Press & Media
THE TUESDAY COMPANY WINS FOUR 2019 POLLIE AWARDS
We are proud to announce that The Tuesday Company won four 2019 Pollie Awards. These awards are for the Best Use of New Technology, the Best Use of Mobile Technology, the Best Grassroots Program - Public Affairs & Issue Advocacy, and the Best Use of a Mobile App. These awards honor the exceptional work Sean Casten for Congress and Stand Up for Ohio did on our app, Team.
The Pollie Awards are hosted by the American Association of Political Consultants. Since only 22% of entries earned a Pollie this year, we are grateful to learn we earned ‘the Oscar of politics’ in all four categories in which we were nominated.
Team’s voter contact tools were critical to Sean Casten’s field-margin victory. Organizers directed volunteers to personally message their friends text and Facebook Messenger. Casten’s organizers used Team to match volunteers to 49,109 potential voters and send thousands of friend-to-friend messages to new voters. Team empowered Sean Casten for Congress to meet voters where they are: on social media, on smartphones, and online to bring community-based field organizing to our digital world.
Stand Up for Ohio used Team to organizing around a 2018 ballot initiative. Staffers built community by encouraging volunteers to share personal stories through Team. Through this narrative-based organizing, supporters recognized their own experiences in Stand Up for Ohio’s stories. Through this strategy Stand Up for Ohio earned more than 89,000 relational content views. By rapidly sending personalized welcome messages to new volunteers and relevant opportunities for those new volunteers to engage, Stand Up for Ohio’ laid the foundation for a powerful digital community.
In 2019, we’re excited to build upon that momentum by continuing to support the work of campaigns, nonprofits, advocacy organizations, union and - critically - empower engaged citizens across the country. Thank you to everyone who believes in our mission and has supported along the way.
THE TUESDAY COMPANY WINS TWO 2019 REED AWARDS
We are proud to announce that The Tuesday Company won Reed Awards for Best Use Of Mobile Technology and Best Use of SMS - Democratic! The Reed Awards recognize excellence in political campaigning and celebrates leadership, innovation, and achievement across the industry. We are delighted to be selected as winners in these categories.
During the 2018 Midterms, our app, Team, was deployed by the DCCC as a central part of their strategy to Take Back The House. Team was used across the nation to support thousands of Democratic and progressive candidates, and through the efforts of our incredible partners, helped flip 32 House seats from Red to Blue.
In 2019, we’re excited to build upon our momentum. By serving campaigns, nonprofits, advocacy organizations, and unions, we will expand our community as we continue to use relational organizing for the greater good. Thank you to everyone who believes in our mission and has supported along the way.
Read more about the 2019 Reed Awards here: https://www.campaignsandelections.com/campaign-insider/2019-reed-award-winners
February 25, 2019
POWER OF DIGITAL FIELD TOOLS WITH MICHAEL LUCIANI Power of Digital Field Tools with Michael Luciani The Tuesday Company
Our CEO, Michael Luciani, joined Karen Jagoda for a chat on The Digital Politics Podcast. The interview begins with a reflection on Team’s impact during the 2018 Midterms after the DCCC deployed it nationally. Michael shared that part of Team’s success was our partners’ use of the app to create powerful digital communities by engaging supporters online. This was made possible by Team Chat - a community building feature that empowered organizers to have thousands of conversations with volunteers. By making Team a core part of their digital strategy, our partners used relational organizing to build online communities, activate diverse supporters, and flip the House from Red to Blue.
