New Media Ventures creates rapid-response fund for political startups in the COVID-19 era

The decade-old New Media Ventures investment fund, which backs startup businesses and non-profits developing technologies to improve access to government, said it is raising a “Crisis Innovation Fund” aiming to provide matching grants for startups advancing democracy and centering marginalized communities.

The fund will offer grants and investments of between $25,000 and $250,000 to entrepreneurs developing businesses and tech-enabled services focused on progressive causes, the fund said.

“COVID-19 will be one of the biggest economic, political, and cultural turning points of our lifetime — but what the future holds depends entirely on our collective actions in the coming months and years,” said Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman, President, New Media Ventures, in a statement. “This is a moment of great uncertainty and fear, but also one of great altruism and entrepreneurialism. Our new Crisis Innovation Fund will resource the most promising COVID-19-relevant ideas that emerge from the 2020 Open Call.”

Focused on founders with direct experience of the problems facing people of color, LGBTQ, poor and vulnerable communities, as well as companies and organizations that are “shifting power, building movements and sparking civic engagement,” the NMV is opening up a rolling process for funding.

The annual open call to provide seed funding for organizations has previously resulted in $50 million in commitments over the organization’s ten-year history. Previous investments from the investor’s 85 strong roster of companies include nonprofit organizations and for-profit companies like: ActBlue Civics, TurboVote, Upworthy, (acquired by Blackbaud), Crowdtangle (acquired by Facebook), and SumOfUs.