Indigov lands more funding to connect besieged lawmakers and their oft-frustrated constituents – TechCrunch

Republican lawmakers are facing growing anger about the deadliest mass shooting at an American school in nearly a decade yesterday, with many of their voters expressing frustration at their consistently voting against even gun control reforms. still modest.

Social media cannot solve the problem. Indigov, a three-year-old, 70-person New York-based startup, can’t solve the problem either, but Outfits, a service platform for officials, might be able to help. . Its whole point is to give legislators and others a way to communicate with those who elected them to office, as well as to provide additional reassurance to these voters that the voice of they are being heard – and that their emails and tweets and messages are being read by an actual human being.

How it works? We spoke with the founder of Indigov, Alex Koutslast week, in the wake of yesterday’s tragedy, and he explained Indigov’s software-as-a-service offering was a kind of omnichannel communication platform with three components, all of which work together to empower better for public officials to “enter, analyze and deal with any kind of request or opinion or message to their office. ”

First, Indigov builds websites that Kouts says are much more responsive to voters than you might see when searching for a valet. The company refuses to publicly name its customers, although we were directed to a New York congressman’s website, which immediately presented the menu to visitors, asking if they wanted to request a menu. meeting or sign up for their newsletter or help their community, among them options.

The second, behind-the-scenes part that Indigov provides is a workflow management system that receives incoming messages from emails, websites, social media, and phone calls for which the company applies string matching accurate text in finding their content, Kouts said.

Kouts — who briefly worked at Brigade, a closed civilian tech startup co-founded by famed founder Sean Parker — claims the technology is more accurate than natural language processing. natural or machine learning, where error rates can range from 2% to 5%, just enough to be extremely serious problems. “That could mean that a participant could get an inappropriate response and get screenshotted and posted to Twitter and become a scandal,” Kouts said, adding combine text strings that the error rate is essentially “zero”. (He’s also maintained that by dramatically improving his staff’s ability to process inbound content that they can respond to voters in “hours” rather than months.)

The third part, according to Indigov, is simply to better manage the list of public servants so that they can actively communicate with them.

As with any young startup, how much traction Indigov can gain remains a question mark. By our estimates, the young company now has hundreds of customers based on its claim that “190 million Americans are supported” through its technology.

Meanwhile, the larger CRM vendors, including sales forceconsider the similar opportunity Indigov offers to replace the aging legacy systems that are plaguing the efforts of many civil servants.

Naturally, Kouts believes that Indigov is better suited for its growing expertise with government officials and voters. “A large number of major vendors are trying to break into the space, but our customers need a large number of super specific features, and while CRM systems are designed to drive customers If a customer buys something, the government basically doesn’t do it.”

Kouts further argues that the market Indiegov is pursuing is huge – and still wide open. He specifically pointed to FedRAMP, the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program created in 2011 as a way to ensure the security of cloud services used by the US government, saying: “I don’t think venture capitalists or most people understand that government, [through initiatives like FedRamp], is now starting to embrace cloud-based SaaS for the first time. . . there’s a window open for companies like us that are completely rewriting the scenario of what is govtech. ”

It was a convincing offer. It also seems to have worked. Indigov today announced that it has raised $25 million in Series B funding from Tusk Venture Partners, Wicklow Capital, Valor Equity Partners, and previous backer 8VC. This round brings the company’s total funding to more than $38.3 million to date.

Asked why it attracted him to the deal, Bradley Tusk of Tusk Ventures noted that he previously spent more than a decade working in local, state and federal government before becoming one. political advisers and investors and saw a lot of companies promising to fix the government. Indigov, he asserted, is “the only platform that I have seen that truly offers a solution to a major problem facing elected officials” and “allows them to spend more time addressing their needs.” individual needs of the electorate”.

They may need it more than ever after yesterday’s shooting in Texas. Today, on social media and elsewhere, many Republican legislators are being put on duty, including accepting donations from the National Rifle Association. Among them was Sen. Mitt Romney, who yesterday tweeted his “prayers and condolences” in the aftermath of the school riots.

Critics, including Jemele Hill, a contributor to The Atlantic, noted in feedback for tweets that Romney had previously accepted more than $13 million in donations from the NRA, according to data compiled by Brady Campaign to Stop Gun Violence.

A spokesman for the senator said in a later statement, “No one owns Senator Romney’s vote, as evidenced by his independent record in the Senate.”

But the statement and many others were soon overwhelmed by heartbroken Americans, who joined millions of others online to ask when the shootings would stop. Among them: NBA coach Steve Kerr, whose biological father died after being shot decades ago and whose condition worsened with pro-gun senators, in a pre-match interview, fast spread.

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