Top Deal: Politics in the Palm of Your Hand

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Politiscope has been selected as a “Top Deal” by KingsCrowd. This distinction is reserved for deals selected into the top 10% of our due diligence funnel. If you have questions regarding our deal diligence and selection methodology, please reach out to


Regardless of your political affiliation, it is hard to deny that American politics have taken on a new flavor in the last five years. The 2016 presidential election was particularly divisive, and members of both major political parties are more passionate than ever about the direction that the United States should chart. As a possible result, civic participation in this country has never been higher, particularly among young people. 


The Harvard Institute of Politics conducts a biannual “youth poll” measuring political engagement and opinions among young adults nationwide. In Harvard’s fall 2019 youth poll, 30% of 18- to 29-year-olds reported that they were politically engaged or politically active, and 47% of young people said that they follow news about national politics very or somewhat closely. While these percentages aren’t quite the majority, they represent an increase in engagement from previous surveys. In the fall 2013 poll, only 22% of respondents considered themselves politically engaged. 


However, politics are becoming more and more polarized just as more and more Americans care to follow them. Unbiased media covering governmental affairs is increasingly difficult to find. The Pew Research Center found that, “Republicans and Democrats place their trust in two nearly inverse news media environments,” and reports that not a single one of 30 news sources surveyed is trusted by more than 50% of all U.S. adults. It is difficult to locate truly unbiased, objective information on the real legislation that affects American lives. 



Politiscope is a legislative information app that invites users to track their legislators’ activity, follow bills as they move through Congress, and get a primer on hot political topics. Politiscope is designed to be an unbiased source of information that forgoes partisanship in favor of factual information on bills and policy positions. Users can log in to the Politiscope app (on iOS or Android) to read the latest political news, “follow” their legislators for live updates on voting activity, and investigate various arguments for the bills moving live through Congress.


Politiscope currently has two revenue streams, which will ultimately grow to four as the company expands. At this time, Politiscope collects revenue by taking a 5% cut from any political contributions sent through the Politiscope app (contributions have totalled $40,000 so far). Politiscope also partners with legislators, businesses, and media organizations with a vested interest in legislation and lobbying to deliver white-labeled legislation monitoring apps. In the future, Politiscope plans to expand into big data sales and mobile advertising to supplement revenue from contributions and B2B. 


Over 30,000 Americans have downloaded Politiscope, thanks in part to Politiscope’s partnership with The Young Turks Network. The Young Turks Network is a partisan online news channel broadcasted on YouTube, with an impressive reach of over 200 million views per month (viewers are predominantly young and left-leaning). Politiscope is functionally pre-revenue, though the company plans to generate approximately $3.2 million in revenue in 2020 for $2.2 million in net income.

The Team

Politiscope has an experienced team with outsized social influence. The self-proclaimed “face of Politiscope” is Walter Powell, Jr., a former NFL player who spent four seasons playing for the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills. Powell had influential mentors in AJ and Gary Vaynerchuk (the latter a well-known entrepreneur and investor), who encouraged him to move into business after his NFL career. Powell currently serves as Politiscope’s CBO. 


Politiscope’s CEO, CTO, and General Counsel is Israel Lopez, a serial entrepreneur and M&A attorney with four previous companies under his belt. Lopez has facilitated over 50 M&A deals and closed over $100 million in financing for tech startups throughout his career as an entrepreneur and attorney. In addition, Lopez has significant SaaS and mobile product development experience as well as international business experience in China, Japan, and India. Lopez appeared on the InBusiness 40 Under 40 list at age 27. 


Additional Politiscope team members include Nim Desai, COO, and Jackson White, CIO. Desai holds dual bachelor’s degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, plus a master’s from Johns Hopkins and an MBA from the University of Washington. Desai founded Ten-Divide, Inc., which was acquired by EA. Desai also participated in the 2016 Hillary for America campaign. CIO White is a national political ideology contributor who previously managed an event management business responsible for over 500 events in 50 cities across America. 


Finally, Politiscope’s leadership team has support from a seasoned team of advisors, including Gary Vaynerchuk. The Politiscope board of advisors includes prominent technologists, entrepreneurs, creative directors and product designers, and political strategists. 

The Growth Plan

Politiscope plans to grow and generate revenue by continuing to leverage the celebrity of its founder and key advisors through ambassador and influencer campaigns. As user numbers continue to grow (the company projects reaching 5 million users by the end of 2020), Politiscope will turn on advertising revenue channels to supplement contribution revenue. The company also plans to strengthen its B2B/white-labelling operation. In sum, Politiscope aims to generate $3.2 million in revenue for 2020. Financial projections and roadmaps beyond this year are not shared on the company’s fundraise page. 

Why We Like it

  • Harnessing reach and press from celebrity team members: Politiscope has already generated buzz as one of the first tech companies founded by an ex-NFL player, and advisor Gary Vaynerchuk is also a big draw for political and tech reporters and influencers. The company has already leveraged connections to share Politiscope among athlete and celebrity circles, and has significant social capital to spend on sparking user growth through influencer and ambassador campaigns.

  • Political engagement is on the rise: High voter turnout from political primaries throughout 2019 led experts to predict that the 2020 general election turnout will be “massive.” Turnout has increased steadily over the past several years, just as young people report that they are more engaged in politics than ever. With an ever-growing population of Americans concerned with government and politics and seeking media that is unbiased and trustworthy, Politiscope is well-positioned to capture millions of users.
  • Revenue streams beyond mobile ads: While many mobile applications live or die by mobile ad revenue, Politiscope has a more diversified business model that notably includes recurring revenue from B2B partnerships. While legislation tracking software to assist corporations in government relations and lobbying already exists (take Quorum, for example), if Politiscope can garner even modest B2B market share it will already have an advantage over a wholly advertising-based revenue model. 

The Rating: Top Deal

Politiscope is catering to the modern politically-engaged millennial and Gen Zer by offering unbiased information on governmental affairs in a convenient mobile app. The company has generated outsized publicity relative to its size, in large part thanks to its ex-NFL founder and celebrity advisor Gary Vaynerchuk. 


The Politiscope leadership team views their company as a political media company and proposes that exit opportunities are in line with that model. If the app is able to successfully monetize political media content, founders argue, it is a prime target for acquisition by a large media player like ABC, Fox, The New York Times, CNN, or a similar entity. While it is difficult to find examples of similar acquisitions, the political media landscape has changed dramatically in the years following the 2016 election, so concrete predictions about exit potential are difficult to make. 


Politiscope joins a chorus of new political technology companies attempting to capitalize on increased political fervor in the wake of 2016 and the road to 2020. Politiscope’s theory, though, is that voters are tired of partisanship; they should focus instead on the actual legislation moving through the halls of Congress each day and being signed into laws that can have tangible impact on American lives. Thanks to the company’s success in generating users and spreading the word (due in large part to built-in social influence) of this noble goal, in addition to its promising business model that includes B2B recurring revenue, Politiscope is a Top Deal. 

About: Katy Dolan

Katy is a marketing and research consultant to startups (including VC-backed companies, small businesses, and advocacy movements). With experience in tech, venture capital, politics, and non-profits, Katy partners with clients to strategize and execute compelling campaigns focused on user experience and empathetic narrative. Katy graduated cum laude from Harvard College with an AB in Sociology.

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