The recent layoffs in Democratic Big Tech, and the accompanying online chatter about customer service and ownership loyalties, is creating an inviting environment for smaller players looking to challenge for a larger market share.
Speaking on the sidelines of Startup Week Louisville, Joshua Bartley, co-founder of Campaign Deputy, rattled off the moves that his company has made in recent months, from hiring its first full-time developer and engaging a design firm to revamp the platform and its branding to renting office space.
“I’ve actually got a meeting with a pretty big digital agency on Thursday where they’re interested in trying something new to basically hedge their bet so that they’re not caught flatfooted if some major announcement comes out in the future where they’re kind of maybe stuck with a system that no longer gets feature updates or maintenance or takes days to get any sort of support requests from,” Bartley told C&E.
Founded in 2017, Campaign Deputy is primarily a compliance CRM platform, which has been growing as approvals have rolled in on a state-by-state basis, but is beta testing other features that compete with ActionKit, an online fundraising and email program CRM.
“We’ve been operating in a small portion of that market and that’s allowed us to grow,” said Bartley. “But I think there is a lot of concern over support, maintenance and features [at NGP VAN]. People are tweeting about when is NGP going to respond to support tickets, and that sort of thing.”
NGP VAN recently announced layoffs as part of a broader reorganization being made by parent company Bonterra. Part of those layoffs included core staff at ActionKit. The company didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Bartley added: “Now is a really good time for any political tech in the space to really hone in on their customer experience because I think so many people are missing that and really actually want get back to that level.”
Now, Campaign Deputy hasn’t received any investment from tech incubators on the left, and Bartley said its expansion has mainly been bootstrapped, although they have received a line of credit from a local bank in Louisville to help with cash flow.
“We’re in a good spot,” he said. “We’re managing our cash flow so that we don’t have to get into that situation [where the company has to be acquired].
“Now, I’m not saying that will never happen, but we’ve got very strict rules about what we think an investment would look like and no one has ever come to the table meeting all of those requirements.”