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PoliticalBank

Where candidates can fundraise, rally support, & communicate their stance

Raised from 28 investors

Min: $25,000

Max: $107,000

$4,803

of a $25,000—$107,000 goal

Security Offered

Convertible Note

Minimum Investment: $100

  • Generated more than $212,000 in revenue in 2018

  • Managed over $100,000 in campaign expenditures for Indiana State Representative Chuck Goodrich

  • In 2018, candidate-claimed profiles grew to 1,680, a 61% year-over-year increase

  • Has provided revenue-generating services to 190 candidates

Terms

Investment Terms

Security Type: Crowd Note

Round Size: Min: $25,000 Max: $107,000

Valuation Cap: $4,000,000

Discount: 20%

Conversion Provisions: In connection with equity financing of at least $1,000,000, the Company has the option to convert the Crowd Note into non-voting preferred units (Conversion Units) at a price based on the lower of (A) a 20% discount to the price per unit paid for Preferred Units by investors in the Qualified Equity Financing or (B) the price per unit paid on a $4,000,000 valuation cap. Please refer to the Crowd Note for a complete description of the terms of the Crowd Note, including the conversion provisions.

Overview

Opportunity

For local- and state-level candidates, as well as voters, the current political landscape can present challenges that make running for office and finding accurate candidate information difficult. Voters, many of whom consume impactful news online, appear worried about misinformation spreading through the internet. A Pew Research Center study conducted after the 2016 U.S. election found that 64% of American adults believe that fake news stories cause confusion, while 23% said that they shared false political stories.i For local and state candidates, issues relating to the cost and complexity of campaigns may create barriers to entry. The AP reported that 2018 spending on state-level campaigns (i.e. governor, legislature and other state offices) totaled $2.2 billion.ii At the local level, a 2012 study found that the median amount spent by winning candidates in large cities was $46,337.iii Between the various aspects of voter outreach, gathering campaign contributions, and managing their online presence, those interested in running for local or state office may feel overwhelmed.

PoliticalBank has developed a nonpartisan platform that enables candidates to manage their campaign more affordably and efficiently. With features like built-in fundraising support and social media connection integration, candidates can easily connect with voters and communicate their stances on various issues. In addition to providing comprehensive tools designed to offer greater accessibility for those looking to start a political campaign, it also helps facilitate direct communication between voters and those running for office. In addition to its platform, PoliticalBank offers candidates additional consulting and campaign management services, as well as logo development and campaign-branded apparel to provide an all-in-one resource for a candidate’s campaigning needs.

Product

Platform

PoliticalBank’s platform was designed to give candidates an intuitive way to engage with constituents on relevant issues, while also facilitating the automation of various aspects of the campaign process. Candidate profiles feature pertinent information regarding the candidate, such as a short bio, location, district, political affiliation, and office they hold (incumbents) or are seeking (challengers). The profile also displays a candidate’s stance on selected issues, ranging from economic issues like taxes to social issues such as immigration. Those running for office can input their own thoughts on an issue while choosing their stance on a 5-point scale from “strongly oppose” to “strongly support.” Potential voters are able to filter and search for candidates by location, political status, demographic, or issue. Profiles can also include links to a candidate’s social media profiles, and candidates can share their profile and/or their positions across their social media. The platform’s built-in online fundraising and donation collection service facilitate campaign contributions, should a candidate choose to link his or her account to the platform. Subscription options to receive candidate updates or to volunteer for a campaign are also available with the simple click of a button.

In order to encourage candidates to use its site, PoliticalBank collects information about every candidate who files to run for office in the United States and uses that data to pre-populate PoliticalBank.com candidate profiles. The company then invites those candidates to claim their PoliticalBank.com profiles.

