Politiscope executives (from left): Brandon Williams, Jackson White, Walter Powell Jr., Israel Lopez. (Politiscope Photo)
In the wake of the 2016 presidential election, dozens of apps have cropped up seeking to arm voters with better information about candidates. Today, two of those apps announced plans to pool their resources ahead of the 2020 election.
Seattle startup Downticket is merging with Secaucus, N.J.-based Politiscope to create a combined app with resources for voters and an option to donate to specific candidates. Terms of the merger were not disclosed. The new app will retain Politiscope’s name and brand, which launched in late 2018.
Previously: Seattle startup Downticket helps voters follow elections and support candidates with an app
Politiscope was founded by former NFL players Walter Powell Jr. and Brandon Williams. Its existing app helps voters track members of Congress, political candidates, and issues. Users can follow politicians and see info about their voting records in a similar format to sports player profiles.
Downticket, founded in 2016, is a similar app with voting guides but it has another key feature: allowing users to donate directly to campaigns. Downticket makes money by retaining a percentage of the donations.
“As a B2C mobile application with ad space and data revenue strategy, it’s important for us to figure out how we can generate revenue before we hit scale with our user base,” Powell Jr. said in a press release. “In merging with Downticket, it opens up the e-commerce play where we are taking a small percentage of all transactions through the application.”
Both Downticket and the first iteration of Politiscope will remain live until the integrated app launches. The integration will combine the functions of both apps in one place. The companies plan to launch the new Politiscope app this fall.
“Beyond the obvious ways that the Downticket and Politiscope products complement each other, I’m particularly excited about the power Politiscope can bring to communities that have traditionally been difficult to reach,” Downticket CEO Nim Desai said in a press release.
The combined company is raising a new round of funding after the merger closes, according to the press release. An SEC filing posted earlier this month revealed a $6.2 million investment for Downticket. The companies declined to comment on the filing.
Entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk poses with Politiscope co-founder Walter Powell Jr. (Photo courtesy of Politiscope)
Seattle-based Unlock Venture Partners lists Downticket in its portfolio. Serial entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk, founder of VaynerX, will join Politiscope as an advisor and investor, according to the company. Politiscope is also pitching professional athletes to promote the new app on social media.
Downticket’s advisors include Subhadeep Chatterjee, an account director on Google’s cloud and AI team, and Mon-Chaio Lo, Uber’s head of engineering for driver compliance, according to LinkedIn. Chatterjee co-founded Downticket but will not have a role beyond advisor following the merger.
Other voting and politics-oriented apps developed in Seattle over the past few years include Vote With Me, which launched an app to nudge friends to get to the polls around the same time Downticket was founded. In 2016, Seattle-based Democracy Live launched a voting guide app called LiveBallot.