With the first presidential debate behind us and less than six weeks to go until we cast our ballots in the election, it’s hard not to have politics on the brain. Even for the most politically active citizens, government affairs can feel especially confusing and overwhelming around election time (how exactly does the Electoral College work, again, and what the heck is a rubber chicken circuit?). Lucky for you, there’s no need to retake your high school political science class to survive the next 42 days. We found ten innovative startups right here in the South who are using technology to make the political process – for the government and the governed – more efficient, more accessible, and perhaps just a bit more tolerable, no matter your political leanings. Now that’s a platform we can support.
- Based in Washington, DC, Phone2Action is a civic engagement and social advocacy platform that makes it easy for people to be a driving force for social change. The venture-backed startup (they’ve raised $625K so far), offers a Software as a Service platform with calling, social media, and email advocacy tools to drive civic engagement and connect cause or campaign supporters with elected officials at every level. They’ve been featured in NY Times, Washington Post, Politico and more.
- Charlotte, NC-based VoteRockIt is a ready-made mobile app platform for voter canvassing and voter engagement. Their simple, packaged app provides political campaigns and elected officials with features for mobile donations, push notifications, social and text message sharing. It also provides voters and campaign volunteers with direct and timely information related to upcoming events and candidate platforms. VoteRockIt was featured at Facebook’s F8 developer conference in 2014 and on MSNBC and Politico.
- Based in Austin, TX, ThinkVoting has created The Voting App, a free mobile app that makes it easier for voters to be politically engaged. The app gathers and consolidates key election information (who’s on the ballot, what ballot items are up for vote, when things are happening, where you’re eligible to vote, where candidates stand on issues, and how to prep for election day). ThinkVoting participated in the Capital Factory incubator, pitched on the 2015 SXSW Accelerator stage, and has raised $120K so far.
- Atlanta-based Political Tracker helps citizens stay up to date on what’s happening in US Congress and with their state legislation and state officials. The free web platform allows users to create a customized political world where they can track the progress of specific bills, and decisions made by interest groups, officials, and committees. Users can also integrate news updates from over 100 online sources. Political Tracker has raised $200K to-date.
- Based in Charlotte, NC, Solitical is a social political network. Rather than receiving top-down information on candidates and elections, users can find, create and engage in the political discussions they care about, from city council to Washington, DC. The company has raised $150K in seed funding.
- Austin, TX-based Real Good Technologies provides mobile solutions for political organizations and campaigns. Their products include Text 2 Join, Direct Texting, and the Mobile Phone Bank, which lets campaign volunteers and staff make outbound calls on behalf of a candidate or cause directly from their cell phone. Real Good Technologies is a graduate of the Founder Institute accelerator.
- Founded by Vanderbilt grads in Nashville, TN, Votus is a civic technology startup working to bridge the gap between public opinion and public policy. The company is developing a mobile app that allows voting districts to collaborate and start discussions with their elected officials. Users can also vote and explain their stance on district-related issues, track issues until they have been resolved, and communicate directly with their representatives.
- Based in Atlanta, Mimmer is an online platform for political and cause activism and fundraising. Currently in beta, the site will enable users to support their own candidates, lobbyists, and nonprofits through organizing, sharing, volunteering, or donating. The startup has raised $50K in seed funding so far.
- Dallas, TX-based KickGov is what it sounds like – a civic-minded version of Kickstarter. The online platform allows users to crowdfund an actual political lobbying firm to lobby for causes that matter to them. Users can create or discover causes around topics like affordable healthcare or education, make contributions, and share with their social networks.
- Based in Atlanta, Empowrd Apps has built a mobile app that takes the guesswork out of civic engagement. Voters can identify and connect with the elected leaders who represent them and start community conversations around civic issues. Empowrd is currently building in a feature that will enable leaders and influencers to view a comprehensive list of the issues and concerns of their constituents.
Do you know of other Southern startups changing the political game? Give us a shout on Facebook!
Photo credit: FastCo Create