Votus is a communication platform that helps organizations identify and engage their supporters through 1:1 conversations across different social networks at scale.
Recently, we asked founders Philip Armstrong and Brandon Harris to share a bit about the company and their goals for the accelerator program.
Tell us more about why you started your company and its mission.
Philip: As the 2014 election cycle was approaching, I was having a conversation with Brandon about politicians’s inability to effectively communicate with the people represented. If you watched the news, it felt like an endless loop of a dark-money PAC attacking an opposing politician, and the politician responding in kind. It was two entities speaking back to each other without the people’s voices or opinions ever being interjected. We decided we wanted to start a company that could build a community for organizations and campaigns to be able to listen and speak to the people they hope to represent. Votus was founded with the mission to open political dialogue and engagement.
Where are your founders from? Where is the company based now?
Philip: I’m from Houston, TX.
Brandon: I’m from Memphis Tennessee and currently live in DC where Votus is based.
What are the features you’re most excited about at the moment?
We’re most excited about the integration of our social listening capabilities and our Votusfile through an automated feature we are calling “The Newsfeed” — one feed where our client can access all the relevant content and people in their community. “The Newsfeed” will incorporate offline and online data sources with the ability to message individuals across channels. In the past we’ve provided white-glove social listening services, and this feature is our first attempt to integrate those services with our SaaS software.
What has been the most challenging part of being a founder?
Philip: The challenging part of being a founder is knowing when and where to take a risk. Every dollar you raise from an investor or through revenue has to be used with the purpose of growing the company. When you make the right decision and the reinvestment pays off, you’re living on cloud 9. However, when the reinvestment doesn’t pay off, you feel like you’re constantly playing catch up to make up for a poor decision.
Brandon: Building an organization under extreme conditions of uncertainty. In the early stages you have to remain agile while also trying to establish product market fit. Moreover, the size and cyclical nature of the political tech space only adds to the level of uncertainty we face. I find myself constantly searching for leads not just to generate sales, but to learn as much about the market as fast as we can.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
Brandon: South Africa
What is your favorite hobby that you’ve started in the last year?
Philip: What’s a hobby? … Just kidding, I started learning to code and will be learning graphic design.
Brandon: Votus, lol jk.