YCombinator gets a New Story from Atlanta

 New Story is a nonprofit that crowdfunds houses for homeless families living in danger around the world. NewStory is also the first startup from Atlanta to be accepted to YCombinator. The social enterprise has started their journey and gained solid traction by funding the building of 20 new homes in Haiti for a few of the thousands of families displaced by the 2010 earthquake. Those families are living in tent cities, and are vulnerable to disease, starvation, theft, murder, and child sex-trafficking. TO build a new, secure home costs just $6,000. NewStory is meeting a real need.
I’m sure you’d be emotional, too, if you just found out that your startup got accepted into YC, wouldn’t you? Co-Founder Brett Hagler most certainly was. “I was crying like a baby!” Hagler told me.
I met Hagler and Matthew Marshall, another co-founder, last fall, under completely different circumstances. Hagler is also part of Syrup Marketing, a fantastic local digital marketing and branding firm here in Atlanta, and I was introducing them to a startup that badly needed branding and marketing help. That particular intro didn’t turn into a client for Syrup, but I got to know Brett and we met several more times after that, including a coffee meeting when Brett showed me what he and Marshall had created: NewStory.
I met Matthew Marshall at Pitch Practice on several occasions as he brought new and different social startup concepts to the group again and again. When Brett told me that the designer behind NewStory was Matthew Marshall, I knew these two impressive millennials were on to something good.
I immediately introduced them to Jon Birdsong so they could pitch at Atlanta Startup Village. I was not able to be there that night, but – as expected – their pitch was a hit. They asked the crowd to “Pledge your birthday“, meaning instead of getting presents from all your friends, co-workers, family, and loved ones, you ask all those people to donate to your campaign on newstorycharity.org to build a home for a family in Haiti. They got 45 people to pledge their birthday that night. Here’s the best way to tell what exactly NewStory is doing, in their own words.
Here’s how New Story works:
  • New Story partners with proven organizations on the ground to identify families living in conditions exposed to dangers like rape, theft, and sanitation borne disease.
  • New Story tells the stories of these families on their crowdfunding platform.
  • Donors give directly to a family – putting faces to the need – and, when the home is built 2-3 months later, donors receive a video of the exact family they helped moving into their new home.
  • Most donors discover New Story through digital fundraising campaigns which have resulted in organic viral growth.
  • Local contractors build all the homes, providing jobs and stimulating the local economy.
This is what it looks like to have a home after 5 years of being homeless.
New Story innovates traditional charity through a better donor experience focused on (1) transparency, (2) personal connections and (3) viral user and revenue growth. This tech-powered, superior donor experience is the future of philanthropic giving. 
100% of every donation goes to building homes and a cost breakdown can be found on the website. This is an alternative to many charities in this space that are slow to innovate and where donors don’t know where their money is going, and what it is (or isn’t) accomplishing.
Congratulations to all the founding team at NewStory. Thanks for giving Atlanta yet another startup to cheer for. We look forward to big things from the four of you!

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