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Tess Gadwa

Program Director at Givingmap.org

Computer Software

Education: Williams College
Portland, OR, USA


Tess Gadwa is Program Director of Givingmap.org. She is also founder and product architect at Lotus.fm, a music and data visualization startup.

In January 2011, Tess launched Yes Exactly Inc., specializing in rapid deployment of high quality custom sites and apps for creative professionals, early stage startups, and community organizations. Her first company incorporated in December 2012 and continues to serve customers in Massachusetts and across the United States.

She led the push to release Zappen ®, the first fully functional open source implementation of mobile visual search in August 2017. Tess has lectured in Asia, North America, and Europe about the practical and ethical implications of open source, usability, and emerging cryptocurrency standards. Tess is also the creator of Attention Based Currency and the Rosecode.io open creative franchise.

Tess has a gift for turning new ideas into usable technology. An OG "Indie Female Founder," she works tirelessly to create great, monetizable software while preserving equity and control.

She is also deeply invested in growing and expanding opportunities for collaborating among female founders. A licensed professional coach, she has a limited number of pro bono mentorship slots available for aspiring women entrepreneurs of all ages. Priority for free coaching is given to women who have experienced poverty, disability, racial discrimination, or other significant obstacles in life. All women are encouraged to apply, regardless of their gender assigned at birth.


In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Tess has shifted her focus toward providing resources directly relevant to the health crisis, with the goal of providing decision makers with better tools to improve outcomes. Tess is passionate about developing technology that provides an easy and efficient way to help communities that are the most impacted by the pandemic. The technology that she has created has a purpose of bringing our country together and is designed with the intention to change the world.

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Origin Story

Founding Yes Exactly Inc. in 2011 was Tess's crash course in the world of global entrepreneurship. She answered a market need for custom content-managed websites, bespoke apps, and full-service managed hosting. In the company's first decade, clients included the legal industry, early stage startups, government, healthcare, and nonprofits. After helping other startups succeed for over five years, Tess decided it was time to be one. She sold her first company in late 2017. As solo founder of Lotus.fm, she designs world-changing software that is both intuitive and innovative. See her latest work at givingmap.org.