MindMixer Raises $4M For Its Community Engagement Tools

MindMixer, a startup that helps organizations like the City of San Francisco gather ideas from their communities, has raised $4 million in Series B funding.

When the company announced its $1.9 million Series A last year, CEO Nick Bowden recalled his work in urban planning, when local governments and agencies would hold public meetings that no one attended. So MindMixer created tools for soliciting ideas and feedback online.

The company says its current customers include the D.C. public school district, Ohio State University, and Coursera. For example, it powers the ImproveSF site, which hosts a number of “challenges” where San Franciscans can contribute suggestions and content around topics that are serious (like food access and the public library) and not (like holiday photos).

Bowden said this week that although he plans to keep focused on “the civic and education markets” in the short-term, MindMixer is also defining those markets broadly — it’s not just for the government. For example, he said there’s definitely an opportunity to use MindMixer in health care, and he has also seen interest that the company could address eventually from nonprofits and businesses.

MindMixer plans to reach 1,000 customers by the end of the year. As its customer base becomes more diverse, the company can do to create “a unified experience,” Bowden said, where it becomes not just a toolset, but also a destination website that people can visit to find ways to engage with a variety of issues that matter to them. In fact, he said the company will be rolling out improvements in that vein in the next couple of months.

The new funding was led by education and financial-planning company Nelnet, with participation from existing investors Dundee Venture Capital and Optimas Group. In the funding press release, Nelnet CEO Mike Dunlap said, the company is “always looking for ways to improve the way we help associates, students and schools reach their goal.”

“It’s a recognition of the fact that there’s absolutely a need for a platform for people to better connect with their constituent base,” Bowden told me.

Since MindMixer recently acquired social media analysis company VoterTide, I also asked if additional money will allow MindMixer to buy more companies. Bowden said that it’s unlikely, and that VoterTide was “a perfect fit for us.”

“I don’t think, on the acquisition front, that we’ll be active,” he said. “That’s not to say that it won’t ever happen.”