Luke Chesser

Why I Joined FundBoard - DS

January 26, 2021

I am excited and delighted to announce that I have joined FundBoard as a Co-founder and Director of Growth! 


I’ve experienced a lot of change over the last 12 months: A new career I’m thrilled about, becoming a State Senator, and like everyone else, trying to keep moving forward during a pandemic. Whew!  So, how did I get here


Like most things in 2020, it all started with a tweet. 



Three words. A trajectory changed — Bryan, like myself, is someone who has poured so much time and energy into the climate crisis. He is the co-founder of Wunder Capital, where he deployed millions of capital into solar deployment. Through my nonprofit, RETI (Renewable Energy Transition Initiative), I also worked in the climate space, where I strived to sustainably decrease energy costs for people with high energy burdens. 


When Bryan tweeted his new idea, a quote in his blog post stuck with me: “Innovation is too important. The world’s challenges are too large.” He was referring to the massive gaps and dysfunction of startup and small business fundraising and, alluding to FundBoard’s mission to make an impact bridging relationships.


This was something that I had personally felt in my work with both my own nonprofit, RETI, and energy startup, JouleScout. Unfortunately, like many nonprofit and startup founders, especially those run by Black Women and People of Color, the struggle to maintain a sustainable balance between fundraising and impact can quickly spiral downward. I found myself working harder to secure less funding catalyzed by social obstacles and preconceived perceptions. Ultimately, this stole focus away from achieving primary goals and mission statements. I’ve always felt that these kinds of artificial barriers to funding are unnecessarily exclusionary.


When I reached out to Bryan with piqued curiosity, I already had a full-time job, was running for office and doing virtual homeschool with my husband for our kids. However, having felt some remnants of the issue myself, I had to find out more. 


After chatting a few times, I decided that I wanted to help out when I could despite my limited capacity. I started by working several hours a week. It allowed me to get a feel for the team and dive deeper into the mission. Given my passion, perspective, and experience with this issue in this space, it’s not surprising that my work at FundBoard snowballed from there. 

Only a few months had passed when I decided to leap. I was going to join FundBoard full-time as a co-founder and Director of Growth.  

My decision to take the leap ultimately came down to 3 things. 

  1. Mission
  2. Fit
  3. Timing


Mission

From doing my nonprofit work, I learned that I’m a purpose-driven person. I work best when there is a passion-driven purpose behind my work. Similar to running for office to better my community and fighting against the climate crisis, I could not be a bystander. 


I’m interested in Democratizing Access to Opportunity. Let’s break this down a bit. 


Through my work at FundBoard, I will democratize access and information to navigate the best capital to launch and grow your business. This work can make a large impact and is a mission I feel proud to be a co-founder of.  We at FundBoard have aligned our company’s financial success with that of the founders we serve.  Say it with me: TEAMWORK MAKES THE... 


Fit

The team at FundBoard values many of the same things that I do, making it a natural fit. To this end, things like Quick Feedback Loops, communication, and being a marketplace for ideas is essential to me. FundBoard also operates asynchronously and with autonomy. This environment allows me to creatively build my schedule to continue to make excellent forward progress while still keeping time for my family and nurturing other essential facets of my life, all of which inspire, motivate and revitalize me.


Timing

Let’s be clear. A state senate position in NC pays $13,951 a year. It’s not about the salary but the opportunity to be in a position that can bring about meaningful change. I always knew I’d have to supplement my income with other work. I’m incredibly grateful to have a job that allows me the flexibility to both serve as a State Senator and also support incredible founders every single day. Both of these roles will enable me to work towards a personal mission of increasing access to opportunity. 


With more funding opportunities becoming available than ever, the timing of FundBoard could not be better. Playing a part in another founder’s journey stands as a vast and fulfilling marker of success for me. 


I’m looking forward to what’s to come at FundBoard. Onward!

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