Foundryy Aims to Forge a Future for Local Businesses
Mary Ellen Blue, owner of Cilla’s coffee House and Matt Consigli, founder of Foundryy
By Marjorie Turner Hollman
Matt Consigli, of Norfolk, MA, born and raised in this area, is concerned about the well-being of our small businesses. He pointed out in a recent interview that “30% of small business owners are still worried about making it to the end of 2021.” He continued, “We are going to get back to normal, but just because the health crisis will be over, the businesses that have been struggling—their coffers are empty. Banks have been lenient, but that will have to stop at some point, since the banks are hurting too.”
Consigli recalls the years his dad coached his baseball team as a kid. The memory that stands out? “After each game we won, my dad would take us to the local ice cream stand. My memory of baseball with my dad is actually the ice cream stand, not the ball games. These businesses are a part of our lives. They’re where we grew up and have some of our best memories. They were there for us, and we weren’t even paying attention. Now they need our help.” He wants to be sure these local, small businesses do not disappear because of a missed opportunity.
“No one wants to see our Main Streets barren,” he stated. “I believe it’s easier than we think if we can rally the community, pull together in the same direction, so we can save these businesses. We are not alone—we are working to channel the goodwill of the community in a positive direction.”
With this in mind, Consigli decided to take action. He created www.foundryy.com, designed to support the small businesses that have been affected by the COVID pandemic. The name of the company was inspired by this quote: “American commerce is the furnace where the future is forged,” and it’s meant to personify the entrepreneurial spirit and optimism of the small businesses he supports. He took no short-cuts in creating the platform; enlisting a legal team and hiring technology experts, launching live in market this past March.
The goal? To create a platform designed specifically to support local small businesses through crowd-funding. But his Foundryy.com platform is different than other better known sites like GoFundMe. Consigli explained, “Everything was built with the small business owner in mind. No fundraising minimum is required, you keep everything you raise, and we have no fees, so we can get capital into the hands of small business owners that need it.” He continued, “Last summer I started with a different idea, to provide equity funding to raise money for startup ventures. It’s kind of shocking when you first hear it, but the rate of entrepreneurship has steadily fallen in the U.S. since the late ’70s.”
As the pandemic wore on into the fall, Consigli watched the news and saw that big restaurants were shutting down. “I realized that we should instead be focusing on saving existing businesses, to promote them and help provide job security. I wanted to help keep those existing businesses in business, to help them succeed.”
Consigli has spent his career in financial services, working for Bank of America as an underwriter, evaluating business health. Later he worked for Liberty Mutual, and is now at Lincoln Financial. With his schooling (an MBA from Dartmouth) and experience, he wants to give back to the community.
He was quick to point out that every business that has participated using his platform so far has made it clear they are not looking for charity. Each donor receives something back, depending on how each campaign is set up. Gift cards, product discounts, special deals or other creative options can be distributed in return for their support. One campaign, 3805 Productions in North Attleboro, offers drone photography for construction sites and small businesses. The owner has created a campaign to support an upcoming VFW event to recognize those who served with veteran portraits. Proceeds from the Foundryy campaign will go to supporting this free event to veterans.
In addition to funding campaigns, Foundryy has set up what they are calling “Foundryy Challenges.” Each month, people in the community can nominate a small business that they feel deserves some recognition and vote for the winner. “The business that receives the most votes receives $1,000 from Foundryy, no questions asked,” Consigli explained. “Recently, Cilla’s Coffeehouse in Norfolk won, and they are using the money to purchase outdoor patio furniture.”
It’s exciting to know we can make a difference. Foundryy.com is a simple way for lots of us to take small steps to support our local businesses, and remind them how important their success is to all of us. Be sure to stop by Foundryy.com to learn more today.