Listen to the full episode here: https://bit.ly/2NPlvlO
December 10, 2018
THE GREAT BATTLEFIELD PODCAST: 2018 MIDTERM POSTMORTEM PART 8 WITH SHOLA FARBER, KURT BAGLEY, & WILL KATZ (EPISODE 235)
In Part 8 of our midterm election postmortem series, we're taking a look at The Tuesday Company's "Team" app, and the role it played in races across the country. We're joined by Shola Farber, Tuesday's Co-founder and COO; Kurt Bagley, who placed the app in targeted districts as the Field Director of the DCCC; and Will Katz, who used Team while serving as Field Director for Sean Casten's successful campaign for US congress in Illinois. | Episode 235
Listen to the full episode here: http://www.resistancedashboard.com/node/494
November 7, 2018
CAMPAIGNS & ELECTIONS: TEXT EMERGED AS A TOP TOOL IN 2018 AS DEMOCRATS TAKE HOUSE, GOP HOLDS SENATE
[…] Practitioners on both sides were left to assess a mixed result Tuesday as the 2018 midterms showcased the power of new digital tools and, at least some, ongoing concern over the state of survey research.
A big story for Democrats in the aftermath of this midterm will be how well their new platforms performed, some of which came out of their side’s tech incubator infrastructure. The Tuesday Company’s Team app, a platform that got a DCCC contract after it received funding and support from incubator Higher Ground Labs, noted that text was the most popular channel for its volunteers.
Of the 27,259 direct messages to voters sent by volunteers through Team, 87.9 percent of messages were SMS texts, the company said.
The runner-up was Facebook Messenger, which handled 6.4 percent of the messages, followed by calls and then emails. “The most successful message sent from all the DCCC House races was the most succinct: ‘What's up? Did you vote?’” the company said Tuesday.
November 6, 2018
WIRED: DEMOCRATS UBER-IZED ACTIVISM, CAN IT WIN THEM THE MIDTERMS?
A startup called Tuesday Company is working on 70 races in collaboration with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Its app, Team, lets volunteers see which of their friends a campaign wants to reach. Users upload their contact lists, and campaigns compare those lists to their own voter files. Then, users can send personalized text messages to the people selected by the campaign. By encouraging volunteers to text people they actually know, Team's creators believe they can more effectively cut through the noise before Election Day. (That includes the noise generated by all the other peer-to-peer texting apps that have exploded in popularity this cycle—some with serious privacy and security issues).
The idea for Team was born out of CEO Michael Luciani and COO Shola Farber's own experience working for the Hillary Clinton campaign in Michigan. Volunteers would come into their office and ask about different apps they wanted to use to get out the vote. Luciani says he would inevitably shoot them down, because there was no way to integrate those apps into the campaign's existing structure. With Team, all of the data volunteer texters collect go back into the Democratic voter file.
Farber says having a robust network of volunteers is a strategic advantage for Democrats. It's one reason that fewer of these grassroots tools exist on the right, with the exception of a company called uCampaign, which has built voter-facing apps for Donald Trump's 2016 campaign and the Republican National Committee. "Democrats spend an enormous amount of time and money recruiting volunteers because we have them, frankly," adds Farber.
All this decentralization could also lead to chaos if not managed properly. Hendler acknowledges, for instance, that the party has a lot of work to do to unify and clean up all the data that these startups have collected over the last two years. Ideally that data would go to the Democratic party, although privacy and competitive concerns could complicate things. But if this is in fact a wave election for Democrats, it's crucial to the party's long-term future to capture insights about all the new people who turned out to support it.
Of course, that's still a big if. There's no guarantee that all this activism is going to make a meaningful difference for Democrats on Tuesday. And even if Democrats do win back the House of Representatives or flip a few state legislatures from red to blue, it doesn't mean all of these nifty new tech tools should automatically get the credit. Determining their impact requires a much deeper analysis. After the election, the creators of Team, for one, plan to compare the campaigns where volunteers were most active on the platform with the campaigns where they weren't to see which performed best.
"If those people do better, or failed less than everyone else, that's really meaningful for us," says Luciani of Tuesday Company. And if they don't? "Then I guess we should just pack up and go home."