Hire a Specialist

PoliticalBank offers candidates the ability to hire in-house specialists to aid in aspects of the campaigning process. Candidates can hire a campaign consultant to manage the whole campaign, or PoliticalBank specialists can be hired to perform specific tasks. Current service offerings include:

Website Updating & Management

PoliticalBank’s tech team will clean, optimize, and keep campaign pages current

Social Media Manager

Create social media accounts and make posts specifically designed to increase followers

Campaign Artwork Designer

Anything that a candidate intends to print for distribution, including mail, logo, handouts, signs, shirts, and stickers. Priced per item with unlimited revisions and includes delivery of print-ready artwork.

Digital Ad & Layout Design

Six professionally-designed digital ads created specifically for the message a candidate wants to convey

Voter Specific Digital Ad Placements

Digital ads launched to specific voter lists

Website Build & Optimization

If a candidate prefers a stand-alone campaign website instead of, or in addition to, his/her PoliticalBank website, PoliticalBank’s tech team will build one from scratch. Candidates may provide custom messaging, pictures/videos to display, and a URL... Political Bank will do the rest

Merchandise

PoliticalBank gives candidates the option to purchase campaign-branded merchandise through its website. Offerings include, without limitation, golf caps, t-shirts, koozies, bumper stickers, yard signs, stickers, and postcards. If a candidate chooses, PoliticalBank offers customer service support to help design and customize purchased items to fit the campaign theme of the candidate at no additional cost. The company also offers merchandise kits of varying sizes that combine various products and quantities of merchandise.

 

 

 

Use of Proceeds and Product Roadmap

If the minimum amount is raised, the company plans to use $15,000 towards the re-payment of credit card debt and $10,000 to market its website and products. Should it raise the maximum $107,000, PoliticalBank plans to use 67% of the funds raised to support the development of proprietary technology, which includes the hiring of a full time software engineer to help with the development. At the maximum target, PoliticalBank also plans to allocate funds to marketing, repayment of debt, and equipment purchases. The company may alter the use of proceeds at its discretion and in limited circumstances.

The company plans to make software changes aimed at expanding beyond political campaigns, targeting organizations such as political action committees (PACs), special interest groups, small businesses, and corporate customers. PoliticalBank hopes to create a Wikipedia-style public editing platform that allows qualified public users to contribute content about issues, candidates, and elected officials. The company also hopes to develop a data-analytics product for customers to gather voter-based issue intelligence to help optimize their campaign strategy and spending.

Business Model

PoliticalBank’s engagement platform operates as a “freemium” model, meaning that the company allows candidates to create profiles for free and then attempts to upsell campaign goods and services or take transaction fees on donations made through the platform. The company generates revenue through the following channels:

  • Donation Processing: 5.4% processing fee on donations made through the platform
  • Campaign Specialist Services: Service prices fluctuate depending on the number of months purchased, ad impressions requested, or hours of consulting requested. Base prices range from $125 to $1,500.
  • Campaign Merchandise: Prices for merchandise vary depending on product.

Campaign Accelerator Packages: PoliticalBank also offers campaign accelerator packages that aim to help candidates better utilize their campaigning resources. The company offers three tiers of package: Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced. Features of each tier are as follows:

Basic

  • Candidate Consultation
  • Initial Analysis Report
  • Voter & District Profile
  • PoliticalBank Website Customization and Optimization

Intermediate

  • All features of Basic tier
  • Flyer Design
  • Reservation & Optimization of Social Media Properties
  • Banner Ad Candidacy Announcements (250,000 Impressions)

Advanced

  • All features of Intermediate and Basic tiers
  • Opposition Research
  • Mail Flyer Design
  • Yard/Field Sign Design
  • Donor List (1,000 Donors)

User Traction

As of December 2018, PoliticalBank has more than 1,700 candidate-claimed profiles on its platform, representing every U.S. state. The company has provided revenue-generating services for 190 candidates, with 177 candidates linking their bank accounts to their PoliticalBank website. Notable candidate-claimed accounts include U.S. Senator Todd Young, Vice President Mike Pence, and Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb.

