Stealthy, unlaunched startup Brigade Media has raised $9.3 million from Sean Parker of Facebook fame, along with unknown sums from Ron Conway and Marc Benioff, TechCrunch has learned. Parker’s investment is personal, and not from Founders Fund, a group that he has stepped back from.
In fact, Parker will be taking over the Chairman and CEO role, at least on an interim basis. John Thrall, previously of Yahoo, is CTO for the firm. Another now-former Facebook denizen, Adam Conner, will take up the mantle of vice president of politics. Finally, on the board side, David Henke will help the firm scale its engineering team. His current LinkedIn profile title will need a short update, as it currently reads: “Retired.”
So, what the heck is a Brigade Media? Sources close to the firm were willing to elaborate on its vision, but not on the product directly. That said, broad strokes are simple enough: The company thinks that American democracy is adrift.
The main bent at play is a view that this country’s democracy is not “scaling” the way that it might — essentially that as our society has changed, our governing structures have failed to keep pace. This has led to a disconnect between average citizens and their elected leaders.
It will likely apply digital tools to the larger electoral process to shake up how we approach picking leaders, and keep the large citizenry informed. At least that’s what I can glean from the information I have in my possession. The product will be consumer-facing.
I’m interested in Brigade due to the size of its raise, its founding cadre, and what we know of its goals. That said, simply having cash and a track record only means that you have a start.
When we see the product, given its large amounts of early funding, it had better impress.