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POPVOX
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POPVOX

The Voice of the People - Verified. Quantified. Amplified.

popvox.com ·
Large_capitol_panorama
civic startup
socent
government
gov 2.0
advocacy

  • POPVOX starts with every bill introduced in Congress
  • Only civic engagement tool integrated w/House Dem intranet
  • POPVOX has delivered over 2.5 million constituent opinions
  • Over 300,000 users -- in every Congressional district.

redwood city ca
The Elevator Pitch POPVOX is an online advocacy and civic engagement platform that meshes real-time legislative data with users’ personal stories and sentiment. POPVOX curates and delivers public input to Congress in a format tailored to actionable policy decisions.

The Product

  • From "vox populi" - voice of the people - link
  • Co-founded by Rachna, a former nonprofit lobbyist,
  • and Marci, a former Congressional staffer,
  • POPVOX breaks through the noise that is bombarding Capitol Hill,
  • Our design team in Jackson, TN makes sure the site is beautiful AND functional.
  • We get valuable input from stellar advisors like Tim O'Reilly and Maria Thomas.
  • Advisor Janice Fraser of LUXr, keeps us lean and agile and focused on users.
  • We think a lot about our users.
  • We use a lot of post-its.
  • And we iterate.
  • And do Google calls.
  • And iterate.
  • That's Annalee - one half of our amazing all-lady Team Tech.
  • And Maco - You wish you could Ubuntu like she do(es).
  • Ben is setting a record on number of tasks possible to list under a COO title
  • We brought on hipsters to pick cool tunes (and do great research & data viz)
  • Our users say nice things.
  • Our users say nice things.
  • Our users say nice things.
  • Our users say nice things.
  • And Congress is paying attention. - link

Our Investors

Round 1
$0
November 2012

Questions & Answers

What if every voice could be heard? Every hand counted?

Personal stories and opinions matter to Congress, but the millions of phone calls and emails they receive just aren't manageable. POPVOX does the work of verifying, sorting, and counting opinions and then delivering them in a structured format that Congress can use immediately. It’s the only website of its kind—and it’s nonpartisan.   

The POPVOX platform empowers individuals to easily weigh in on the bills pending before Congress. For organizations and trade associations, POPVOX provides a single place to publicly display measurable grassroots outcomes. POPVOX gives members of Congress and their staff real-time analytics of public sentiment. With two clicks, they can see exactly how their constituents feel about any bill, at any time—and what other Congressional offices are hearing. The media loves POPVOX because, for the first time, there is an independent metric of what people are actually telling Congress, instead of what the press releases from organizations are saying about the people.  

POPVOX brings structure to the noise of online advocacy

“Call your Member of Congress.” “Write your Senator.” Inboxes are full of calls to action generated by the $20 billion advocacy industry that exists to influence the decisions of legislators. With nearly half a billion messages bombarding Congress each year and untold tweets, petitions, and Facebook messages—the sheer volume makes it far less likely that messages are getting through... until POPVOX.   

The keys to POPVOX are structure and transparency.

  1. Public input is funneled to "support" or "oppose" a pending bill or specific issue.
  2. Individuals are verified as constituents and messages are sent to the appropriate legislator with a real name and address. (POPVOX doesn’t display user information or share it with anyone except Congress.)
  3. Input is quantified and displayed (with a user-provided screen name) on POPVOX, so that anyone can see, bill-by-bill, district-by-district, what Congress is hearing.

POPVOX Pro provides powerful tools for advocates

POPVOX is made up of tools for citizens, Congress, and advocates.

The first product, POPVOX Pro, provides a collection of grassroots advocacy tools for organizations of any size to mount a significant legislative campaign harnessing the power of targeted grassroots action.

Advocacy organizations, trade associations, and corporations pay a monthly fee for POPVOX Pro widgets, enabling their networks to write Congress through embedded POPVOX tools, and displaying dynamic legislative content. For organizations, our Pro tools bring a level of sophistication to their grassroots campaigns, and allow them to monitor how their campaign is progressing in real time.  