In 2018, PoliticalBank helped Indiana State Representative Chuck Goodrich campaign for his Republican primary race. The company helped Goodrich manage over $100,000 in campaign expenditures, providing services such as redesigning his logo, reserving ad space in the local newspaper, and hiring a virtual “campaign staff” to help manage other aspects of the campaign. Other services provided to the campaign were social media management, voter list and data segmentation, digital marketing, direct mail, door-to-door volunteering, website design, and merchandise design and fulfillment. In a poll ran by PoliticalBank at the beginning of the engagement with Goodrich, the candidate was third out of four potential candidates. Ultimately, Goodrich won his primary.

Historical Financials

The majority of PoliticalBank’s revenue is generated through consulting services offered to candidates. The company also receives a small portion of revenue from donation processing fees. The company saw revenue increases in Q1 and Q2 of 2018 due to campaigning services provided to the Chuck Goodrich campaign. In 2016, the majority of the company’s revenue was generated from one, unique marketing customer. Revenue is also cyclical and fluctuates with the U.S. political campaigning season.

In Q1 2019, the company incurred expenses of $9,718, a decrease from Q1 2018 expenses of $121,056. The decrease in expenses in Q1 2019 relative to Q1 2018 can be attributed primarily to a $41,226 decrease in salaries, as well as a $37,329 decrease in cost of goods sold. Expenses spiked in Q4 of the last three years due to the amortization of the company’s website, which is incurred in December of each year.

By percentage, the company’s total expenses for the past three years can be broken down into the following categories:

In 2018, PoliticalBank realized a net loss of roughly $235,000, versus net loss of $330,000 in 2017. In 2018, the company averaged a monthly cash burn of roughly $11,336, compared to a monthly average burn rate of roughly $26,356 in 2017. In Q1 2019, PoliticalBank decreased its average monthly burn rate to $3,388. As of March 31st 2019, the company has $3,228 of cash on hand. As a result of its low cash on hand, the company has decided to halt salaries for all employees. The company’s co-founders plan to cover any business-related expenses incurred until the company completes its raise.

Industry

According to the 2016 U.S. Census, out of the approximately 245.5 million Americans over the age of 18, roughly 157.6 million reported being registered to vote. For the 2016 U.S. Federal elections, nearly 136.8 million actually voted, or roughly 56% of the U.S. voting-age population. This percentage ranked the U.S. 26th out of the 32 nations within the Organization for Economic and Cooperation and Development (OECD) in terms of election turnout.iv

In a 2018 survey conducted by Pew Research Center, 95% of voters indicated that being knowledgeable about the candidates and issues was somewhat or very important in U.S. elections. However, in the same study, 39% of those surveyed believed voters were “not too” knowledgeable, while 21% believed voters were “not at all” knowledgeable.v However, in an effort to become more knowledgeable and increase engagement in the political process, 67% of Americans reported having engaged in either volunteering, donating, attending protests or meetings, contacting officials, or expressing political views on social media. Pew Research Center also found that the vast majority of donors (84%) donate less than $250, with 53% of donors giving less than $100. The survey also found that roughly half of the population surveyed discussed politics at least a few times a week.vi

Due in part by proposed legislative changes, as well as newly implemented Democratic National Committee (DNC) requirements, political campaigns have increased their emphasis on low-dollar donations. The DNC is now enforcing a requirement that debaters on the national stage receive donations from 65,000 unique donors, with 200 donors each from 20 states, forcing many 2020 Democratic presidential candidates to push for smaller donations at a higher volume.vii As of February 2019, a proposed bill dubbed the “For the People Act” plans to match low-dollar contributions with public funds. The bill would, in theory, incentivize campaigns to seek out small individual contributions, perpetuating the increasingly popular trend of low-dollar contributions.viii

Social media and other internet-based platforms have become increasingly prevalent in advertising political campaigns. According to media research firm Borrell Associates, $1.8 billion was expected to have been spent on digital and online political ads in 2018, roughly 20% of campaigns’ total spend on advertising. In 2014, Borrell estimated that digital advertising totaled $271 million, or just 3.3% of the total advertising spend. Further, roughly 60% of digital advertising was expected to be allocated specifically towards social media platforms such as YouTube, Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.ix

