Last week, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) announced a generous grant to protocols.io, our open access platform where scientists can share and discover detailed science methods. We have been working with CZI for a year now in support of their first grantees. The grant is intended to strengthen and expand this collaboration.\n\u00a0\nMany note how lucky we are at protocols.io to have funding from philanthropic foundations because, in contrast to venture capital, grants do not require giving up company equity. This is true, but few people realize just how great an impact such backing can have on a new platform or initiative. At protocols.io, we feel more than lucky. It is likely that without these funders, protocols.io would be nowhere near our current level of adoption by the research community, even if we had raised double or triple the capital from private investors. This is because funders can help a new initiative -- as CZI, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation (GBMF), and the Open Philanthropy Project have done for us -- \u00a0on many levels. These funders have increased our visibility, encouraged trust, and helped to refine the product to meet the needs of researchers.\n\u00a0\nMany first-time founders start like we did: with a naive assumption that word-of-mouth alone is enough to make a new platform go viral. This is, unfortunately, a myth. We quickly learned after launching protocols.io just how hard it is to gain visibility without millions of dollars for marketing. Moreover, we discovered that profiles of protocols.io in Forbes, TechCrunch, and VentureBeat do almost nothing to steer scientists towards a new resource (that\u2019s because scientists don\u2019t read tech news; I certainly didn\u2019t as a graduate student). So when a funder mentions you at a conference or encourages grantees to adopt your resource, it is outreach and promotion of startup dreams.\n\u00a0\nWhile stimulating awareness around a new resource is a big challenge, an even harder task is getting scientists to create an account after they hear about your initiative. Part of the reason is the lack of trust that a new platform you visited today will be alive tomorrow. This is a legitimate worry, as the vast majority of startups fail. This reality isn\u2019t only a problem in venture-backed tech startups. Just as experiments in research itself, great new experiments in science communication often fail. For example, there were multiple unsuccessful early efforts to create a biology preprint server, to encourage post-publication commenting, and to create a protocol repository (I describe some of this history in Science Publishing Innovation: Why Do So Many Good Ideas Fail?). Support from foundations considerably reduces scientists\u2019 reasonable concerns about the longevity of new platforms. \n\u00a0\nEqually as important is the effect foundations can have on the development of the product itself! Our first grant from the Moore Foundation came soon after the launch of protocols.io, when we had just a fraction of the functionality available today. The foundation connected us to their research community, under the guidance of faculty, to work on development of new features that scientists had been requesting even before protocols.io was born. Similarly, CZI has connected us to their grantees for input. This is particularly helpful because different fields and communities all have slightly different needs. For instance, until we started working with the Human Cell Atlas researchers through CZI, it never occurred to us that time stamps in the protocols.io records could be used to re-identify patients whose samples are supposed to be anonymous.\n\u00a0\nWorking closely with the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation has been an eye-opening experience for us. Some funders focus exclusively on allocating fellowships and grants. However, by recognizing their unique position and power, these funders can greatly increase the impact of their grants. This is not simply about funding new tools and resources; CZI and GBMF also put significant energy into encouraging cooperation and collaboration among their grantees (see the paper from GBMF grantees, Strength in numbers: Collaborative science for new experimental model systems, highlighting tips and lessons learned). Yes, being more involved by the funder requires time, energy, and resources, but the impact that these extra steps have on their grantees, the broader researcher community, and society in general is worth the investment; this approach to funding accelerates science.