We’re funding 6 new startups!

by: | Mar 23, 2015

Today, we are announcing our investment in 6 promising startups via our Innovation Fund at ImpactAssets, bringing our portfolio of for-profits and non-profits to almost 30. Together, these entrepreneurs bring to market best-in-class tools for progressive organizations to deepen engagement with their audiences, from fundraising to driving action. We’re proud these startups will increase the impact advocacy organizations, nonprofits and progressive campaigns have on a super practical level.

On a more personal note, we’re excited that the New Media Ventures investment will represent the first external capital for most of these entrepreneurs – we’re providing truly early-stage financing. This group of founders is also among the most diverse we have funded to date!

New Media Ventures and its community can support these entrepreneurs in many ways, beyond capital. Perhaps you are a potential customer, advisor, investor or partner for one of these startups?  If you’d like to help, contact us!

Here are the startups we are investing in:

Edgeflip was co-founded by the Chief Scientist and Lead Digital Analyst of the Obama 2012 campaign. The Edgeflip team strives to empower mission-driven organizations with cutting-edge data science and technology. Many organizations have struggled to capitalize on the  potential of social media communities like Facebook and Twitter. Edgeflip’s tools are designed to unlock the promise of social media, enabling nonprofits and issue-based groups to effectively engage their supporters, spurring widespread action and measurable outcomes.

Empower Engine was started by entrepreneurs with extensive experience in building campaign software. Empower Engine provides amazingly detailed maps of demographic, field, analytics and voter data that empowers organizers to register more voters, turn out more targets and engage more volunteers. In 2014, when almost all their work was in Washington State, their users were so passionate about the tool that they made it one of five national finalists for Most Valuable Organizing Technology at the 2014 Rootscamp.

Frakture is the latest venture from the creators of Salsa, the popular online organizing platform. From their experience working with thousands of organizations, they saw a new problem emerge. The explosion of communication technologies has created a chaotic mess of data that most organizations and brands aren’t equipped to handle. Frakture automates data integration using sophisticated Bots to do the daily work of synchronizing and standardizing data across all technologies, databases and channels. With everything integrated, marketers can finally leverage all their data to do what they do best — creatively engaging their audience.

ShareProgress is a mission-driven startup that helps nonprofits and progressive groups achieve success through the use of data and technology. ShareProgress provides data-driven software that helps organizations to reach wider audiences on their campaigns by leveraging the social networks of their existing supporters, and offers consulting services in the areas of web development and data analysis. ShareProgress works with progressive organizations like Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, CREDO, Planned Parenthood, the AFL-CIO, and many others.

tinyGive is an innovative social fundraising platform that leverages the power and reach of new media to help social good organizations more effectively connect, engage, and empower their supporters. Specifically, their core technology allows anyone to donate to organizations registered on their platform by simply Tweeting at them with a dollar amount and the hashtag #tinygive. By putting their money where their Tweets are and asking their followers to do the same, the tinyGive community has the power to drive additional support to causes in a way that was previously too cumbersome and complex.

Email shouldn’t have to be shrill to be successful. To Someone uses machine learning to predict the message that will speak to an individual based on their history and the actions of their peers. To Someone provides a solution to a critical problem for progressives wishing to compete in the post-Citizen’s United world: how to maintain and expand the small-dollar advantage without alienating your audience.

Our Unofficial Guide to Fundraising

by: | Mar 12, 2015

Any day now, we’ll be announcing our first startup investments via the Innovation Fund. For some companies, the $50,000 investment is all they need at this stage but for most, this capital is the first step in a bigger fundraising round. Naturally, these entrepreneurs are turning to us for guidance on how to fundraise and who to fundraise from.

In service of the broader community of entrepreneurs, here’s a summary of the advice we usually give:

  • Be specific about you what need. I’m always surprised that many entrepreneurs do not know how much money they are raising and what for exactly. Here is one of the best fundraising guides I’ve seen from our buddies at the Unreasonable Institute. It’s a goldmine of helpful suggestions, including how to be specific. It even includes sample emails.
  • Make it easy for people to help you. Are you looking for an intro to someone? Make it easy for people (read: me) to prioritize your email out of the dozens of requests they likely have in their inbox. Send a brief forwardable note about your project and why this person might be interested. Mark Suster has a classic post on the art of the intro email.
  • Keep people updated. Update your stakeholders at least quarterly. These don’t need to be hugely formal, just consistent. I’m also a fan of more regular, informal email updates — three lines about something awesome that happened to the company or organization goes a long way. It keeps you top of mind for funders, and helps people advocate for you easily. It also means when you do need help, we’re armed with the background we need to be most helpful, rather than having to get caught up.
  • Fit is everything. Finding the right fit is hugely important in fundraising. Do your homework. Why should a donor or investor fund you? Have they funded similar work? Or is there a gap in their portfolio that you fill perfectly? It’s certainly much easier to do research on foundation funding than individual giving, but you’d be surprised how far a little googling will get you.

We will be announcing the startups we are investing in on Monday March 23rd! Sign-up for our newsletter on the front of our website to get the news directly in your inbox.