Community Action

Groundbreakers MailChimp

Illustration by Israel G. Vargas

A marketing automation and email marketing cornerstone for small businesses, Mailchimp might be the most familiar name in Atlanta tech. The 17-year-old brand is instantly recognizable thanks to its colorful billboards, murals, and hyperlocal involvement in events like the Pride Parade and the Inman Park Festival. Its “sponsorship” of the city also includes support for programs such as Truly Living Well, Literacy Action, and the Atlanta Music Project.

Cofounders Ben Chestnut and Dan Kurzius both came from entrepreneurial families that saw success and failure. “Having seen my father’s business fail and what it did to me and my family, I’ve had this strong desire to help others. We want to more align with the underdog,” says Kurzius.

Mailchimp’s customers are primarily small businesses like the ones Chestnut and Kurzius grew up around. By actively listening to their clientele and adapting quickly to suit customers’ needs, Mailchimp has found success. “Quote the customer,” both Chestnut and Kurzius repeat. With a stable business in place, they have begun giving back. “It’s like the oxygen mask,” explains Chestnut. “Put it on yourself before you can help others. There’s a lot of wisdom in that.” Chestnut and Kurzius began looking at where their small-business customers and employees lived. “We’ve always had this attitude that after 5 p.m., our employees go home and live in those communities, so we should support them,” Chestnut says.

The company also recently launched Mailchimp Community College, a leadership program that empowers employees to discover new projects worth supporting. Says Chestnut, “We’re not afraid to make bold investments in the community.”

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This article originally appeared in our November 2018 issue.