Dear customers, partners, and friends,
We’re thrilled to announce that Phone2Action has secured growth funding from Frontier Capital, a Charlotte-based software investor that helps companies like ours at critical stages transform their industry. This investment will help us fuel innovation, global expansion, and the acquisition of other complementary technologies to take digital advocacy and public affairs technology to new heights. We are both excited and humbled by Frontier’s validation of the technology we have built and their recognition of our vision.
Phone2Action Was Born From a Problem
It wasn’t that long ago—late 2012 in fact—when Ximena met Jeb and shared her desire to build an application that would make it easier for people to take action and reach lawmakers. Ximena was the head of grassroots advocacy for a national education group and desperate for tools that would help her mobilize people more effectively. The existing solutions were clunky and didn’t work on mobile. She initially wanted to build a tool for her organization, but Jeb, who had a background in creating mobile tech businesses, saw a bigger opportunity to make something that would be available to everyone.
Growing From an Idea on a Bar Napkin
While smartphone adoption was low at the time, we knew that smartphones would eventually become ubiquitous. We drew the concept on a napkin and bought the Phone2Action domain for $9.00 at a bar in Sacramento, CA. Later on, Jeb moved to Kansas City, where the Think Big Partners Accelerator provided seed funding for us. While in Kansas City, Jeb met Patrick, a 19-year-old tech wizard who helped make our prototype a reality. That was the beginning of a very rewarding journey.
Over the next six years, as people like Luke, Gerry, JP, and John joined the company, we partnered with impactful organizations to make this technology accessible to the public. Today, nearly 600 clients and thousands of administrators use the Phone2Action platform, and tens of thousands of people take action on Phone2Action-powered campaigns every day. They say that in the real world, heroes do not wear capes, and we see this first-hand in the many people who dedicate their personal and professional lives to empower others to act.
Injecting Modern Technology into an Old-Fashioned Industry
In 2012, advocacy wasn’t “cool” like it is today. This made launching harder, but also pushed us to think completely outside-of-the-box. We weren’t D.C. insiders, which helped us approach things differently. Solutions of the past were very expensive for organizations, and none of them worked on mobile. Phone2Action came onto the scene and made websites with action pages accessible in minutes, eliminating the need to spend tens of thousands of dollars and many weeks on development work. We made the technology available to organizations of all sizes, making a big impact on policy-making across the U.S. through the many campaigns we powered.
Building the platform from scratch also gave us the opportunity to develop a long-term vision of what we wanted the technology to do. Now, we have longitudinal data on actions that no one else in the industry has. The insights on how, when, and through which devices people advocate inform our current innovation. We’re excited about partnering with Frontier Capital because we know that together, we will push the limits of innovation in advocacy and policy-making, ultimately making our democracy more responsive to popular feedback.
Looking Ahead to the Next Chapter
Technology is still changing the way constituents participate in the civic process today. Both access to information and technology and the urgency of so many social issues are empowering people in ways we have never seen before. The future of grassroots advocacy and public affairs lies in our ability to learn from the insights we have from the past, and to use technologies like machine learning to discover more effective ways to engage advocates and increase their influence in policy-making.
Building this company has been a rollercoaster—lots of highs and lows, but it’s always been thrilling. We started working from our kitchens, without drawing salaries for many months.
It takes a village! We owe everything to our customers, who were our first investors; our amazing multi-cultural team of people from all over the U.S. and 20 different countries; all the Phone2Action families; Square 1 Bank; our early investors Think Big, Dundee Venture Capital, and Osage Venture Partners; our mentors and champions Gary Shapiro and Martin O’Malley; our first advisors Adrian Fenty, Gabe Klein, Nathan Daschle, Ray Benton and Joellyn Gray; former Governor Terry McCauliffe and the Arlington County team led by Victor Hoskins; Rosslyn Improvement District and Mary-Claire Burick for their unwavering support; and hundreds of others who have helped us along the way.
Our next phase is just beginning. We are pumped to take advocacy and policy-making to new frontiers with Andrew, Michael, and the entire Frontier Capital team in this next chapter of the company.
Ximena & Jeb
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