This post was meant to be written in 2023: Atlassian acquires Halp

When we sat down with Fletcher Richman, CEO and co-founder of Halp, back in 2018, he told us it’d take 5-7 years to make good on their commitment to the community through Pledge 1% Colorado. Yet here we are, in 2020, reading Atlassian’s headline, “Announcing our acquisition of Halp,” with a Fast Company article in tow.

As the news is echoed throughout our startup community this morning, we’re reminded of a conversation we had two years ago with Fletcher where we asked him some questions about why he made the Pledge and what he thought about philanthropy as an early stage startup.

But before we dive into his response that has continued to inspire our work today, it’s worth mentioning some of the backstory for why this acquisition is so meaningful.

Atlassian, the Australian-based company that provides software development, project management, and content management tools for enterprise companies, was inspired by Salesforce’s commitment to their community through founder Marc Benioff’s pioneering 1-1-1 Pledge. Scott Farquhar, co-founder and co-CEO writes about their own Pledge journey,

“You know that you’re standing on the shoulders of entrepreneurs before you–not to mention every teacher, mentor, social program, friend, and family member who has supported your journey thus far. You want to express your gratitude in a tangible way, but know that you’ve got to stay laser-focused on getting your company off the ground.

Pledging to give back makes that dilemma go away.”

The above quote came from a blog post Farquhar wrote at the end of 2014 when we (then the Entrepreneurs Foundation of Colorado) joined forces with Atlassian, Salesforce, and the Tides Foundation, to launch Pledge 1%, a now global movement with thousands of members across the world committed to making an impact on their community through their business.

Our roots, like Atlassian’s, are tied back to Benioff as well. When Boulder-based, Rally Software (which IPO’d in 2013), decided to find a model that tied the success of the company with an opportunity to give back to the community, it was Benioff’s 1-1-1 Pledge that inspired them to set aside 1% of equity early on in their business. Rally’s 1% of equity turned into $1.4M and gave way to thousands of companies following in their footsteps.

That early commitment by Rally turned into what is now the Pledge 1% movement, and Pledge 1% Colorado locally, which brings us back to two years ago and our chat with Fletcher who joined early on Pledge after starting the company.

Halp (then BubbleIQ – we think the name change was a great move too), was just starting to find some success in building their help desk ticketing solution built atop of Slack when we sat down with him to talk about philanthropy and what he hoped to get out of Pledge.

“I don’t know, to be honest with you,” Richman started, “but what I do know is that in 5 to 7 years, when this company has become something much bigger than the idea it is today, there will be a growing need in our community—and we want to be in a position to support that need directly.”

We expected to be writing this post in 2023, but what’s a couple years amongst friends?

Kudos to Fletcher, Tristan, Komran, and the rest of their mighty team for an incredible 3 year journey. We look forward to being your partners in philanthropy as we navigate this uncharted territory, and move forward together as a community.

If you’d like to learn more about how to make a difference in your community, check out our website (Pledge 1% Colorado) or e-mail our Director Matt Zwiebel (matt@pledge1colorado.org).

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