Close this search box.

The HGL Portfolio’s 2023 Impact

In the lead-up to 2024, our portfolio companies continued to generate tech and infrastructure value for the progressive movement this year. They demonstrate that there truly are no off-years when it comes to building political power for elections, organizing, and civic engagement. 

They implemented novel campaigning tactics and innovations to target left-out voters and protect reproductive rights. Their products, services, and technologies helped to tip close races in Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, and Mississippi, to the left. 

We’ve highlighted the impact of some of our portfolio companies this past year. Let us build on these successes, insights, and learnings as we hit the ground running in 2024.

Highlighting the HGL portfolio’s 2023 impact

BallotReady (HGL1) showed that there are no off-years for elections and civic engagement. In 2023, they covered 144 different elections across the country, collecting research on 51k voting locations and 83k candidates including for vital positions such as mayors, school boards, district attorneys, and county commissioners. BallotReady served 2M+ users looking to take action in their democracy. Additionally, they led an effort to dramatically improve the efficiency of our data gathering, and brought all of their tools together into one accessible Civic Center allowing a user to find ways to take civic action all year every year: contact elected officials, run for office, make a plan to vote, or become a poll worker. They expanded their customer base in 2023, including exciting new partnerships with public library systems, chambers of commerce, and big brands — including a live Civic Center on behalf of the Toledo Public Library system, as well as a new partnership to power election-related searches with Microsoft.

Change Research (HGL2) strengthened its mission to provide accessible public opinion research, completing over 270 polls and surveying 430k+ individuals across the United States. Their extensive surveys, totaling over 260M responses, impacted notable state and local elections, aiding candidates across various positions in diverse locations like Chicago, New Jersey, and Nashville, with particular impact flipping three Mayoral campaigns in Indiana from Republican to Democrat. Additionally, they conducted in-depth studies on pressing issues such as the Ukraine conflict and sponsored national surveys highlighting the perspectives of demographic groups like Black and youth voters. Through their nonpartisan division, Embold Research, they led groundbreaking studies on rural voters’ attitudes toward renewable development. Change Research launched innovative products catering to campaign needs like viability testing with Spark Polls, AI-based targeting models with Magnify AI Targeting, and modern qualitative research methods via text and video interviews with Voices.

Photo credit: One of Change Research’s many polls in 2023, focused on young voters’ political engagement. 

Civitech (2019 investment) served hundreds of clients with their voter engagement tools in some of the most important races in the country in places like Kentucky, Ohio, Virginia, and Mississippi. Using TextOut, their texting platform, they reached 12M+ voters and sent 2.5M unique voter registration mailers helping to expand democracy and combat voter suppression. They also grew their proprietary database of potential voters composed of the New American Majority, low-income, young, and people of color voters, to 49M+ records.

Daisychain (HGL6) teamed up with Rural Ground Game in Virginia to send out over 100k personalized Get Out the Vote Messages to people across the state. Daisychain’s Charms feature enabled each voter to receive a personalized animated GIF that highlighted crucial information like polling place details, vote history, and more. When the results were tallied, Virginia Democrats maintained their control of the state Senate and flipped the state House. This campaign was run as part of a large-scale experiment in partnership with Indigo, who will analyze the voter turnout data early next year to help determine optimal strategies for targeting and messaging voters in 2024 elections.

Goodstock & Co. (HGL4) proudly joined forces with Ohioans United for Reproductive Rights and Rural Organizing PAC on the 2023 Issue 1 ballot initiative in Ohio, and was honored to play a role in their overwhelming victory for reproductive rights. Their strategic merchandise programs utilized Goodstock’s e-commerce platform and empowered supporters with custom merchandise and apparel. In addition, the organizations were able to use our bulk and individual yard sign distribution program to distribute 10k+ yard signs, amplifying voices on the ground and empowering local volunteers in their day-to-day organizing efforts. Read more about their efforts here.

Grow Progress‘ (HGL2) partners ran 600+ tests in 2023, collecting 1M+ survey responses. Organizations used Grow Progress’ tools to identify persuasive messaging and ad content across the country and at every level of the ballot — from the Wisconsin Supreme Court to Virginia State Legislature and from protecting abortion access to reaching new voters. These tests added 1,368 messages to Grow Progress’ Persuasion Library, a key resource for the progressive community to learn together what works and jump start message development.

Hovercast (2021 investment) powered the Give Backular Spectacular, a star-studded livestreamed fundraiser that raised $500k+ in relief for TV and film crews impacted by the Hollywood strikes this past fall. Hovercast also powered digital events for progressive groups like Supermajority and the WisDems, as well as a ground-breaking interactive game show on TikTok for a major consumer brand.

Photo credit: The Hollywood Reporter’s feature on the Hovercast-powered fundraiser.