Read the entire article at: https://www.wired.com/story/democrats-activism-apps-midterm-elections/
November 5, 2018
FAST COMPANY: THESE STARTUPS, PLATFORMS, AND APPS HOPE TO DELIVER THE BLUE WAVE
Tuesday Company’s Team app has seen considerable pickup among Democratic campaigns this cycle because of its broad approach to relational organizing. Like OutVote and VoteWithMe, Team identifies key people in the user’s personal networks and lets them connect with them via text, email, phone, or Facebook Messenger. But Team’s central goal seems to be enlisting volunteers and supporters to share pieces of content and messaging (like new campaign videos) out to their Facebook networks.
“In Team there is a leader board that provides a much better sense of accountability,” said Caitlin Mitchell, the Democratic National Committee’s chief mobilization officer. “If you have a group of volunteers it allows you to quantify how many people were reached, and the total social reach, and it allows the campaign to see this.”
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) announced that Democratic campaigns in each of its targeted House races is using Teams for social engagement. The DCCC and Tuesday Company are aiming to use the app as a tool to turn out young people, people of color, and low-income voters–all groups who don’t typically show up for midterm elections.Tuesday Company says it expects that when the midterms are over more than a million voters will have been contacted via Team by thousands of volunteers.
Read the entire article at: https://www.fastcompany.com/90255542/these-startups-platforms-and-apps-hope-to-deliver-the-blue-wave
October 29, 2018
TECHCRUNCH: A DIGITAL REVOLUTION IS RESHAPING DEMOCRATIC CAMPAIGNS
Two weeks before the 2016 election, Bloomberg’s Joshua Green and Sasha Issenberg published a story about Trump’s brash, self-aggrandizing digital team. Democrats treated the story as evidence of the Trump campaign’s utter cluelessness, until he won.
For months after, coverage of Trump’s tech and digital strategy dominated headlines. Those stories had consequences: Facebook locked down its user data; Cambridge Analytica folded; and a wave of startups, including my own, emerged to help progressives mobilize online.
A change is coming to the Democratic Party, and for some campaigns, it’s already here. I’ve seen it firsthand. As part of my job I’ve personally visited dozens of the most competitive and best-staffed races in the country, giving me a unique perspective on the state of the party. With a few notable exceptions, like Obama’s campaigns, Democratic campaigns have treated digital media exclusively as a way to acquire new emails for fundraising lists and to advertise in the same way they do on TV. Digital media has been detached from the practice of “organizing” (i.e. direct voter contact). A handful of innovative House, Senate and governor’s campaigns are changing this.
These campaigns treat digital not just as a place to spam eyeballs, but as a space for organizing. The rest of the party would benefit from following their lead. In your own life, is it more meaningful to get a fundraising email and see an ad on Facebook, or to have a real conversation with someone you know?
These campaigns have made that switch by taking responsibility for engaging voters and volunteers online away from an isolated “digital” department and putting it at the core of their field team’s strategy.
The Field team on a campaign is responsible for recruiting volunteers to knock on doors and call you during dinner. Field organizers are the underpaid, overworked foot soldiers of Democratic organizing. By giving them license to engage online, and the tools to do so effectively, successful Democratic campaigns are meeting their constituents where they are today: on their smartphones via text and social media.
Read the entire article at: https://techcrunch.com/2018/10/29/a-digital-revolution-is-reshaping-democratic-campaigns/
October 23, 2018
DCCC UNLEASHES 65,000 DIGITAL ORGANIZERS AHEAD OF MIDTERMS
New Partnership with Team App Gives Dems Online Advantage Over GOP
(Washington, D.C.) - Today, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) announced a partnership with the Team app to cultivate 65,000 digital volunteers to support 100+ of DCCC’s most competitive midterm races including: IL-06 (Sean Casten), VA-10 (Jennifer Wexton), and AZ-02 (Ann Kirkpatrick).
Team, developed by Higher Ground Labs-backed startup The Tuesday Company, boasts a 75% success rate for voter engagement -- substantially higher than traditional campaign outreach tactics. The app gives volunteers the ability to harness the power of social media posts, texts, and Facebook messages to engage their personal networks and encourage them to vote for progressive candidates.
