Connect
To Top

Meet Jim Alvarez of Gesture in Westmont

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jim Alvarez.

Jim, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
In 2011, I attended a charity event and noticed them using paper bid sheets. People would come and make a bid, then they’d start socializing and never really have a chance to go back to check and see if they’ve been outbid. There were also long lines at checkout, and after spending the evening donating to and celebrating a cause, the last thing you want to do is wait in line to pay. I knew there had to be a better way to process bids and donations. I started doing research on better ways to run a silent auction and ended up starting in the mobile fundraising business by licensing technology. Our first year, we did about 50 events, and we’ve grown so much since then. Approximately, three years after that, I brought in our CTO Rich Aquino to create our proprietary platform to make it even better.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Nothing about entrepreneurship is easy, and I highly doubt any entrepreneur has had a smooth road. Our struggle was in that we started out licensing other technology, and we didn’t have control so if the system went down, we were at the will of the other technology. Once Rich came on board and we built our own, it’s been a lot smoother.

We’re constantly innovating to make our product work better for our charity partners, and now we have control over that whole process.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Gesture is a mobile fundraising company; our technology platform is packed with tools that allow you to fully manage your fundraising campaigns. These products make it easier for donors to give and reaches them where they’re most engaged: on their mobile devices. It also makes it easier for our charity partners to analyze event data to make improvements in the future. We’re most proud that we’re going to raise $1,000,000,000 for charity partners over the span of 6 years (2015-2021).

Gesture’s technology is different from others because we don’t require that users have an app to participate in giving; they can give from their cell phone and they can give from anywhere in the world. Our motto is “make hope happen” and that’s our number one priority. We go the extra mile to make a fundraising initiative a success for all charity partners, whether it’s providing them with our event planning and item acquisition resources, or answering the phone late on a Saturday night to go over the details again.

What were you like growing up?
I enjoyed sports and competition and looking for creative ideas to have fun lead me to being an entrepreneur.

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: VoyageChicago is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in

  • Chicago’s Most Inspiring Stories

    Every neighborhood in Chicago has its own vibe, style, culture and history, but what consistently amazes us is not what differentiates...

    voyagechicago staffSeptember 19, 2017
  • Fun Things to do in Chicago in September

    The editorial team shares some of the most noteworthy events in Chicago over the next few weeks. Check them out below...

    voyagechicago staffSeptember 15, 2017
  • Suggested For You

    Dave Mason, one of the founders of the Cusp Conference, shares his unique perspective with us below. I have seen the...

    Dave MasonSeptember 1, 2017
  • Local Ramen to Warm Your Soul

    There is nary a soul that seeks not the warmth of ramen in the windy winters.  However, some ramen is so...

    voyagechicago staffJuly 8, 2017
  • The Best Latte Art in Chicagoland

    One hallmark of a truly advanced society is the ease with which one can find latte art. Friends, we have much...

    voyagechicago staffJune 29, 2017
  • 15 Amazing Female Founders Changing the World

    Meet 15 incredible women who aren’t letting the world hold them back. They’ve built hugely successful businesses, created thousands of jobs...

    voyagechicago staffApril 10, 2017
  • Seasons of Love

    Kadam Malik, relationship guru and entrepreneur, shares his thoughts about love, romance and dating in the city. I find myself in...

    voyagechicago staffMarch 22, 2017
  • Meet Lynzie Wellin of Lyfe Style Win in Lakeview

    Today we’d like to introduce you to Lynzie Wellin. Lynzie, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you...

    voyagechicago staffMarch 19, 2017
  • Life is Uncertain. Have Dessert Every Day

    The Top Desserts in Chicago– handpicked by our editors – one for each day of the week 🙂 1. Smores &...

    voyagechicago staffFebruary 8, 2017