By Taryn Skees for Amplify — October 11, 2023
Mac Wilkinson is the Founder and CEO of Moolathon, a social fundraising platform and fitness tracker that gives groups, organizations and individuals the ability to raise money for any cause with miles you run, walk, or bike. As a recent participant in the TechStars Washington DC program, Mac was able to expand upon essential entrepreneurship skills to help with the success of Moolathon. See Amplify’s Q&A below to learn what inspired his startup and how Amplify has played a part in his entrepreneurship journey.
1. What inspired you to start Moolathon?
I grew up playing sports my entire life. To fundraise for uniforms and trips as a kid, I’ve done everything imaginable from selling popcorn, to washing cars, to even selling mulch, usually just to scrape together a few hundred dollars!
When I got older, I was able to see the other side of fundraising while helping to organize 5k’s and other fitness fundraisers that would raise thousands for the organizations that I support. I would often think to myself “If these types of events are so effective…why weren’t we doing this type of fundraising when I was a kid!?”
Turns out that those organizations usually have the funds to cover initial over-head for these types of events. Not to mention the countless volunteer man hours their supporters lend to help.
So I set out to create a platform that would bring this level of fundraising to groups, teams, schools, and organizations regardless of their resources.
2. How has your vision for Moolathon changed from inception to now?
My vision for Moolathon is ever-evolving! We are constantly listening to customers and exploring new verticals. 2 years ago we focused primarily on motivating consumers to get fit, by allowing them to raise money for the causes they care most about. While that is still a core offering of our product, we are now leaning into corporate partnerships by providing companies an engaging wellness solution, that also has lasting impact on the organizations, causes, and communities they support. The Moolathon Employee Wellness program is a vertical I never even imagined then, but it’s where the business has taken us.
3. Have there been significant technology challenges you’ve encountered that have impacted your business?
The fitness industry presents it’s own unique set of technological challenges that we have faced, and continue to work to resolve to this day. The profile of a fitness customer is someone who has tried several different fitness-tracking devices, and many different fitness logging platforms before they’ve decided where they want their data to live. Convincing them to change that, or try something new is a nearly impossible task. Integrating with other platforms and capturing data outside of our application is a challenge, but something we anticipate having to continue working on.
4. Tell us about the growth Moolathon has experienced over the last few years. What has been the biggest win?
We now have over 6000 active users and have hosted over 500 fitness fundraisers on the platform. We also have some exciting new partnerships in the works that will grow those numbers exponentially.
To date, TechStars is shaping up to be our biggest win thus far. We have already made some great connections for future business, and have access to individuals and rooms that would have been much harder to get into just a couple of months ago!
5. What do you think is the biggest misconception about being a startup founder?
I am not too familiar with all the misconceptions of startup founders, but I do know we are often viewed as an eccentric bunch. I think this is simply because it takes a specific person to view problems in ways that others may not have before, and then be absolutely relentless in providing a solution that solves that problem! As a startup founder you have to be comfortable being uncomfortable. There are inevitable setbacks and roadblocks you have to endure that could make most view you as a glutton for punishment… I’m built for it!
6. If you could go back and tell your younger self one thing about success, what would it be?
Success is a moving target… even if you hit it… it’s for only a fleeting moment before the target has relocated further down the road! Enjoy the journey. Expect no destination!
7. How has Amplify impacted your entrepreneurial experience here in Louisville?
Amplify is a necessary and much needed resource for entrepreneurs like myself here in Louisville. Although our startup ecosystem is blossoming, we are not necessarily known for our startup culture. So while founders from here may have ideas and businesses that are just as big as any other ecosystem in the world, they probably also have more questions and potential road blocks to build and scale out of this region.
This is where Amplify comes in! They bring together a community of knowledgeable and like-minded individuals, that can connect the dots to Amplify your mission inside, and outside of this region.
They have played a major role in making Louisville’s startup ecosystem thrive today, and I am sure they will continue to do so as Louisville becomes one of the best startup cities in the world!
Learn more about Moolathon: www.moolathon.com