Matchmaker, 22, Behind A $13.5M Volunteering Phenomenon
May’s startup connects companies that want to help nonprofits
May Piamenta started her own business when she was 13. Nine years later she’s CEO of Vee, a corporate volunteering startup that works with over 500 clients, and has brought in $13.5 million of investment.
Her first business was an eCommerce shop for girls’ swimwear, which she set up because deliveries were too slow in Dimona, the desert city where she grew up.
“I think I was born with this fire,” she tells NoCamels, “When I see something that I want to do or I want to change, I try it. I don’t necessarily know that I will succeed, but I definitely try.”
Today she’s taken on the role of matchmaker, building the world’s biggest volunteering platform in the world, pairing up companies with nonprofits so that together they can make a difference.
“We started to roll and I started to recruit the team. Important to know, I was still in the army. I was hopping on Skype calls from my base, talking with people, trying to get them to Vee,” she says.
She says she had a work ethic instilled in her from a very young age. She launched Pineapple, her online swimwear business, ran it for a year with employees and a delivery system, then sold it on at the age of 14. She became interested in robotics and took a keen interest in entrepreneurship.
She encountered nonprofits that needed help, and companies that wanted to offer it, and realized there was a need for a matchmaker to connect them. After her army service with the IDF, Piamenta set up a business building websites from start to finish in 24 hours and within six months she had enough money to launch Vee.
The Vee platform hosts a wide range of volunteering opportunities, from youth mentoring to animal welfare to food aid and environmental initiatives. It has built a unique customer relationship management (CRM) system that offers teams, organizations, companies, and individuals the opportunities to work with more than 500 nonprofits to do good for the community.
Vee makes its money by helping companies arrange end-to-end volunteering experiences in a few clicks, without the need to call or email a single nonprofit.
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The company currently works with 500 employers in 20 countries, including eBay, Booking.com, Salesforce, Columbia University, Papaya Global and Natural Intelligence. It is also eyeing operations in New York and is working with large US large nonprofits including the American Cancer Society, the American Diabetes Association, the Red Cross, and the I Have A Dream Foundation.
Piamenta says Vee screens every nonprofit seeking volunteer help and vets every single activity. This is eventually going to be automatic. “Customers come and work with us because of the huge number of diverse missions that we have around the world,” Piamenta says.
Piamenta says there are some very important reasons why Vee is a valuable resource and needs to exist.
“Our world is going through difficult times. The number of people who need help is just growing, but the number of people who want to help is growing, too. Our generation is very keen and willing to help, they just don’t know how. And we are going to answer this. It’s what we strive to do,” she says.
“We help people to find ways to feel better, to show off what they do, to make other people around them do the same, so we have accomplished what we wanted. But it’s not just about sitting in our office and seeing the revenue go up. We see the impact. That is something that can fuel us for months.”
Earlier this year, the startup announced that it has raised $12 million in a Seed round, on top of $1.5 million in a Pre-Seed round in December 2020. She founded Vee in 2020 at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and brought in her uncle Gil Amsalem to be chief technical officer.