“The Team app empowers our volunteers and supporters to organize their friends and families,” said DCCC National Field Director Kurt Bagley. Whether it’s texting their friends to make sure they’re turning in their ballots or sharing a campaign’s post on Facebook, the Team app helps our supporters persuade the people they know best, turn them out to vote, and be a part of winning campaigns across the country.”
140,000 volunteers in 25+ states will use the Team App this cycle to support congressional, senate, gubernatorial, and state coordinated campaigns.
“As a field staffer, I found that conversations between friends were at the heart of volunteer recruitment and voter mobilization,” said The Tuesday Company CEO Michael Luciani. “That's why I built Team, an app that lets campaigns and advocacy groups turn their volunteers and members into digital organizers. Team lets volunteers meet voters where they're at: online and on their phones.”
With just 17 days left until Election Day, thousands of digital volunteers will be signing up to use Team over the coming days and weeks. The app will also continue to bring on new partner organizations, state parties, and campaigns that are looking to be a part of the go-to tool for digital organizing.
October 7, 2018
NEW JERSEY CANDIDATES TURN TO APP THAT HELPS BUILD TRUST RELATIONSHIPS
The app called “Team,” created by The Tuesday Company (New York and Washington, D.C.), is changing how campaign professionals and volunteers participate in politics in New Jersey.
With voting day right around the corner, on November 6, the group that developed Team is helping campaigns in New Jersey use existing technology and relationships to reach more people more efficiently and effectively.
Team is currently working with the campaigns of three New Jersey Democratic candidates for Congress Andy Kim (NJ-03), Tom Malinowski (NJ-07 and Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11) with a combined 350-plus volunteers using the Team technology.
Cofounder and CEO Michael Luciani said, “The sacred, traditional methods of voter registration have been very effective. Cold calling and knocking on doors builds trust and relationships face to face.” The Team app supplements those methods with technology.
The app works through Facebook messenger and text messages, which can access like-minded citizens more efficiently. Campaign volunteers contact people they talk to every day, such as friends, family members and neighbors, to share campaign information, graphics and videos to encourage them to register to vote. In New Jersey, the deadline to register to vote either by mail or in person is Oct. 16.
Luciani said that this “friend-to-friend” communication method can be twice as effective as traditional outreach methods. He gave the example of a volunteer calling 50 people over the phone. That volunteer may end up having five conversations that may or may not result in even one person registering to vote. However, during a 10-minute break, the same volunteer can quickly text or send a direct message to 10 contacts, or even share it on his or her Facebook wall, and immediately reach far more people.
The 2016 election inspired Luciani and his colleagues to take action to support Democratic campaigns and their constituents. “We’re pretty ideologically motivated to help certain demographics get access to voting in our next election.”
Read the entire article at: http://njtechweekly.com/2018/10/07/new-jersey-candidates-turn-to-app-that-helps-build-trust-relationships/
August 20, 2018
TEN BIG SILICON VALLEY MONEY PLAYERS BEHIND THIS NOVEMBER'S U.S. MIDTERM ELECTIONS
Recently, Team was given in a shoutout in Recode's recent article profiling investor Chris Sacca:
"That’s a departure from his history; in the 2016 cycle, Sacca and his wife, Crystal English Sacca, were major donors to Hillary Clinton’s campaign. But this cycle, his giving to candidates is modest. Now Sacca’s team is elevating a series of startups that try to generate votes more cheaply, including many that came out of Higher Ground Labs, an incubator for political tech groups. Some Sacca-backed groups include MobilizeAmerica, an organizing platform that links volunteers to advocacy efforts, and Team, an app that campaigns can use to organize their activists. Together with his wife, Sacca says he’s given millions this cycle to organizations on the left.
'Starting the day after the 2016 election, friends came to us asking ‘What do we do now?!’ Crystal and I didn’t have a good answer, so we got to work looking for the best places to invest our time and money,' Sacca told Recode. “We’re sharing what we learned with friends so their talents and contributions can stop this dangerous tyrant and save the country we love.”
