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Company Profile: Meet Swayable

In April, we announced our second cohort of 13 start-ups addressing a broad range of challenges in politics, ranging from polling solutions to psychographic mapping to persuasion testing to volunteer engagement. Every month, we’ll take a look at a different startup in our cohort and share ways you can support their work! We’re kicking the month off with Swayable.

In a world of “fake news”, ideological bubbles and 24/7 content, it’s difficult to tell whether media messages are truly changing people’s minds. Despite spending millions of hours and dollars to get out well-crafted messages, campaigns aren’t able to measure just how persuasive their messages really are. Swayable is on a mission to accelerate the rate of social change by breaking through the filter bubble with important stories that people need to hear.

Swayable is a reliable, fast way to know whether your videos or other content are actually changing people’s minds. This media analytics platform uses data science to measure how content shapes people’s minds, providing storytellers and advocates with a tool for creating impactful content. Swayable runs experiments at scale to collect input, feedback and reactions to find the most moving, effective messages that have the greatest potential of influencing people’s attitudes and behaviors.

The company is run by co-founders James Slezak and Valerie Coffman. Slezak serves as CEO and is the former VP and Chief of Operations at NYT Global as well as the co-founder of New Economy Lab and Valerie R. Coffman, CTO,  previously worked at the National Institute of Standards and Technology and specializes in natural language processing and search engine technology. Slezak and Coffman met as physics PhD students at Cornell as members of the same housing cooperative.

Campaigns using Swayable are increasing their impact on opinions by 100% or more by measuring persuasion instead of just optimizing for engagement and clicks. Swayable’s data science platform delivers results in hours instead of weeks, and breaks down exactly which kinds of people respond to which content. The platform is being used to power new forms of rapid-response digital campaigning expected to play a growing role in the lead-up to the 2018 elections. An impressive list of beta customers are already using the platform including the Democratic National Committee, the Tides Foundation, and media agencies. Swayable also supported the Democratic Party in the most recent congressional special election and have been doing experiments on message testing at the national level (check out the profile in TechCrunch).

Swayable is always looking for great talent (especially data visualization, sales, software engineering / web development), as well as new partners running substantial advocacy campaigns. To learn more about Swayable or to connect with the team, reach out to

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