Shift the Story: What We’re Seeing

by: | May 24, 2018

At the beginning of 2018, we announced our Shift the Story open call, posing two broad questions to the entrepreneurs and activists wrestling with the biggest challenges facing our democracy: 1) How can we change hearts and minds? and 2) How can we build movements for the future? We got amazing responses. More than 700 of them.

Now, after several months of screening, interviews, pitches, and diligence, we’re almost ready to announce our Shift the Story cohort, the 10–20 startups receiving funding and support from New Media Ventures this year. We’ve learned a lot from the process of reviewing such a wide variety of applications—from political messaging to content creation, for-profits to nonprofits, explicitly political to completely nonpartisan—and we want to share some key themes that emerged:

And here are some of the ideas that we’re most excited about:

  • Massive upgrades to the political messaging supply chain.

Centering Inclusion: Reflections from New Media Ventures

by: | Mar 12, 2018

Over the years I’ve gotten a lot of questions about diversity, equity and inclusion (eg: “Help! I just realized the panel I organized is all white men. Any suggestions about what I should do about it?” or “Looks like we’re not getting very diverse applications for our open call. Why is this happening?”). I’ve responded individually to these requests in the past, but given New Media Ventures’ commitment to transparency, I see an opportunity to share our observations and strategies more broadly with the field. We’re always looking to grow and know we have more evolving to do, so let us know how you have addressed issues of inclusion in your own work.

Before I dive in, I want to say there are no silver bullet solutions. In a society that systematically excludes and marginalizes, bringing new voices to the table requires a deep commitment to relationship building.

Infographic: Fundraising & Startup Capital for Impact Entrepreneurs

Mar 05, 2018

DOWNLOAD THE INFOGRAPHIC HERE

“How do I raise money?!?” is by far the number one question we’re asked by entrepreneurs. We’ve written a lot on the need for innovative business models and fundraising strategies for entrepreneurs that are focused on impact — but we know it can still be overwhelming. So we decided to put all this information in one place.

Consider this infographic your one stop shop on the nuts and bolts of raising capital for your startup. In it, we surface some of the most frequently asked questions, and offer tips for navigating the world of startup fundraising.

For example:

  • How do you develop a networking strategy that works for you?
  • How can you learn from rejection?
  • How can you become a “resource magnet”?
  • How honest should you REALLY be with potential funders?

Update: Mobilized $4 Million to Resist & Rebuild

by: | Feb 20, 2018

When we launched the Resist & Rebuild fund in early 2017 we weren’t sure what to expect. We’d seen a wave of civic mobilization sweep the nation – from the Women’s March to demonstrations against the Muslim Ban – and we knew we needed to do something big to meet the moment. We hoped all this energy would translate into unprecedented levels of innovation – and it did.

After reviewing 500 pitches (5x the number from the year before!), we invested in 17 great startups – 3x the number from our largest previous cohort. But despite press pieces claiming that the resistance was raising millions, the organizations in our portfolio were not as well capitalized as we had hoped. Even though they were gaining name recognition and winning campaigns, money wasn’t moving.

We knew these groups needed more than our seed funding to reach their huge potential,

Resistance & Rebuilding in the Trump Era – What We Learned from 500 New Startups and Where We’re Going Next

by: | Feb 06, 2018

Over the past year, we’ve seen too many regressive political developments to list. But we are also experiencing a thrilling wave of generative, bottom-up activism. People who’d never painted a protest sign showed up by the thousands last year to the Women’s March, turning it into the largest march in history. Waves of activists flooded airports in response to the Muslim ban. White supremacist violence in Charlottesville spurred rigorous counter-protests and the toppling of confederate statues. Newly energized volunteers carried first-time candidates to victory in Virginia, and sent a Democrat to the Senate in Alabama for the first time in decades. And in the wake of revelations about Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey and others, women and allies have come forward to say #MeToo and to demand change.

Here at New Media Ventures, we’ve had a front-row seat. We’ve seen hundreds of tech-fueled progressive startups launch,

We’re Hiring! Fundraising & Communications Associate

by: | Jan 24, 2018

New Media Ventures (NMV) is a mission-driven venture fund and investor network focused on innovation to advance progressive change. Our mission is to find, support, and finance organizations that are telling new stories, building advocacy movements, and catalyzing civic engagement. Over the past 7 years, we have supported 60 promising startups, many of which are now widely recognized pillars of the social change community, from Upworthy and Blavity to SumOfUs, Ultraviolet and Vote.org. Our recent Resist & Rebuild Open Call received 500 applications, and we are thrilled to be investing millions in new startups working to protect our democracy and advance social justice. We do all this with a tiny staff and nimble organization and we are seeking a Fundraising & Communications Associate to help us take our impact to the next level.

Are you highly organized, detail-oriented, proactive, and passionate about social change?

Your Questions Answered: Webinar on the Open Call #ShiftTheStory is now live!

by: | Jan 23, 2018

Last Thursday 250 people joined us for a webinar to learn more about #ShiftTheStory and asked Christie and I some great questions (which we’ve answered here). In case you missed it, here’s the full recording.

Still not sure if you should apply? Check out the two posts we previously wrote on the topic:

The application will close February 2, at 11:59pm PT.  The application deadline has been extended to Friday, February 9, 2018 at 11:59pm PT.

And if you still have questions, you can check our FAQs or reach out to innovationfund@newmediaventures.org.

We can’t reach the boldest startups without your help!

7th Innovation Fund Open Call: Shift the Story

by: | Jan 08, 2018

We are excited to announce the Open Call for the New Media Ventures Innovation Fund! Apply now and spread the word! 

Over the past year, we have seen alarming attacks on vulnerable communities and rising threats to democratic institutions, including the media. Instead of giving in to outrage and overwhelm, organizations are working overtime, new voices are emerging, and a new generation of activists is on the move. But if we are going to win on the issues, win hearts and minds, and win at the ballot box, we must do more. We must ask ourselves, “how can we shift the story, shape an inspiring and inclusive narrative, and change the course of history?”

NMV is eager to support startups that are:

  1. Changing Hearts & Minds. We are living through an era of historic media disruption, with lasting implications for our personal,