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UpDonor Named Among Most Disruptive Student Startups

UpDonor Named Among Most Disruptive Student Startups

UpDonor is helping to change the game in the nonprofit sector by offering affordable and accessible software.

Matthew Grant headshot

Young entrepreneur Matthew Grant is changing the nonprofit industry with his new startup.

[Photo/Courtesy of Grant]

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UPDONOR is striving to disrupt the nonprofit sector. The startup, founded by Business Administration and Computer Science double major Matthew Grant ’25, provides nonprofit organizations with end-to-end technology services, including software for fundraising, invoices, accounting, fraud protection, donor management, and much more. Now, it’s been named one of the most disruptive student startups in the country by POETS AND QUANTS

When he first started developing the idea three years ago, Grant knew he wanted to assist low budget organizations who lack much-needed support.

“I’ve always wanted to…do something that makes an impact, giving money to businesses, helping businesses,” Grant said. “The rich get richer kind of thing is not as fulfilling for me.”

UpDonor, unlike competitors like Mailchimp or Squarespace, offers comprehensive services instead of single features like email or website-building.

“My goal from day one was to bring all of those [features] together into something that’s easy to use and easy to understand,” Grant explained. “So from that sense, I do think it’s definitely disruptive.”

Nonprofits are often cash-strapped, but Grant feels charitable organizations deserve as much technological convenience as well-funded companies.

“Seventy percent of all nonprofits don’t use any form of dedicated software, and the 30% that do are generally the big wealthy nonprofits.” Grant said. “Having a tool like UpDonor that addresses those needs, without any venture capital backing, just a guy helping out, I think that’s important.”

Grant’s startup, like so many others, is a labor of love. He gets his ingenuity and perseverance from his family, which he refers to as “go-getters” and “grinders.” That approach has served Grant well while building a company in a difficult industry.

“I know I don’t have unlimited funds,” Grant said. “And so every decision I make is very carefully thought out and every cent is used wisely, very much like the nonprofits that I serve.”

I’ve always wanted to…do something that makes an impact, giving money to businesses, helping businesses. The rich get richer kind of thing is not as fulfilling for me.

— Matthew Grant

’25 BUAD & CS / Founder, UpDonor

The first seeds of UpDonor were planted a few years ago, when Grant reached out to multiple nonprofits to find out what their pain points were and how he could fix them. Using their feedback and his own experience working for nonprofits, ideas started percolating in Grant’s mind. He started developing software to streamline their processes — the beginnings of what would later become UpDonor.

Like any first-time entrepreneur, Grant needed a little guidance. In Fall 2023, he brought his business plan to TROYLABS, a student-run organization — sponsored by the LLOYD GREIF CENTER FOR ENTREPRENEURIAL STUDIES — that provides feedback and assistance to student startups. They served as quasi-consultants to his new company.

"I was able to get help [from TroyLabs] with a marketing plan, nailing down some of the smaller things on the business side that I didn’t really think of because it’s just me and I’m engineer-oriented,” Grant said.

Following eight weeks with TroyLabs, the young founder received a $1,500 grant from the Greif Center. Without that money, says Grant, UpDonor wouldn’t be where it is today. Buoyed by the investment, Grant’s company expanded its reach and eventually landed on the radar of Poets and Quants.

Luckily, his everyday academics support his dream. He was particularly inspired by a first-year course called Organizational Behavior and Leadership (BUAD 304), which provided him the principles and framework to develop UpDonor. Since then, each class at Marshall has informed a different step on Grant’s entrepreneurial journey.

“At Marshall, there’s marketing, there’s business operations, there’s finance, accounting, all these things that are not only useful to help me build UpDonor, but to also understand the customers a little bit better,” Grant explained.

Today, Grant is giving new meaning to the age-old question, “When am I going to need to know this?” Every day, he takes what he learns at Marshall and the VITERBI SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING and immediately applies it to UpDonor.

“I use it as soon as I learn it,” Grant said.