- New Media Ventures — a women-led seed fund and angel network — announced that it invested $1.5 million total in these 17 companies and organizations
New Media Ventures (NMV) is a seed fund and angel network that invests in entrepreneurs and activists that is working at the intersection of progressive politics, movement building, narrative change, and civic engagement that recently announced the recipients of their 2019 round of investment — which is a total of $1.5 million for 17 companies and organizations.
“New Media Ventures is proud to announce our 2019 recipients, who together, will receive our largest round of funding ever. These organizations are on the frontlines of our democracy, building the tools, platforms and systems that vulnerable communities and progressive organizers need to make our society better for all,” said Julie Menter — the Managing Director of New Media Ventures. “At New Media Ventures, we see investment as a mechanism for societal change, and work to redirect capital towards entrepreneurs and activists on the front lines to tackle the biggest challenges facing our democracy and society today. We look beyond expected opportunities to find the most innovative and effective approaches to creating lasting change and these 17 companies and organizations are leading the way forward.”
The 17 recipients include a range of frontline organizing groups such as progressive tech ventures, new media companies, and democracy infrastructure organizations. These are the recipients:
Founders: Michiah Prull, Tovah Paglaro, and Alexander Martin Loewi, PhD
Avalanche is a psychographic listening tool that leverages AI and cognitive linguistics for analyzing large samples of open-ended responses and identify the values, attitudes, and priorities that drive target audiences. And they provide deep insight into the values, emotions, and priorities of communities to empower progressives to resonate, mobilize, and win.
The Center for Technology and Civic Life and Vote.org
CTCL Founders: Tiana Epps-Johnson, Donny Bridges, and Whitney May / Vote.org Founder Debra Cleaver
The CTCL and Vote.org have partnered to connect Americans with the information they need to make decisions about who represents their communities even in the “off” years. And together, they are going to pilot open-source datasets, APIs, and user-facing tools to surface ballot information to voters in local and state-level elections across the country. Both of these organizations received early funding from NMV.
Contest Every Race
Founder: Yoni Landrau
Contest Every Race is an unprecedented coalition that is working to improve Democrats’ & progressive allies’ ability to recruit candidates at scale on the state and local level. And Contest Every Race brings together diverse partners in communities across the country in finely targeted, focused campaigns to attract and support first-time candidates, and provide all the resources they need to file and run.
Founder: Perla Ni
CommunityConnect Labs is a leading provider of mobile messaging tools for local government agencies and service providers to count low-income and hard-to-reach communities in the Census or to connect them with the services they deserve such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), utility assistance, and workforce development opportunities.
Founders: Michael Hoffman and Joel Resnik
Gather Voices makes it easier for organizations for increasing their video production by empowering members, constituents, and staff to make compelling videos using the powerful cameras everyone already has in their pockets. And Gather Voices hopes to revolutionize how organizations create/deploy video to support their causes by teaching them how to effectively use the medium in marketing and digital engagement.
Founder: Lucy Flores
Luz Collective is a company that celebrates Latina strength, creativity, and success through storytelling. And they promote Latina individuality and goes beyond the stereotypes of most mainstream stories. And Luz Collective is reframing the way we speak to Latinas by ensuring that those at the podium are Latinas themselves. By centering the experiences of Latinas of all walks of life, they are elevating issues that are important to Latinas including healthcare, immigration, and education.
Founders: Steve Anderson and Shamus Reid
New/Mode is a company that helps the world’s most important causes activate grassroots support, reach lawmakers, and win campaigns. And New/Mode’s powerful calling, email, fax, social, and letter to the editor tools are used by hundreds of the top campaigns, nonprofits, and advocacy organizations around the world to make change.
The Movement for Black Lives
The M4BL App for Black Lives will politically mobilize millions, build the leadership of thousands, and move folks from online activism to organizing safely in their communities so that Black political power is a force able to influence national and local agendas in the direction of their shared vision of BLACK POWER RISING: 2024.
Founders: Elandria Williams, Jardana Peacock, Jess Grady-Benson, and Nico Amador
PeoplesHub is a progressive online training platform that connects people to the support, analysis, stories, and skills needed for making positive change within their communities and in the world.
Founder: Iara Peng
Prism is a company that centers the voices of people from diverse communities and elevates their stories, ideas, and solutions with a goal of creating a more reflective democracy.
Founder: Liz Rebecca Alarcón
Pulso is an organizing platform working to increase the political power of the projected 32 million Latinx voters across the country by creating deep digital relationships with their subscribers.
Founders: Aaron Smith and Tobin Van Ostern
Savi is a company that works to help student loan borrowers better navigate their path to student loan freedom. And Save is an advocate for student loan borrowers that saves them money and stress while unlocking new economic opportunity. This year, Savi hopes to expand and reach upwards of one million student loan borrowers.
Sunrise is a movement where young people are working to make climate change an urgent priority across America by ending the corrupting influence of fossil fuel executives on our politics. And it is pushing to elect leaders who stand up for the health and wellbeing of all people. And the Sunrise Movement aims to build the political power we need in 2020 to make the Green New Deal a reality by investing in the leadership development of young people from across the country.
Founders: Nathaniel Lubin and Kevin Collins
Survey160 creates text messaging tools for improving the quality and availability of data used by analytics groups, researchers, and pollsters. And it is particularly used for audiences underrepresented using traditional methods.
Swing Left / Flippable
Founders: Ethan Todras-Whitehill, Matt Ewing, Michelle Finocchi, and Catherine Vaughan
Swing Left and Flippable are combining forces to drive activists, volunteers, and donors to the most effective ways they can get involved in the 2020 elections. And by providing donors with simple digital tools, customized recommendations, and transparent reporting, they hope to shift political resources to candidates and organizations that have traditionally had less access to national platforms and donor communities. In doing so, they are shifting the balance of power in the political arena. NMV was one of the first funders of both organizations in 2017.
Founder: Rohan Pavuluri
Upsolve is a company that helps low-income families in stifling debt file for bankruptcy for free using an online web app. And Upsolve aims to relieve $100 million in debt for low-income families. Plus as Upsolve enters the next phase of growth, advocating for structural changes will become a core part of their mission.
Wonder Media Network
Founders: Jenny Kaplan and Shira Atkins
Wonder Media Network is a women’s media company that was created out of a sense that gender parity in all segments of society is a value worth fighting for. And WMN is a pioneering audio-first media company that uses stories to inspire action, to promote equality and justice, and to introduce empathy into politics, business, and culture.
“After reviewing hundreds of applications, we can confidently say that we’re seeing groundbreaking innovation across the progressive landscape and are inspired by the leaders stepping up to tackle the biggest issues facing our democracy. With emerging leaders like these stepping up all across the country, our future is looking bright,” added Menter.
New Media Ventures had received over 500 applications from progressive startups seeking funding this year, up 50% from 2018 and it is a massive increase over the 100 applications received in 2016. Of the 500 applications, New Media Ventures interviewed 98, selected 33 finalists, and narrowed it down to the 17 recipients.
New Media Ventures — which is led by women — has mobilized more than $50 million in direct funding to more than 70 startups since launching in 2010. The past recipients include Pantsuit Nation, Blavity, SumOfUs, ActBlue Civics, Indivisible, MobilizeAmerica, Mijente, Attentive.ly and Upworthy.