Tech investors on the left are searching for ways to deploy artificial intelligence in campaigns. Some areas where they think it could be helpful include volunteer recruitment, cold voter contact, and fundraising.
That’s according to the latest investment thesis from Higher Ground Labs (HGL), the progressive tech incubator that’s boasted several startup investment successes in recent years, including Mobilize, BallotReady, and Impactive.
The incubator this week opened the application window for its 2023 accelerator cohort. Entrepreneurs accepted into the program receive things like mentoring, networking help and, of course, funding. In addition to HGL’s own investment, the incubator said it has helped participants “raise $85 million after the accelerator.”
That funding may be more crucial in this uncertain economic environment where even fast-growth tech companies that have gone public recently are facing a “cash crunch.”
Despite the economic gloom hanging over the economy, HGL’s leadership believes now is the time to start growing companies that will service campaigns in 2023-24.
“With the next presidential cycle just around the corner, now is the moment to not only examine the gaps that remain but also invest in unmet ecosystem-wide needs,” HGL’s Gerard Niemira wrote in the latest HGL investment thesis.
In addition to AI, the incubator is also looking for startups working to “improve data accessibility,” which progressive practitioners had reported was a top pain point in HGL’s 2022 Election Tech Survey.
“The progressive ecosystem needs better data accessibility, integrations, and analytics,” Niemira wrote. “We are seeking tools that are not only capable of coordinating and integrating data, but also providing value-added functionalities that enhance the efficacy and relevancy of this data.”
Other areas that HGL is looking at include: simplifying donor tracking and compliance, and developing financial technology (fintech) for campaigns and workplace infrastructure.
For the latter category, Niemira noted the rise of remote work since the pandemic. “We seek solutions that help ease this transition and support our ecosystem to practice the progressive values we preach,” he wrote. “Tech solutions we seek include but are not limited to innovative training, HR and benefits software, employee wellbeing, and remote collaboration.”
The open-call application deadline is April 9.