Pre-seed pitch
🇺🇸

Pre-seed pitch

We’re on a mission to fix American politics, starting with political contributions, by building a self-serve advertising technology company.
Last edited 2024-05-07

Resources

Moodboard / Company Vibes
Moodboard / Company Vibes
Values
Values

What we’re raising:

  • $200k-$500k for the next ~6-12 months
  • Optimizing for the best angels (from the tech world, mostly, but very open to the political world and the media world)
  • Terms are flexible based on whoever the first big angel is
  • Timing is flexible too, the fundraising process “has not started” and will not start until we have significant traction / a couple weeks before it closes.

Thesis / vibes

  • American politics is broken, largely because of the changes over the last 50 years to our communications and media.
  • We’re polarized because:
    • Back in ~1960, straight white rich men had three networks they liked, everyone else had to deal with it, and the two parties were very similar ideologically.
      • As a result of the median voter theorem, that voters tend to elect the most centrist candidate … Hotelling’s law led the candidates (and parties, and newspapers, and networks, etc) to try and become as mainstream and similar as possible: They were like two lemonade vendors on a strip of beach: they both set up near the center. Thank you Keller Scholl for clarifying this point.
    • Information technology (media and communications) progressed, moving from broadcasting to individualized, niche feeds:
      • Video
        • cable: CNN/Fox → YouTube, Facebook videos → ultimately, TikTok and Instagram Reels
        Text
        • Before the internet, local newspapers were a franchise: they could use a monopoly on distribution and local advertising to support public interest journalism.
          • The monopoly model led the San Jose Mercury News, Tampa Bay Times, et al to tack to the inoffensive mainstream.
        • Today, we see online forums, Reddit, blogs, Twitter, Facebook, online identity-focused journalism, Substack, and the death of the local newspaper and local news economic viability in most cities.
      • Generally, we went from mainstream media to niche media (there’s more here, think of the transition from radio to podcasts; you get the gist).
    • All the new niche media appeals to a specific audience, and with the information environment so disparate, it’s inevitable we lack consensus reality or trust in mainstream institutions.
    • Worse, social media (TikTok, Instagram, Twitter) ultimately always sorts by engagement, so it sorts by controversiality.
      • Many Americans have spent too much time since October 7th worrying about a conflict they don’t understand and will not impact.
  • To fix American politics, we need to fix the media.
  • To gain a foothold into the media, we need to sit somewhere near where media earns its revenues: advertising.
  • If we dramatically expand the market for political giving, from $4B USD/year closer to the $400B USD/year in charitable giving, many good things will happen.
    • ⚖️
      Market research
    • In this world, more upper-middle- and middle-income Americans would give to political causes they care about, not just the very rich.
    • More less-ideological folks would be giving to political causes, reducing the bipolar nature of political giving.
      • For example, current pro/anti abortion spending is huge relative to pro-housing spending.
    • Nonpolarized areas are more likely to be positive-sum and lead to growth and progress.
    • Ultimately, an average San Franciscan would give towards the causes of cleaning up our streets, building homes, and other common-sense causes, not polarizing ideological ones.
      • This would shift the political balance of power in a good way.
    • Local media of all kinds could receive far more (and richly diversified) funding. The mid-roll ad on a local Instagram Reels newscast would command a much higher CPM than it does today, because many more dollars would be fighting to win the (initially not automated) auction for the ad slot.
      • This would directly improve local governance. Citation needed, but local media is correlated with less corruption.

What have you even accomplished?

🪦 Deprecated

Sequencing / timeline / guerilla marketing / various vibes

  • Before March 5, 2024: 🔒 initial mailer
  • ASAP: launch self-serve platform
  • ASAP: stand up all necessary relationships to programmatically place mailers and billboards
  • Part of the shtick is to minimise outbound marketing. We’re not trying to convert any existing campaigns or politicians to our platform. We’re trying to expand the size of the market by 10x. We’re hoping our initial ad campaigns go viral and get us organic awareness (”what the fuck is this billboard” “who is the Agency / the American Politics Company”)
    • We’re willing to blow ~$50k on self-funding a few ads for data points and to see what works before taking external customers.
  • First external customers will likely be tech startups, although we really want community nonprofits like YIMBY and SF Guardians to work with us, too.