It’s all part of an effort from Sacca to reorient his political work toward digital-minded startups and away from big-check deposits.
April 26, 2018
2018 MOBILE SOLUTION OF THE YEAR - AWARDED TO THE TUESDAY COMPANY
We are honored that Team has been recognized as Mobile Solution of the Year at the CampaignTech East Awards.
Team was dreamed up by field operatives, influencer marketers, and technologists dedicated to bridging the gap between relational organizing and digital strategy. Our app leverages the power of social networks, mobile technology, and agile data.
With Team, staffers mobilize crucial demographics by transforming supporters into digital volunteers who amplify content on Facebook; Team tracks engagement with this content to identify potential supporters and optimize future outreach. Team also allows direct, friend-to-friend contact over Facebook messenger, SMS, email, and phone calls. Team’s backend dashboard is fully integrated with VAN, helping campaigns augment voter files with reliable data and expanding target universes with accurate info on the most difficult to reach demographics of voters.
This technology is built to engage progressive-leaning voters notoriously difficult to activate through traditional field programs, particularly low-income, millennial and minority groups. Though fewer than 30% of millennial voters were directly contacted by any campaign in 2016, millennials are poised to become the largest potential voting bloc by 2020. Team helps campaigns find these crucial voters and organize their untapped potential. 88% of millennials already use Facebook for their daily communication, and they’re ready to be mobilized.
We are proud that Team contributed to a massive increase in turnout among millennial and minority voters in 2017. Rising stars such as Danica Roem and Kathy Tran both used the product in their victorious campaigns for the Virginia House of Delegates. We look forward to supporting 100+ targeted congressional and statewide candidates with Team this cycle.
1 March 2018
BLOOMBERG POLITICS: THE NRA HAS A SECRET WEAPON TO FIGHT FUN CONTROL - A POWERFUL APP
Team App...is the next wave of political organizing... “In the past, social media strategy has mostly involved memes and hashtags,” says Shola Farber, co-founder of The Tuesday Company, a startup whose Team app organizes volunteers digitally. “What the NRA is doing is different: They’re scaling and organizing volunteers through an app and mobilizing them to accomplish a task.” Farber, who worked as a regional director leading a team of field organizers in Michigan for Hillary Clinton in 2016, says it’s noteworthy that an advocacy group such as the NRA is developing organizing tools that Clinton’s presidential camp lacked and using them to influence the legislative process.
That’s why Democratic organizers are so intent on keeping up. “This technology is positioned to flourish under the new rules emerging in social media, since it gives significant advantage to anyone organizing real people,” says Michael Luciani, Farber’s fellow Tuesday Company co-founder....
25 February 2018
SALON: HOW THE NRA USES AN APP TO ORGANIZE OPPOSITION TO GUN CONTROL
An extremely popular NRA smartphone app gamifies the act of writing Congress to shoot down gun control legislation
....the same kind of online, interest group–specific organizing is emerging on the left, though it's not as prevalent — yet. A group of former Clinton campaigners have banded together to form The Tuesday Company. Their app, Team, “empowers campaigns to expand voter contact by activating the social networks of their volunteers,” in their words. Michael Luciani, the company’s CEO and founder, tells Salon they are working with advocacy groups and campaigns as clients....
Read the entire article at: https://www.salon.com/2018/02/25/how-the-nra-uses-an-app-to-organize-opposition-to-gun-control/
22 February 2018
VICTORYGUIDE WEBINAR: TECHNOLOGY FOR POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS AND MOVEMENTS
Hear how technology can help your campaign or grassroots organization achieve its political goals. From voter outreach to volunteer recruitment to information sharing, cutting edge technologies save time and effort and offer new pathways to engaging with your community.
