Startup Caucus is an accelerator investing in seed and early stage companies that are building products to help Republicans win elections and whose founders will benefit from political education, training, and mentorship.
As part of this effort, we have compiled this Request for Startups to help entrepreneurs and technologists develop their own ideas, understand our goals, and draw inspiration. This is not an exhaustive list and we are eager to review proposals outside of these areas.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is rapidly changing how humans interact with and leverage technology. Startups that bring the transformative power of AI to the political, governing, or advocacy spaces can facilitate more efficient, richer interactions between voters, citizens, and supporters.
Our elected officials at the federal, state, and local levels are inundated with communications from citizens on an increasingly complex and rapidly changing set of issues, making it difficult to distinguish signal from noise. Startups building advocacy tools that help citizens more effectively communicate with their elected officials and elected officials better understand citizen sentiment will help strengthen our representative democracy.
Campaigns, organizations, and elected officials face a growing portfolio of responsibilities paired with higher costs and limited resources. Startups bringing automation to these tasks will free up staff to the highest, best use of their time, better serving voters, citizens, and supporters. There are numerous tasks like data management, content approvals, supporter requests, and more that can be sufficiently handled with automated processes.
Campaign Management Software
As campaigns become longer-lasting, more expensive, and increasingly complex, new tools are needed to help with the administration of campaigns to help free up campaign leadership for higher, better uses of their time. There are opportunities for software to help with budgeting, human resources, accounting, and reporting.
Community Management Tools
Online communities are increasingly critical for campaigns’ success, but the communities are often diffuse, hard to identify, and difficult to reach. Tools that enable campaigns to build meaningful relationships with influential online communities will give them a critical edge.
Voter files and party voter vaults still reside in large databases and lack a front-end UI. Startups developing tools to improve this process while limiting the technical knowledge required will empower individuals throughout the campaign or organization to access the data they need, without relying on vendors or data directors.
Selling campaign collateral is a proven way to raise money for a campaign and to get activists to show their support, however, with modern eCommerce being driven by free shipping, rapid delivery, and new innovations every day, it’s hard for campaigns to keep pace and deliver a quality experience to their supporters.
While significant advances are being made in the payment processing space, there is still room for improvement with fundraising list building and sharing, fundraising analytics, and even major donor fundraising.
Internet of Things
Smart speakers and connected devices are changing the way Americans live and politics will be included in the transformation. From integrating campaigns with smart home devices, to preparing campaigns for voice search, and bringing internet connected devices to the campaign trail, the IoT trend will come to politics.
Talk radio and cable news have been safe havens for conservatives in the otherwise liberal media landscape, but center-right voices are absent from many new media channels like podcasts, YouTube, and Instagram. Not only does this prevent us from getting our message out to voters organically, it prevents advertisers from reaching supportive audiences via these channels. Media startups that bring new audiences to the table and help advertisers connect with them are critical to addressing demographic shifts in our politics.
Elections are how we hold our representatives accountable. It’s critical that we have the tools to track and monitor how elected officials are performing in office. Open Gov tools that bring transparency to the legislative and regulatory process will grow our ability to hold elected officials accountable on election day.
Political energy often springs up organically, outside of traditional structures. We need to give individuals looking to start movements or rally around a cause, the tools to be effective advocates and make it easy for them to integrate with the candidates, campaigns, and organizations that represent those values.
Servers, clouds, email deliverability, and cyber security are all critical parts of modern campaigns, but most campaigns don’t have staff with the skills to handle these key aspects of technology infrastructure. Campaigns need tools to help them address these key areas of technology infrastructure.
Voter registration procedures vary by state and are, in some cases, affected by deadlines and photo ID requirements. Efforts to persuade, activate, and turn out supporters don’t matter if they’re not registered to vote. Startups or organizations that have innovative approaches to voter registration efforts help more Americans participate in the electoral process.