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AppZocial co-founders James Sun and Ben Liu. (AppZocial Photos)

AppZocial, a Seattle startup that builds native apps for “trusted communities,” like alumni groups, churches, and non-profits, just secured $1 million in angel financing.

The majority of the cash will support a new partnership with Blackbaud, a South Carolina-based company that makes software for the kinds of groups AppZocial already caters to. Under the agreement, AppZocial will build native apps for Blackbaud customers and data from those apps will be integrated into the Blackbaud CRM.

“Blackbaud’s a pure integration and distribution space for us,” said AppZocial CEO James Sun. “They’re the gorilla of that industry and so if they say that this is a good solution, what tends to happen is all these organizations listen to them.”

Sun is a University of Washington grad and serial entrepreneur. Before AppZocial, he founded restaurant deals startup Pirq and led it through an acquisition by iPayment in 2014.

But Sun is probably best-known as a finalist on President Trump’s former reality show “The Apprentice.”

Previously: Seattle entrepreneur who starred on Donald Trump’s ‘Apprentice’ expresses fear, optimism after election

While he was running Pirq, Sun invested in a seed round for Anomo, a dating app founded by Ben Liu. It proved to be a promising business relationship; the two went on to co-found AppZocial together.

AppZocial employs 11 out of its downtown Seattle headquarters. The startup will still continue building custom apps for clients outside the Blackbaud network. Sun declined to name the angel investor backing the new company.

“Overall it’s the trend that mobile apps have been very, very prevalent for consumers and so the consumer expectation of their experience is extremely high because they’re used to Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter,” said Sun. “A lot of these traditional organizations, like higher ed, non-profits, associations, they don’t have the budget, nor do they have the experience, to deliver consumer-expected experiences that are at the high level that’s out there today. That’s one of the things that’s driving our business.”

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