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Jim McCarthy, Dan Shorett, Skylar Agnew and Mike Mccarthy

At this time of year, it is important to remember the importance of giving back. So, in the spirit of the season, our featured Startup Spotlight this week is Deals4Dreams.

The company has a simple mission: help good causes raise awareness, communicate with their supporters and raise money through daily deals.

Founded by Jim McCarthy, Dan Shorett, Skylar Agnew and Mike Mccarthy, the company is currently working with non-profits such as the Humane Society, the Navy Seal Foundation and the Lenny Wilkens Foundation. Here’s more from the 16-month-old Bellevue startup.

Explain what you do so our parents can understand it:  “We power a network of co-branded websites that increase awareness and financial support for a variety of non-profits. Charity members and supporters regularly receive emails that enhance awareness and encourage social sharing. Aggregated daily deals in over 600 cities grab attention and supporter affinity encourages purchases with fifty percent of the resulting net revenue going to the supporter’s favorite charity.”

Inspiration hit us when: Doing good became our first priority. We recognized that many charities faced hardship during the recessionary economy. We hypothesized that we could mobilize inactive charitable supporter base (the ‘silent 90 percent’) if we empowered them to easily benefit their cause by doing what they were probably already doing – – that is, buying daily deals from daily deal websites.”

VC, Angel or Bootstrap: “Bootstrap — so we pilot the Enterprise for now!”

Our ‘secret sauce’ is: Simple, everybody has to win. Our non-profits win (increased awareness and support), local merchants win (increase trade from a great demographic) and charitable supporters win (not only by getting good deals, but also psychically by becoming “consumers with conscience”).”

The smartest move we’ve made so far: “Assembling a management group of highly disparate but oddly complementary talents.”

The biggest mistake we’ve made so far: “Assembling a highly odd group of disparate talents.”

Would you rather have Gates, Jobs, Zuckerberg or Bezos in your corner:  “Jobs, for his ability to foresee needs that did not yet exist.”

Our world domination strategy starts when: “After double checking, world domination is not yet one of our core values.”

Rivals should fear us because: “Deals4Dreams activates deal-purchaser motivation by appealing to email recipients’ affinity to their chosen charity. After set up, our basic service is provided free of charge to charities while offering up an expanding array of member communication tools and support allowing non-profits to devote more attention to their primary mission.”

We are truly unique because: “We aren’t in it for the money (at least not for now).”

The biggest hurdle we’ve overcome is: “Establishing credibility among high end foundations when we were new on the scene.”

What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to other entrepreneurs just starting out: “Leave your assumptions at the door – – assume nothing.”

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