Mar 16, 2021 - Economy

Exclusive: Civitech acquires data and tech from Alloy

Civitech, a public benefit corporation that builds data tools for progressive candidates and causes, has reached an agreement to acquire the data and technology from Alloy, the now-defunct progressive data startup that was backed by Silicon Valley mogul Reid Hoffman.

Why it matters: Alloy was created to help modernize the Democratic Party's data operation by taking the unprecedented step of creating its own voter file. But its efforts collided with those at the Democratic National Committee, which had been working to build its own data exchange since 2019.

Catch up quick: Civitech was co-created in 2019 by Army veteran Jeremy Smith, who now serves as CEO. The purpose of the 35-person Austin-based startup is to provide tools and technology to thousands of down-ballot progressive campaigns.

  • "The idea was to create a public benefit company that could serve smaller campaigns," said Smith. "There aren’t many technologies designed to help small county officials with periodic events. There isn't a great business model for it."

Details: The deal will give Civitech access to the data set that Alloy built, as well as the tools and technologies Alloy used to mine it.

  • Alloy’s "Verify" data tool and its voter file will be integrated into Civitech’s suite of digital campaign tools. That integration will give campaigns access to data about voting history, voter registration status, and other data.
  • Civitech currently provides data and technology to more than 150 different groups. Alloy worked with roughly 90 partners before folding last year, including Civitech.
  • Smith says the data will help democratize more campaigns down-ballot across the country. "We think this is still an election year," he told Axios. "There are over 105,000 elections on 109 unique days this year."

The big picture: Democrats have been keen to build a data exchange that rivals the GOP's The Data Trust.

  • The Data Trust has an exclusive data-sharing agreement with the RNC to provide foundational data for right-leaning campaigns and groups.
  • Democrats have struggled over the past six years to build something equivalent to it. Last cycle, some progressive groups tried to create a similar Democratic version of The Data Trust, which acts as a two-sided data broker between campaigns and causes. Alloy was one one of them.
  • In the end, the DNC's Democratic Data Exchange (DDEx for short) has won out, and has become the de-facto two-way data broker for the Democratic party.

The bottom line: "We are absolutely not competing with the DNC," says Smith. "We have an existing relationship and partnerships with them." Smith says he sees Civitech as a tool provider to the DNC, which he says now really owns the centralized hard data set that will be used by most Democratic campaigns.

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