Austin Startup Voter Trove Brings Big Data Analytics to the GOP
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including battlegrounds like Florida as well as electoral-vote-heavy Texas and California. Gargiulo, who worked in Republican state politics in Connecticut before moving to Austin in 2010, says he bootstrapped the company for $100,000 and that he is now breaking even. Gargiulo says he is considering taking on outside investors to help hire on-staff software programmers. (So far, he has used contractors to get Voter Trove up and running.)
Voter Trove’s pricing varies on the types of office—Congressional versus mayoral, say—but campaigns pay an average of $950 a month to use the company’s platform. Making calls through the site is an additional 4 cents a minute per call.
One big selling point for Eboch is Voter Trove’s simple user interface, which more resembles your favorite retailer’s website than a data-heavy and hard-to-read spreadsheet.
Gargiulo says his next aim is to be hired by a Republican presidential contender for 2016. “We’re talking to a few of them,” he says of possible candidates. “I think we’re really well positioned to get something.”
It was the fight for the White House in 2008 where Big Data, used by the Obama campaign, flexed its power in electoral politics. With modern data analytics, individual voters could be assessed on their own, instead of being evaluated as part of a statistical sampling, according to a Technology Review article that analyzed the Obama campaign’s use of Big Data.
For political strategists on both sides of the aisle, the Obama campaign set the standard for voter engagement and outreach policies. “We all feel like Barack Obama was a beatable incumbent and we lost,” he says. “Why? And how do we make sure that, beyond Obama, down to the city council level, that we have our data and technology infrastructure down?”
For Eboch, a veteran of 20 campaigns and a former campaigns manager for Freedom Works, a conservative grassroots organization in Washignton, DC, Voter Trove aims to create a level playing field for Republican candidates.