Watch the entire webinar at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pSCnIfoW4to&feature=youtu.be
22 January 2018
THE TUESDAY COMPANY NAMED FINALIST IN 2018 REED AWARDS
We are proud to announce The Tuesday Company is a finalist in three categories for the 2018 Reed Awards! The Reed Awards recognize excellence in political campaigning and celebrate leadership, innovation, and achievement across the industry. This year’s winners will be announced at the Reed Awards Conference on February 26-27. We are delighted to be finalists for the Best New Firm, Most Innovative Product of the Year, and Best Use of Mobile Technology.
In our first year of operation, we launched our field-tested app, Team, and partnered with clients up and down the ballot to bridge field organizing and digital outreach. We built our software to help progressive campaigns amplify their message, identify new in-district voters, and optimize their outreach with organic, audience-specific message testing that identifies what content works for which voters. Along the way, we’ve worked with powerful new voices in the Democratic party and helped leaders like Danica Roem and Kathy Tran reach the Virginia House of Delegates with historic levels of turnout. We also partnered with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) to deploy Team App for their “Week of Action” last November. Team increased the number of DCCC digital volunteers by 316% in just 5 days!
We’re excited to continue sharing our vision for digital advocacy and help progressive campaigns engage voters like never before. Thank you to everyone who believed in our mission and congratulations to all the finalists for this year’s Reed Awards. We look forward to working with more inspiring campaigns, dedicated volunteers, and innovative leaders in 2018!
28 November 2017
THE GREAT BATTLEFIELD PODCAST: FINDING AND ACTIVATING HARD TO REACH VOTERS ONLINE
Tuesday Company CEO Michael Luciani recently sat down with The Great Battlefield Podcast to talk about how Team App can be used to contact hard-to-reach voters online.
Listen to the entire episode at: https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/the-great-battlefield/e/52717757
17 November 2017
CIVIC HALL: WHEN IT COMES TO FIXING POLITICS, TECH NEEDS A REALITY CHECK
The current technology and data solutions for campaigns are too complicated, segmented, and expensive to be effective. It’s clear to everyone that we need to upgrade political campaigning technology.
Campaigns are still highly dependent on siloed consultants—the direct mail vendor is typically different from the digital vendor and the TV ad vendor. This is incredibly inefficient. In addition, each individual campaign shouldn’t need to pay expensive data scientists to do their targeting; every campaign should be able to leverage the power of centralized technology to easily and intelligently craft target universes. RevUp and WealthEngine are already doing this for sales and fundraising. We need something similar for voters, too.
Even simple tools like distributed phone banking programs could be improved—campaigns are still reliant on off-the-shelf programs that fail to live up to expectations.
There’s also an important need to help campaign managers quickly identify the best set of tools for them. It’s shockingly hard for campaigns to go from zero to sixty. Candidates are given a mishmash of different tools, and almost nowhere in the country are candidates immediately handed the tools they need to successfully compete.
This is the area where we’re seeing the most innovation right now. New companies and organizations like GroundGame, The Tuesday Company, and VoterCircle are building out products as we speak and we’re excited about the potential for better and cheaper tools. This is also an opportunity area that Raffi Krikorian, the new CTO of the DNC, has taken head-on and we’re looking forward to seeing the party help campaigns small and large find the right tools.
Read the whole article at: https://civichall.org/civicist/when-it-comes-to-fixing-politics-tech-needs-a-reality-check/
13 November 2017
WE REBEL PODCAST: MAKING THE ONLINE MOVEMENT
Tuesday CEO Michael Luciani and Creative Director Josh Buoy recently sat down with the folks @ We Rebel to chat about building the online resistance.
Listen to the entire episode at: http://werebel.libsyn.com/making-the-mobile-movement-w-michael-luciani-josh-buoy
2 November 2017
BLOOMBERG BUSINESSWEEK: CAN DEMOCRATS HARNESS THE #RESISTANCE?
...Over the summer, Higher Ground Labs invested in 11 companies, many of them focused on reaching voters through mobile technology and social media. Field organizers Shola Farber, 27, and Michael Luciani, 25, who worked in Michigan for Clinton’s campaign, say this is important because two groups Democrats struggle to activate—young people and minorities—are more transient than others, making them harder to reach, since they often don’t own a landline telephone or pay for cable television.
