Clare Richards is the co-founder and CEO of a startup called Impacks, which supports parents and educators in accessing critical school supplies. Clare is a creative by trade with a strong love for building vibrancy through action and storytelling. She is known for her ability to kickstart initiatives, engage emerging leaders, and lead passionate teams to accomplish ambitious goals.
“There’s something very special about being in a community where you can truly have an impact through volunteerism and advocacy. There’s a level of accountability that comes from living in a community in which you truly know your neighbors. “
Impacks, co-founded by Clare Richards, is a tech-powered company that simplifies the way parents and educators access critical supplies for students. Their platform and products improve the back-to-school shopping experience for parents, saving them time and money. Simultaneously, they support teachers by customizing solutions to fit their specific classroom needs to ensure they have the right materials to create optimal learning environments without having to spend their own money on supplies.
Tell us about Impacks and your mission.
“Impacks offers customized, prepackaged school supply kits offered at less than half the national average cost. Through the checkout process, we galvanize parents and community members with the means to donate to support their school. Impacks matches a portion of each donation made. Additionally, we often work directly with schools to help them with bulk supply orders through our excellent negotiated wholesale pricing.”
“Impacks primary works with middle and elementary schools, and is free for schools to implement. Our goal is to give schools a way to offer convenience and cost savings to their families. We launched our pilot year in 2020, and have been growing since then. In 2022, we saw nearly a 500% growth compared to the prior year. We currently serve schools across Minnesota, and we are forecasted to grow to a six-state region in 2023.”
What are your entrepreneurial highs and lows?
“The entrepreneurial journey is not for the faint of heart. I’ve been fortunate to have excellent examples of hard working entrepreneurs in my life. My paternal grandpa started and ran a successful technology company called Systems Engineering Solutions, Inc. in the 90s, and my maternal grandpa started a book publishing company called Neumann Press in the 80s. While both sadly passed before I began my own entrepreneurial journey, I know the example they set still drives my decisions today.”
What is the most important lesson you’ve learned throughout your entrepreneurial journey?
“There’s no way Impacks would exist if Brandon and I didn’t have our network of supporters. We’ve spent the last decade gaining credibility in the Greater St. Cloud Region through our professional and volunteer work. We were able to leverage that credibility, and our established network, to start Impacks. We’ve been lucky to participate in startup programs like ILT Academy, gBeta, and BETA. We also have incredible professional partners, like our legal team at Moss & Barnett, our financial partners at Bergan KDV, and our banking partners at Kensington Bank. All of our professional partners are invested in the startup community, and have been instrumental in our growth as a company. ”
Impacks is officially a part of the Fargo-Moorhead founder family. How can our community support you in your next stage of growth?
“We would LOVE to be in elementary and middle schools across Fargo! Our current school partners and parent customers love what we bring to the table, and we want to bring that same solution to North Dakota. Introductions to principals, superintendents, PTO/PTA chairs, and other influential positions within elementary and middle schools is the best way to support Impacks! ”
What are you grateful for today?
“Today I’m grateful for our team. It’s long been our dream to bring others into this wild startup, and we just added our first three employees in February, 2023. I’m SO grateful for their trust, effort, and support as we drive towards ambitious goals!”