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Highlighting Black-founded political tech companies

Last updated on February 23, 2024

At Higher Ground Labs, we make early investments in founders and ventures solving the most significant challenges for political tech and democracy. And each February, we honor and celebrate Black History Month.

The Black founders in our portfolio have incredible vision, strong resilience, and sharp expertise. They build their products not only with world-class technical and domain expertise but also with a deep understanding of what our democracy needs through their lived experiences.

We know that 0.48% of venture capital dollars go towards Black founders. At the same time, only 11% of congressional members identify as Black. We are committed to continued investment in Black political tech founders — if this is you, reach out to us.

For so many reasons, we celebrate the work of HGL’s Black-founded political tech companies. This list of Black-founded political tech companies is a resource for you to save, share, and support year-round. 

Black-founded political tech companies (A-Z)

INTRVL (HGL5) helps campaigns turbocharge their ad performance with advanced media optimization and audience research tools. These innovative tools make in-field media measurement more cost-efficient and insightful, unlocking ~3x more effective ad buys without additional media spend.
Co-founder & CEO Steven McAlpine is a Brooklyn native and Columbia-trained data scientist who sharpened his chops in the Hawkfish boiler room prior to starting INTRVL. 
JusticeText (HGL5) is building the first centralized infrastructure to store, catalog, analyze, and share video evidence in the criminal justice system. The platform is explicitly designed to improve outcomes for low-income criminal defendants by enabling greater transparency and accountability around police interactions.
Co-founder & CTO Leslie Jones-Dove is a full-stack engineer who helped build JusticeText as part of a computer science class project at the University of Chicago, and has since scaled it to a successful platform serving dozens of public defense agencies nationwide. 
OpenField (HGL3) provides everything you need to build your movement and create lasting change in one place. Their complete toolset facilitates and analyzes authentic conversations so you can activate, persuade, and register anyone… at scale.
Co-founder & CEO Ari Trujillo-John is a nationally-recognized field director and engineer who honed their skills at the Sierra Club, 2016 Bernie Sanders campaign, and Wellstone Action. Ari is a non-binary, Afro-Xicana, San Josean. 
Plural (HGL2) — formerly Civic Eagle — helps organizations more effectively advocate for public policy changes with a bleeding-edge product backed by their proprietary civic data and analytics. They are a diverse team guided by a vision to improve democracy and increase transparency.
Co-founders CEO Damola Ogundipe, COO Yemi Adewunmi, and Advisor Shawntera Hardy are not only policy experts but also talented entrepreneurs, product designers, and people & culture leaders who joined forces to build Plural. 
CIVA (HGL6) is an impact engagement platform that empowers organizations and communities to design, fund, analyze, and measure programs that create sustainable positive change. CIVA’s mission is to connect and empower organizations and communities to take informed action, access funding, and create sustainable social impact.
Co-founders Ackeem Evans and Jermaine Hartsfield met while serving in Albania in the Peace Corps as international development volunteers. As a past staffer and project manager working to consolidate voting information, Ackeem teamed up with Jermaine on their mission to transform the civic engagement process. 
Votus (HGL4) is a communications platform that helps organizations build relationships with persuadable audiences through 1:1 interactions across multiple digital channels. Their software helps organizations identify and engage their audiences across different social networks at scale.
Co-founder, CEO, and lawyer Brandon Harris leveraged his expertise to build the personalized civic engagement platform called Votus.

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