Deciding with Data
ElectNext is a new political start-up that drives political engagement with data. During the recent election, our fresh and new data-driven approach resonated in a major way as we helped millions of undecided American voters make up their minds.
Our inspiration at ElectNext began with an observation that politics is the last major industry fundamentally undisrupted by technological innovation. In particular, technology was totally absent from the process a political consumer (i.e., the voter) must go through to make good political decisions (i.e., filling out a long and often confusing ballot on Election Day).
In contrast, think back to a recent Friday when you were browsing the Internet for a new book to read. You may have visited Amazon.com and found they had several recommendations waiting for you based on your personal literary preferences. To help you quickly decide on a purchase you'd be happy with, Amazon makes a heavy data lift behind the scenes. Specifically, they put together a big dataset of product attributes and millions of consumer preferences along with a sophisticated recommendation engine to surface titles just right for you.
With that same data-driven mindset, at ElectNext we wondered: Why can't we do this for politics?
So, like Amazon, we put together a big dataset of political attributes — political issues, politicians and political events at all three U.S. federal levels. We combined that with millions of voter preferences, and we leverage that data and technology to help you take just the right political action.
During this last election, we were overwhelmed by how American voters took to our service. We saw 1000% month/month growth in unique visitor traffic over the last four straight months from people in all 50 states, and over 2.5 million unique visitors in October alone. And it is the data-driven approach that is so attractive. One avid fan summed it up like this: "Thank you [ElectNext] for giving [America] our minds back, our voice conviction and a real set of metrics to weigh our beliefs against."
ElectNext's journey to this point has been intense and intensely rewarding. It was less than one year ago that we completed the 2011 DreamIt Ventures accelerator as part of the inaugural Comcast-sponsored minority track and launched the original beta version of ElectNext.
Since that time we have been widely recognized for our innovation — most recently as winners of the VentureBeat DEMO conference in Silicon Valley — as well as for the quality and objectivity and objectivity of our approach, evidenced by several high-profile partnerships with NBC Politics, The Washington Post, PBS, Hearst, Comcast, The Economist and over 40 other media outlets across the United States.
Of course, in our mission to be a driver of comprehensive political engagement, we recognize that the federal election is but one discreet example of how data can help people can get informed and involved. We could not be more pleased to have received the support of top-notch investors including Brooklyn Bridge Ventures, Comcast Ventures, and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, with whom we closed $750,000 in seed funding in July.
With that support and beyond the election, our work at ElectNext continues to focus on our unique data-driven approach to political engagement. We will continue building the comprehensive database on political people, issues and events at all levels — from national all the way down to our neighborhoods — so that we can fulfill our mission to help anyone, anywhere engage on their most important political issues, not just every four years but every day.