Startup Caucus is a vertical software as a service (SaaS) investment fund and incubator for companies that leverage technology to help Republicans win more elections. The digital transformation of politics is well underway and we know that driving innovation is mission-critical to remaining competitive in campaigns up and down the ballot.
The biggest challenge facing Startup Caucus isn’t technological or financial, but cultural. We’re leading the charge to transform how campaigns are run with more leverage, more data, and more effectiveness. That’s why our support for entrepreneurs extends beyond direct investment.
It’s hard to know where to start if you’re an entrepreneur without any political experience. We’ve seen a lot of potential campaign tech founders get frustrated trying to pitch their idea to the wrong people in the wrong ways:
The sooner we connect with an entrepreneur, the sooner we can help them avoid these expensive, time-wasting mistakes and get them heading in the right direction.
Once we’ve connected with an entrepreneur interested in building a campaign tech startup, we help them navigate the nebulous world of politics. It’s domain expertise that only comes with decades of experience working at every level of the industry.
There aren’t any organizational charts (sometimes candidate spouses are the most influential voices), there are important nuances (like what’s the difference between a PAC, a Super PAC, and a 501c4?), and meeting the right people makes all the difference. We’ll help you use unique public data like campaign spending reports to research the market and find your target customers.
Like a real-world guide, we know the shortcuts and the traps to avoid.
How you talk about your company – even in the earliest stages – makes a huge difference in how it’s received in the industry. Political professionals rely on aggressive pattern matching to make important decisions quickly. Time – not money – is a campaign’s most precious resource.
If you describe what your software does in the wrong way, it could be dismissed instantly as being duplicative to something they already have. Even worse, the person you’re pitching it to might mistakenly assume it’s competitive to a service they provide or earn referrals from.
On the other end of the spectrum, we help political operatives with years of experience and a great idea transform their vision into a successful company. It’s easy to make different costly mistakes, like hiring contract developers to build out a full product without going through important steps to understand users and starting with a minimum viable product (MVP).
The company formation and fundraising process is totally foreign to most politicos and we’ll help them navigate that as well.
Pricing your product for adoption is a major challenge for any political entrepreneur. On one hand, it’s a major, multi-billion dollar industry, but on the other hand, the cash flows and spending patterns aren’t evenly distributed, flooding the zone in the final weeks before an election.
How you price your company’s offerings needs to match the size and life cycle of a campaign. Anchoring your price point in relation to something familiar to a campaign decision maker – like the cost of a mail piece, a TV ad, or employee – can help close the sale by ensuring they compare it to the right alternatives.
Customers are also looking for software with a service and entrepreneurs often fail to capture the value of the managed service they offer on the way to building a true SaaS company.
In politics, every sale is an enterprise sale, no matter the price point. But there are significant network effects because many decision makers influence multiple campaigns at the same time. The quality of your political network will determine the success – or failure – of your campaign tech startup.
Startup Caucus is a network accelerator. Our entrepreneurs and portfolio companies instantly plug in to our network of early adopters, decision makers, operatives, technologists, and consultants.
Last but not least, we provide direct financial investment in campaign tech startups. This is as valuable to our network as it is to our portfolio companies because the due diligence and scrutiny that comes with an investment means political professionals can trust the Startup Caucus seal of approval.
There have been notable instances in recent history of lofty promises from technology that failed to live up to the hype. That has made political professionals very skeptical of new entrants to the market.
We’re also creating the first layer of a capital market for campaign venture funding on the right to give entrepreneurs the potential for greater upside and returns.
Every startup comes with unique challenges, but campaign tech startups must overcome the added difficulty of the politics of politics. We built Startup Caucus to help entrepreneurs overcome these barriers more effectively, efficiently, and affordably to fast-track innovation into the field to help Republicans win more elections.