As of Tuesday, Center City-based PolicyMap — makers of easy-to-use online mapping software — is officially a benefit corporation, ditching its nonprofit status in order to find a route to sustainable growth.
The status means a company is, sure, seeking to make a profit but it also has a social mission. The company must now file an annual report to the state as to how it served the public interest. Per PolicyMap’s president, Maggie McCullough, the status change is just the first step on its way to applying for a B Corp certification from Berwyn, Pa.-based B-Lab.
(The B Corp status is also touted by another Philly company in the geographic information systems space: Azavea.)
“When we started PolicyMap we had the idea for people to but geodata in a map it should be easy,” McCullough said. “We launched as a division of the Reinvestment Fund and were starting to get some traction in other markets. In 2012 we needed to become a self sustaining nonprofit but we need a business model. That’s not something that nonprofit world usually has, they have strategic plans.”
The exec said the benefit corporation status gives the company the structure it needs to raise capital by tapping into the growing ecosystem of impact investors.
“It also makes it clear to investors that we grow slowly and do a lot of work for free and will continue to, but we also want to increase our reach and generate enough money that we can invest in ourselves,” said McCullough.
Last year, the company had grown enough to be spun out from Reinvestment Fund, the Center City-based financier and policy research firm. PolicyMap a staff of 17 full-timers in Philly — out of the Philadelphia Building — and six in Los Angeles.