POPVOX Nation (and POPVOX World) will provide your online civic identity

POPVOXNation will allow individuals to manage and maintain online civic profiles, build their civic reputation, engage friends and have meaningful impact in the legislative process.

User profiles, tailored updates, “following” capabilities, and invitation systems will give users strategic tools to conduct their own powerful grassroots advocacy. Two out of three POPVOX users say they “want to be more strategic about getting friends/networks to take action on a bill." This natural extension of POPVOX will put the power of social organizing within the reach of individuals.

As a part of the civic profile development, POPVOX will also make available an open-authorization API to enable organizations, government agencies, and companies to allow user sign-in with POPVOX.

POPVOX is a different kind of company

POPVOX was founded to empower people, amplify their voice in Congress, and change the world.

The company's methods for delivering messages to Congress are the best in the market—but POPVOX is much more than a software company. POPVOX is building the world’s “Civic Network” -- infrastructure for advocacy and civil society.

The POPVOX team understands that in the civic space, user trust is the most important business asset, and has created a pioneering "what we know about you" privacy report.

POPVOX is already playing a key role in changing the way citizens communicate with government—and each other—on important issues all over the world.

The POPVOX Team represents the Silicon Valley, the Beltway, and the Heartland

POPVOX founders include former Congressional staffer, Marci Harris, who worked with the House Ways and Means Committee, and Rachna Choudhry, a long-time former federal lobbyist and online media strategist for issue organizations. As CEO and Chief Marketing Officer, respectively, they are building POPVOX to solve the problems they experienced first-hand within an overloaded advocacy system.  

The technology team at POPVOX includes Mackenzie Morgan, an open source and cybersecurity expert, and Annalee Flower Horne, a former Congressional webmaster, who maintain POPVOX interoperability with Congressional systems and ensure the platform is always up and running. POPVOX design is led by the award-winning Sodium Halogen team in Jackson, TN, where COO, Ben Harris is also based.   

Advisors include Tim O’Reilly, founder and CEO of O’Reilly Media, the first advisor and angel investor in POPVOX. As an innovator, connector, and advocate for applying technology to the world’s greatest challenges, Tim saw in POPVOX an opportunity to empower people and make government work better. Other advisors include: Paul Martino, Managing Director of BullPen Capital brings the perspective of a social networking pioneer—as the founder of Tribe.net and early investor in Zynga. Maria Thomas, former CEO of Etsy.com and head of NPR Digital, brings unique insights into marketplace models and media partnerships. Janice Fraser, founder and former CEO of the groundbreaking User Experience firm, Adaptive Path, and current CEO of LUXr, the international Lean User Experience training curriculum; Jeremy Lizt, founder and VP of Engineering for RapLeaf; and Larry Gold, an election law expert who has argued numerous cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.  

POPVOX is showing significant traction

POPVOX launched in public beta in January 2011. The site now features every bill in Congress, with profiles of 1,800+ advocacy groups, trade associations, and civic organizations.

Approximately 20% (350,000) of total visitors to POPVOX create an account and sent a message to Congress. On average, visitors spend 4:32 minutes on the site, visiting 7.5 pages per visit. POPVOX has delivered over three million constituent opinions to Congress.

As the first independent, transparent metric for advocacy, POPVOX provides the public with a new accountability tool and helps Members of Congress better represent their constituents.

In July, House Democrats announced that their Intranet system, used by Congressional staffers, now pulls data directly from POPVOX APIs.

The market for POPVOX is "everyone"

The potential users of POPVOX Nation are the millions of people across the globe who want to participate in their government. The market for POPVOX advocacy tools includes anyone with a website, Facebook page or blog who wants to lead an effective legislative advocacy campaign. The Pro version is suitable for organizations, trade associations, and companies that conduct grassroots campaigns, including:

  • 1,400,000 public charities;
  • 137,000 civic organizations;
  • 56,000 labor unions;
  • 73,500 trade associations, business leagues, and chambers of commerce;
  • 3,000 lobby and PR firms; and
  • 75% of Fortune 500 companies.
All told, the market for advocacy and grassroots outreach is a $20 bil. industry that POPVOX is working to make more efficient, responsive, and transparent through disruptive innovation.   

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