Competitors

CrowdPAC

Founded in 2013, CrowdPAC is a crowdfunding platform that allows political candidates to create profiles and receive donations from constituents. CrowdPAC seeks to ensure that all donations are compliant with campaign finance regulations, and provides candidates with campaign insights and advice to gain a better understanding of where donations are coming from. In addition to its main campaign page, CrowdPAC allows candidates to create an unlimited amount of “Action Pages” that funnel into the main page. The Action Pages can  feature custom content that allows for candidates to build email lists, create RSVP pages for events, and even sell campaign merchandise. As of November 2018, CrowdPAC’s user base has grown 400% from 2016.x In October 2017, the company raised of $5.26 million.xi

Ballotpedia

Launched in 2007, Ballotpedia is a non-profit digital encyclopedia of American politics and elections. The site serves as a resource for nonpartisan news relating to elections, candidates, political issues, and public policy. According to the company, it currently has over 276,000 encyclopedic articles, and offers daily, weekly, and monthly email newsletters. Since its founding, the site has received over 1.3 billion page views and has been referenced in more than 14,000 media outlets including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Politico. Ballotpedia is sponsored by the Lucy Burns Institute, a non-partisan and nonprofit organization headquartered in Middleton, Wisconsin.xii

NationBuilder

Founded in 2009, NationBuilder provides software solutions to non-profits, advocacy groups, businesses, and political campaigns. The company allows customers to create a custom website, process donations, send targeted emails with social insights, and utilize information to turn supporters into advocates. NationBuilder also provides a network of experts to help users design and develop their sites. The platform also allows for the integration of existing apps that target specific areas of campaigning, such as supporter engagement, direct advocacy, and content management. NationBuilder offers two packages for individuals and groups: Leader which starts at $29 per month and Team which starts at $199 per month and includes more customization options and additional features such as email A/B testing. According to the company, its platform is used by over 9,000 customers across 112 countries.xiii In June 2013, NationBuilder raised a Series B round of $8 million, led by Omidyar Network with participation from Andreessen Horowitz.xiv

Team

Adam H. Berry

Co-Founder and CEO

Adam brings twelve years of operations and management experience to PoliticalBank – both inside and outside of politics. As the Governor’s appointed Regulatory Policy Director & Special Counsel, he helped draft and lead new legislation, and worked closely with state agency directors to research, implement, and monitor administrative initiatives. In addition to coordinating all of PoliticalBank’s major priorities, Adam’s legal training gives the company a de facto in-house counsel for compliance, contracts, and other agreements – including employment contracts and product partnerships. Currently, Adam serves as the Vice President of Economic Development and Technology at the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. Adam was also the Associate General Counsel for the Indiana Department of Insurance and an Associate Attorney at Littler Mendelson. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Wabash College in Psychology, and a JD from Indiana University.

Frank Short

Co-Founder and Chief Political Officer

At PoliticalBank, Frank helps lead the company’s capital raising efforts, and advises the company on financial matters. Frank has 35 years of political experience, including being elected to local office in Chicago, as well as City-County Councilor in Indianapolis. Currently, Frank is the President of the Indiana Public Employers’ Plan, the elected Trustee of Washington Township (Indianapolis), and Chairman and CEO of Short Strategy Group, a government services firm he started in 2003. Frank holds his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Indiana Weslayan University, and a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from the University of Indiana.

Jeff Mitchell

Head of Product Technology

At PoliticalBank, Jeff manages a team of four software engineers who work part time to execute the company’s development backlog. Jeff is also the Vice President of Engineering at Healthx. He has previously held the positions of Senior Director of Engineering at Angie’s List, and Director of Research and Development at Sage. Jeff holds his BS in Engineering, specializing in Robotics, from Purdue University.

Past Funding

Discussion

Endnotes

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