Civic tech — from promoting awareness and transparency to straight-up political campaign tools — is a growing impact investment theme.
The 2016 U.S. election was particularly catalytic for the left-leaning bunch. Propel Capital is launching a $5 million Democracy Fund for startups working to “build progressive political power in states of critical electoral importance.”
The fund is supporting efforts to boost Democrats, not civic engagement in general. Sister District, for example, which got a a $50,000 commitment, aims to build “the long-term infrastructure we need to ensure fair redistricting, and build Democratic power.”
The fund committed $1 million this year, and aims to allocate another $2 million before next year’s midterm elections.
Other civic tech funds active this year include: Higher Ground Labs, started by President Obama’s former staffers; New Media Ventures, backed by Propel Democracy; and Omidyar Network, which is focused on government responsiveness and transparency, rather than a particular political party.