Hangar raises $15 million for its venture studio for government technology startups

Josh Mendelsohn, the Bloomberg digital campaign advisor and venture studio founder, thinks that cash-constrained government agencies from the local to the federal level aren’t using technology effectively enough to meet the challenges they face.

That’s why the founder of Engine and former managing director of Hattery launched Hangar with a $15 million commitment from his boss and the Kresge Foundation endowment to build companies that will help solve problems that governments haven’t tackled effectively.

“We’re at an unprecedented moment for our country, and our companies are addressing several significant challenges all at once, from combatting Covid-19, to rebuilding our economy, to reducing the cost of higher education, to addressing disparate outcomes in healthcare,” said Mendelsohn, in a statement.

The company has already hired an in-house team of technologists and business consultants to build businesses to nab some of the $2 trillion that governments across the U.S. spend every year on information technology.

In the year-and-a-half since Mendelsohn began operating the company-building studio in stealth mode, Hangar has already created four businesses, including: Camber, which provides mobility data to governments and is being used by public health researchers to monitor and manage COVID-19 outbreaks (Camber is currently the authoritative provider of mobility data insights to public health researchers, epidemiologists, and state governments tackling COVID-19); Cornea, a predictive toolkit for disaster planning and management; Outcome, a new service for student loans; and Roster, which uses technology to enhance the efforts of community health workers.

“There are so many areas–from healthcare to disaster planning–that are ripe for innovation and new technologies that help to improve the lives and well-being of people and help solve real problems,” said Brian O’Kelley, a New York-based serial entrepreneur and Hangar investor who previously founded AppNexus (and sold it to AT&T for over $1 billion). “With a veteran team that blends deep Silicon Valley and policy experience, Hangar is already making an impact and I’m proud to be supporting their next phase.”