founders have equal access to resources, leadership opportunities, and the ability to shape the future workforce.  StartOut offers a vibrant online community of over 28,000 members, connecting LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs with investors, founders, and thought leaders who provide valuable guidance and mentorship.

  • HQ Location: San Francisco, CA, USA
  • Website:
  • Industry: Non-profit; Professional Community


Prior to implementing Builtfirst, StartOut faced difficulty in demonstrating the strategic value they deliver to both their corporate sponsors and their LGBTQ+ entrepreneur members.  Here were some key challenges:

  • Quantifying Support Efforts: StartOut lacked a system to track and measure the cost savings achieved by members through sponsor-provided perks and discounts. This made it difficult to demonstrate the tangible value proposition for both sponsors and members.
  • Limited Visibility into Analytics: Without a centralized platform, StartOut couldn't easily analyze member engagement with sponsor offerings. This made it challenging to tailor perk selections and measure program effectiveness.


StartOut partnered with Builtfirst, a sponsorship management platform, to address these challenges. Builtfirst provided a comprehensive solution that streamlined sponsor onboarding, facilitated connections, and offered valuable analytics.

  • Curated Perks Marketplace: Builtfirst offered a pre-populated marketplace with a variety of perks and discounts relevant to LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs. StartOut could also add custom offerings from their sponsors, creating a more comprehensive value proposition for members.
  • Data-Driven Insights: Builtfirst's platform provided StartOut with real-time data on member engagement with various perks. This data allowed them to refine their offerings and measure the program's overall effectiveness.
  • Streamlined Sponsor Management: Builtfirst facilitated personalized email introductions between StartOut and potential sponsors, saving time and resources. The platform also streamlined payment collection, ensuring a reliable revenue stream for StartOut.

By implementing Builtfirst, StartOut has leveled-up in several key areas:

  • Demonstrated Value: StartOut can now quantify the cost savings achieved by members through sponsor perks, providing compelling data to potential sponsors and showcasing the program's value.
  • Increased Member Engagement: The diverse perk offerings on Builtfirst's platform have driven increased engagement among StartOut members.
  • Re-Engaged Founders: The platform has also helped StartOut re-engage with existing members by highlighting valuable new resources and benefits.
  • Sponsor Visibility: Builtfirst has provided sponsors with increased visibility within the LGBTQ+ entrepreneur community, leading to more targeted marketing and brand awareness.
Builtfirst is a great way to see what resonates with your founders...We can see exactly how much our founders are saving.Angelica Williams, Senior Program Manager at StartOut

StartOut & Builtfirst

StartOut's success with Builtfirst demonstrates how partner marketplaces empower non-profit organizations. By leveraging a data-driven approach and a curated perk marketplace, StartOut is fostering a thriving ecosystem that benefits both LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs and their corporate sponsors.  StartOut's story serves as an inspiration for other non-profits seeking to create impactful programs and build sustainable partnerships.

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