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Maggie Stohler   /  

At the end of July, Higher Ground Labs second cohort convened in San Francisco. This intensive, the cohort’s fourth and final, focused on fundraising, growth, and hiring; the week culminated with an Investor Demo Day where our companies pitched to and connected with a network of committed political-tech investors. Google generously hosted the intensive  at their new Developers Launchpad Space. Here’s a quick snapshot of the speakers, coaches, and sessions that made the week a success:

  • Gisel Kordestani, Co-founder and COO of Crowdpac, led  a discussion of fundraising and growth in the political tech space.
  • Greg Nelson, Advisor at the Parker Foundation, Fellow at the Aspen Institute, and a member of our advisory board, helped our entrepreneurs better understand the political investors’ perspective.
  • Jonathan McBride, Managing Director and Global Head of Inclusion + Diversity at Blackrock, to lead us through an eye-opening conversation on what it means to build and lead a cohesive, well-run team.
  • Alex Lofton, Co-founder of Landed, Dave O’Neill, Head of Internal Communications at Airbnb, and Ramsey Homsany, General Counsel at Dropbox shared their experiences on scaling and growth.
  • Michael Randall, former VP of Business + Marketing Partnerships at Snapchat and Marketing Solutions at Facebook, directed a conversation on user growth and growth hacking.
  • Ben Coffey Clark, Partner at Bully Pulpit Interactive, and Max Kamin-Cross, Advisor to Mobilize America, offered their experiences on selling to presidential campaigns

The week-long intensive culminated in an Investor Demo Day where each company pitched to over 125 investors. Y Combinator President Sam Altman opened Demo Day by underscoring the importance of political tech innovation and the potential of this space. The energy at demo day was palpable; as soon as the official presentations ended, investors and companies broke out into one-on-one conversations over a happy hour. The last of these conversations only ended when we turned the lights off in the space!

While the programming for the second cohort now comes to a close, our companies are working on 2018 midterm campaigns, raising money, and building out their teams and products. Continue to check in here to follow their progress!

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