Sevetri Wilson has her finger on the pulse of philanthropy — and she is taking her tech firm to new heights thanks to a record Series A investment.
The savvy businesswoman started Resilia, a technology platform that makes it easier for nonprofits to file for incorporation and tax exemptions and offers streamlined resources for compliance, training and fundraising. It’s her second company after she launched strategic communications firm Solid Ground Innovations in 2009.
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For a woman whose close friend calls her “the antithesis of a tech founder,” Wilson is especially proud that she recently raised $8 million in venture capital — representing the largest round of Series A funding received by a Black-woman-owned software company in Louisiana.
“Female, African-American, solo founder — everything that does not equate Mark Zuckerberg,” the 33-year-old entrepreneur said in an interview, laughing. Still, she added, “I feel that the future of tech founders looks more and more like me.”
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A graduate of Louisiana State University and Harvard University’s Kennedy School, Wilson also has an unexpected advantage calling New Orleans home base. For the majority of her investors, Resilia is the only company with Southern roots in their portfolios. The intense interest and financial backing allowed her to open a second office in New York.
“I do feel there’s this rise in investment and attention on the Southeast,” Wilson said. “I think that definitely helped us mature.”
Her company is one of the anomalies that is hiring rather than laying off during this tumultuous period — Resilia currently has 26 employees, and Wilson wants to add about six new positions by the end of the year, specifically in engineering and marketing.
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“We’re always hiring,” she said. “We’ve been fortunate — because of a lot of [Covid-19-related] cuts, the talent pool is infinite right now.”
And Resilia has proven resilient, growing about 120% year over year, according to Wilson, and seeing a 35% net profit year to year. Thanks to the new cash infusion, “this year will be a lot different,” she said. “We just poured gas on the fire to grow.”
At the same time, she expects that this will be the first year the company will likely not see drastically increased profits since she’s hiring rapidly and “we’re essentially putting our ability to capture market share over profitability.”
Wilson’s 3,200 clients, which span across Resilia’s nonprofit and enterprise platform, include Oxfam America and The W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Next year, she plans to launch another platform on Resilia for commercial use, which will allow nonprofits to manage all their grantees and store reports and evaluations in one place.
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Wilson acknowledges that she benefits from a five-fold increase in new nonprofits that have opened their doors over the last 10 years.
A decade ago, “we couldn’t have built this product because the tech world didn’t believe there was space for philanthropy. Now, you have the ‘billionaire pledge,’” she said, referring to a 2010 promise from the country’s richest, started by Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffet, to donate their vast wealth to charity.
“I feel this is where the culture and society is moving,” Wilson said.