Impactive (HGL3) had its fifth year of supporting leading campaigns and advocacy organizations in their outreach efforts in 2023. New partners like Black Voters Matter Fund did substantial work to turn out voters in elections nationwide; the organization has sent almost 21M messages thus far, and is still running programs to support December runoffs. Other advocacy organizations and nonprofits like Voters of Tomorrow, Houston in Action, and Movement for Black Lives conducted similarly high-impact programs spanning peer-to-peer texting, broadcast texting, phone banking, and more. Plus, Impactive piloted an exciting partnership with Community Change Action and SoSha (a fellow HGL portfolio company!) on an AI integration to help volunteers share content on social media, with high potential to expand similar programs in 2024.

INTRVL (HGL5) makes progressive media more efficient with game-changing targeting and measurement optimizations. They helped maximize media impact in key 2023 races by building more efficient audiences with persuasion and mobilization insights derived from measuring $30M+ in paid media. Working with Conservation Voters of PA, these optimizations helped their digital ad campaign mobilize 40% more voters without increasing spend (case study here). Combined with INTRVL’s other predictive data sets like Digital Reachability Scores, their real-time measurements and rapid audience generation solutions are ready to help campaigns and programs of all sizes become more effective in 2024.

Oath (HGL6) donors gave $700K+ to 150+ candidates and committees in 2023, driving victories in 72% of recommended races. Even more critically, Oath’s top recommended races were decided by the narrowest of margins – where every dollar mattered. 8 out of 10 of Oath’s top candidates were in races decided by 3.5% or less. In addition, Oath hit a major milestone – directing 100k+ donations since launching in 2022.

OpenField (HGL3) exists to automate the predictably mundane parts of managing Direct Contact programs so that organizers can sleep more. In 2023, they saved 60k+ hours in manual administration vs MiniVANOpenField partnered with State Voices in Ohio this year. Brandon Jessup, State Voices’ Deputy National Data and Technology director, said: “[State Voices] ran a trial of [OpenField] in Miami and their tool is the truth. OpenField cuts the time to launch a canvass by 60%, their tool cuts turf easily and faster than… any other tool on the market…Not only did we test in Florida earlier this year, I coordinated additional canvasses in Ohio for the August Special Election to defeat Issue 1… We had a 38% contact rate on the doors in Cleveland… reaching out to BIPOC households with turnout scores under 60%.” 

People First (HGL3) continues to pioneer precision influencer marketing in politics and advocacy. Reaching 3.4M+ voters in 2023, People First supported Democrats in winning the Wisconsin Supreme Court race, reelecting Andy Beshear in Kentucky, and advocating for essential mental health legislation for children in Colorado.

Photo credit: @dunnfamilyfun’s Instagram post, a People First-powered campaign.

Quiller (2023 investment) launched the first-to-market generative AI tool for political and nonprofit fundraising email content. Since its launch in July, Quiller has been featured as the de facto example of positive, responsible AI tech in elections in over 10 top news outlets including the NY Times, LA Times, AP, the Hill, Morning Brew, PBS and ABC. Quiller was also named Startup of the Year from Campaigns & Elections and AI Innovation of the Year from Ad Week. The team has been driving home the significant advantages available with responsible use of AI. This has included championing positive use cases at over a dozen conferences and webinars to audiences of 500+. Quiller is helping teams and managers have productive conversations to define effective and values-aligned adoption of AI with staff to address jobs concerns. This buyer/market preparedness helps remove barriers to entry for a slew of AI technologies that can provide significant advantages to teams with confident adoption of new tools.

Relentless (HGL6) collaborated with the Brandon Presley for Governor campaign in Mississippi to execute a highly successful statewide relational organizing program this year. They recruited 1,729 Presley Ambassadors who reached and mobilized 72,501 friends and family across all 82 counties in Mississippi, contributing to the closest margin in a Governor’s race since 1999. Over 50% of the people reached by the relational program hadn’t voted in the 2019 election, and over 83% of the relational network were people of color. The cost per unique person reached was $9.31 and cost per relational touchpoint was $1.93.  Additionally, the relational program reached targeted low-propensity voters at a 26% cheaper cost per voter than paid canvass.

Social Currant (HGL6) helped over 50 progressive organizations and nonprofits reach 30M+ people (primarily Gen Z voters) around critical issues like reproductive justice, caregiving, and other social justice issues this year. This involved activations in Ohio, Virginia, and Pennsylvania to mobilize young voters for elections. Social Currant also engaged over 4,000 creators, primarily non-political creators, through initiatives like creator briefings, their newsletter, and paid campaigns.

Warchest (HGL3) helped dozens of campaigns across the country win in 2023, including critical Virginia state house and senate races. Warchest continues to support races of all sizes to budget successfully and spend down to zero in the final weeks of the campaign. Its budget and finance plan tools have become a staple component for winning campaigns.