A few years ago, Grassroots Unwired’s CEO, Russ Oster, was sitting in a strategy meeting for a statewide campaign in New Jersey when the conversation turned to the field program. The campaign manager spoke up, “We’re about to spend thousands of dollars on people going door-to-door and we have no idea if they’re doing what they’re supposed to be doing and, if they are, we’ve got to enter all that data into a computer.”
He immediately set out to create a prototype that could transform old-fashioned canvassing into modernized field work. He knew that the right technology could save time for campaigns and advocacy organizations whose staff was manually entering data. It could also empower canvassers with instant, thorough, and accurate information – enhancing their face-to-face experience.
Russ and his newly minted team took the proof of concept from the New Jersey campaign, packaged it and entered it in the prestigious DreamIt Ventures startup accelerator program. DreamIt Ventures awarded Grassroots Unwired $25,000 and acceptance into its coveted program in Philadelphia. After successfully completing the incubator, Grassroots Unwired attracted the financial backing of Ben Franklin Technology Partners, two Philadelphia-based angel investment groups, and a venture capital firm based in Silicon Valley.
Grassroots Unwired quickly began attracting a large number of nonprofits who wanted to see if our technology could be further customized to meet the specific needs of their advocacy efforts. Word of mouth about the customized capabilities of our mobile platform brought in a roster of enterprise level political clients like the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), several high-profile political field consulting companies and eventually, top-level non-profit organizations like the Fund for the Public Interest, Clean Water Action, NARAL, and Friends of the Earth.