“In the past it’s been hard to lure the brightest young minds in tech into the world of campaign politics”
Trump’s election prompted them, too, to leave their jobs and found the Tuesday Company, another HGL startup working in Virginia that’s developing “digital door-knocking” technology. While working for Clinton, Farber could see that the standard voter contact methods of door knocking, phone banking, and TV ads were not reaching many millennials. “When we talk to people via Facebook or text, they often don’t know there’s an election,” she says. A Tufts University poll taken a month before the 2016 election found that just 30 percent of millennials had been contacted by a campaign. “That’s a figure that haunts us,” says Luciani.
Tuesday’s technology aims to extend field organizing’s best practices into the digital realm. “The one thing Democrats absolutely excel at is volunteers,” says Farber. “Our system uses a bottom-up approach to built a grass-roots volunteer network among voters who aren’t being reached by traditional Democrat efforts.” Tuesday’s app, Team, allows users to share campaign content with their social network. When friends “like” or comment on a video, meme, or GIF, Tuesday learns what issues excite them and can then encourage friend-to-friend outreach. Roem’s campaign is using the technology to connect with people whose doors are harder to knock on, either because they live in private buildings, gated communities, or rural areas difficult to canvass.
Reaching voters through Facebook is particularly urgent, Luciani adds, because Trump’s campaign used the platform to send “dark posts” with negative messages to blacks and millennials to weaken their support for Clinton. “The same people that they don’t want to vote are the people we do want to vote,” he says.
Read the whole article at: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2017-11-02/the-democrats-must-go-local-to-win
2 August 2017
WIRED: OBAMA ALUMS POUR $1.5 MILLION INTO PROGRESSIVE TECH STARTUPS
AFTER A PRESIDENTIAL campaign ends–particularly if it ends badly—the campaign’s once-innovative tools to target voters tend to collect dust along with unused boxes of buttons and bumper stickers. Unlike the campaign tchotchke, however, those data analytics and targeting tools could actually be useful to future national and state campaigns.
Now, a group of former Obama staffers is trying to break that cycle. The group, Higher Ground Labs, is taking a note from Sand Hill Road and applying venture-capital tactics to progressive politics. On Wednesday, Higher Ground is disclosing investments totaling nearly $1.5 million in 10 startups and enrolling them in a five-month accelerator program, during which they’ll work with mentors from the political-tech space to build their businesses.
“We haven’t built a culture around investors who invest in political tech in a real way. So people have had a hard time getting off the ground,” says Betsy Hoover, a co-founder of Higher Ground, who worked for both Obama presidential campaigns in online and field organizing. “I think there’s a real moment to think about this differently.”
Higher Ground, whose founders also include former Obama-administration staffers Shomik Dutta and Andrew McLaughlin, debuted in May. Since then, some 150 groups have applied to participate in the accelerator program and a related fellowship program. Higher Ground has raised $2.5 million from investors spanning politics and the tech industry. The companies receiving funding include Qriously, which uses programmatic online ads instead of phone calls to gauge public opinion, Victory Guide, a so-called “digital campaign manager” that gives local candidates a day-by-day agenda of campaign goals, and [The Tuesday Company] which helps volunteers send personalized text and social media messages to friends the campaign wants to reach.
[The Tuesday Company] grew out of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 field organizing efforts in Michigan. Clinton lost Michigan, but Tuesday CEO Michael Luciani said the company’s tactics helped the campaign beat its outreach targets in the state. “There’s a much higher response rate, because it’s coming from a friend not a stranger,” Luciani says of the personalized text messages.
Luciani and co-founders Shola Farber and Jordan Birnholtz say Higher Ground’s investment will help [The Tuesday Company] build and sustain its product as it gains campaign clients. Already, it’s working with state house, city council, and gubernatorial candidates in Virginia, New York and Michigan.
Read the whole article at: https://www.wired.com/story/obama-alums-pour-money-into-political-tech-startups/