The political technology market on the left continues a trend of acquisition post-2020 with Political Data, Inc. the latest to make a high-profile move.
The California-based company’s purchase of OutreachCircle, a relational organizing platform founded by Sangeeth Peruri in 2015, in an all-stock deal, follows EveryAction’s recent acquisition of Mobilize. In both cases, the startups being purchased were backed by progressive incubator Higher Ground Labs (HGL).
“They’ve been an amazing partner,” said Peruri, whose company was formerly known as VoterCircle. “We learned so much from them.”
Peruri said he started discussing selling his company with PDI CEO Gary Brown roughly a year ago. The deal was first delayed by the pandemic, then the crunch near the end of the cycle.
“It seemed pretty clear to both of us that it was a strong fit,” Peruri said, noting that many of his clients, which mainly consist of large advocacy groups, overlapped with PDI’s roster. PDI and OutreachCircle together have worked with scores of Democratic clients including the AFL-CIO, California Democratic Party, Los Angeles Federation of Labor, National Education Association, Nextgen America, the DCCC, and the DNC.
“It doesn’t have to take a long time, but this one did. We think there is going to be a natural consolidation in this space.”
OutreachCircle is a partner of EveryAction’s NGP VAN, although in some cases, PDI’s products overlap with the company. Asked about competing against the Democratic technology giant, Peruri said: “The goal is not to take on NGP VAN. We want to continue to build products that build on top of NGP VAN.”
PDI VP Paul Mitchell said the acquisition won’t “disrupt” Peruri’s work with NGP VAN, which declined to comment on the deal. Rather, Mitchell said it’s his belief the acquisition will bring an injection of innovative culture into a firm that has long focused on improving its California-centered product slate that caters mainly to campaign clients.
PDI “hasn’t had a history of making acquisitions,” Mitchell said. “It’s had a history of focusing on these tried, true parts of the campaign world. It’s that different culture.”The new company, which has some 50 employees, will now work to expand nationally.
“The expansion with OutreachCircle is going to allow us more tools to provide to those groups on either side, both campaigns and the non-profit sector,” he said.
While PDI works with non-partisans and Republicans in California, its national business will focus strictly on the left. Moreover, Mitchell said the move wasn’t about shoring up its California business.
“It doesn’t impact our strategic decisions what the national data firms do.” He added: “We’ll continue to shape the national strategy. The recent personnel changes don’t have anything to do with how we’re trying to envision our national work.”