What was the scope of their involvement?
We had a great initial engagement, just to understand what the possibilities could be and what would be the next step for an engagement. First, there’s an intake of understanding where we are, where we aspire to be and what’s the next stage that we should invest in to figure out how to move forward. Once we did that, we decided to engage them for a strategy project, and we particularly needed a partner who knew our community. Exygy, as a certified B Corp, is in our community, and they also bring expertise to the table. We needed somebody who could do strategy that knew the technical side of the work, and somebody who could help us see around the corner. The primary engagement was to learn from our current and future communities. They ended up researching our B Corps who were on the current platform and some who were not. And since we’re a global network, they spoke with our global partners in different regions around the globe, and then also with companies that are not in our community, but that prospectively will be someday, because they’re measuring impact through a tool that we offer for free. They did a very wide landscape of listening and surveying users and prospective users to help us understand more about what they want out of a digital platform or community.
The deliverable was finding, from these interviews, a recommendation about what’s the next step for us in terms of investment. We were seeking an opinion on where to make the next investment with a sort of an openness. Do we continue to invest more in the platform that we have now? Or do we need to accomplish it through some other company that has a community offering? Or do we need to build something ourselves? The deliverable was to understand what users want and then what’s the right technical solution to get there, recognizing our constraints as a non-profit that we somehow need to go get resources in order to then do the next development.
There were about seven teammates that ultimately touched the project. There were three who were core to it, and then there were other people. We had some technical people that were doing the research on other platforms and understood the underpinnings of the technology. Those were some people who I didn’t interface with. And my colleague, who reports to me and is in charge of digital platform, was the project lead. I’m the senior person in this component of our work.
How did you come to work with Exygy?
We put out an RFP on the B Hive, the current platform. There are a lot of B Corps that are already on there. We went out to our current community of B Corps, but we also widened it to other players in the field: systems, strategy firms, and some were technically-oriented firms and B Corps who were somewhere in that mix. I think we had about 30 proposals.
We thought Exygy brought a great balance of both the ability to provide strategic guidance, but also know the technical side of what we’re trying to do. We needed strategic strength and technical prowess. We needed someone with technical knowledge to really understand, because these are expensive decisions, and if we make the wrong one, there’s a considerable amount of resources that could go to waste, and we have to, as a non-profit, really use our resources effectively.
How much have you invested with Exygy?
It was a $75,000 project that they gave to us at a considerable discount. They contributed really substantial pro bono components of the project. They wanted to bring their capabilities to support a movement.
What is the status of this engagement?
We started working with them in December 2016, and the project was completed in February 2017.