Higher Ground Labs on Thursday promised a share of $2.5 million in funding to progressive startups accepted into its 2019 accelerator program.
“Higher Ground Labs is excited to begin our search for the next round of innovative tech startups that will help progressives win elections and retake the White House in 2020,” said Betsy Hoover, the incubator’s co-founder.
Another $3 million in funding was also available for companies who were accepted into the two earlier incubator classes in 2017 and 2018. To receive the funding, the company needs to reapply, according to Higher Ground.
HGL has invested around $5 million in startups since its first application window closed in June 2017.
Armed with that seed money, HGL’s accelerator program has already seen some of its startups make an impact in the industry.
Last cycle, The Tuesday Company, whose Team app became a DCCC-endorsed product, received funding and support from HGL during its 2017 round of investment in progressive startups, and MobilizeAmerica, another startup incubated by Higher Ground, worked with the DNC and with state party organizations across the country to build volunteer infrastructure.
Shomik Dutta, HGL co-founder, noted the urgency around this accelerator class. “This is our last opportunity to build cutting-edge technology in the run-up to 2020,” said Dutta.
Hoover also sounded a note of urgency. “We have seen time and again that Republicans are drastically out-investing Democrats across the board when it comes to political technology,” she said.
Hoover expressed similar concerns about Democratic campaigns’ digital budgets in the wake of her side’s midterm victory last November. “It’s something we’ve got to get on top of going into 2020,” she told Roll Call last month.
Now, the group is looking for applicants in the areas of “generating, tracking, and optimizing cross-channel media, integrating and measuring organizational performance, fighting disinformation and false media, and empowering people and programs to unlock a broader electorate.”
If the experience of The Tuesday Company is any indication, it can take around 12 months from acceptance into the program to have a real-world impact on Democratic campaigns. During the 2018 cycle, HGL invested in 23 companies.
The deadline to apply for the 2019 class is Feb. 22 at 5 p.m. Central. Click here to submit.