Articles Tagged app
POPVOX releases “MarkUp” to help Congress hear from constituents, read and annotate bill text
November 17, 2011, WASHINGTON, DC — POPVOX, the fastest-growing neutral online platform for advocacy about bills in Congress, launched their first edition iPad app today. POPVOX MarkUp, a legislative dashboard and annotation tool for Congress and government affairs professionals, is now available in the Apple app store for $9.99.
“Legislators and staff must constantly balance multiple issues and packed schedules. With POPVOX MarkUp, they can hold coffee in one hand and ten thousand bills in the other,” said POPVOX CEO, Marci Harris.
“We decided to build the app soon after the House rules change in January 2011, allowing iPads on the House Floor,” explains Harris. “We were already building a site to help Congress better hear from constituents and find out what groups were saying about legislation. MarkUp delivers that information not only to the last mile, but the last inch -- right into the hands of Members of Congress, who really want to know what their constituents have to say about pending bills.”
POPVOX MarkUp provides comprehensive access to POPVOX’s bill-specific constituent sentiment statistics, bill reports and constituent comments -- sortable by Congressional district -- as well as endorsement and opposition statements from advocacy organizations. The iPad app equips users with time-saving features to search all bills in the 112th Congress, including the ability to mark up the bill with personal notes while reading, find sponsor, status, and cosponsor information, use in-bill keyword search and table of contents navigation, and share via social media. The app is designed for Congress but can be used by anyone.
To finance the app, POPVOX turned to Appbackr, a website that allows many people to finance development by purchasing wholesale units of the app and “backing” it. “People across the country agreed that it was important to make this information available to Congress, and they helped us make it happen,” says Harris. “From AppBackr to our wonderful development partners at Houston-based ChaiONE, everyone went out of their way because they felt this was an important project that will help Congress do its job better.”
POPVOX is a neutral, nonpartisan advocacy platform that meshes legislative data with individuals’ personal stories and sentiment. POPVOX delivers public input to Congress in a format tailored to actionable policy decisions and empowers users to leverage their expertise and numbers.
For more information, visit: www.popvox.com
They've Got Your Backers in Entrepreneur Magazine
In January, Congress changed its rules to allow iPads on the House Floor . We realized that POPVOX had all of the information that Congress needs to see on those iPads to stay on top of bills and know what people have to say about the issues. We wanted to get to work on the app by raising just enough money to design, develop, launch and get it it into the hands of Congress and those paying attention to Congress. Appbackr made that possible by allowing us to “crowd-fund” the app. It’s been almost a week and we are almost halfway to our goal !
The rest of the story:
One of our first moves as a startup (even before we had incorporated or decided on a name) was to enter a startup contest held by the Silicon Valley Association of Software Entrepreneurs (SVASE). First prize was a little bit of seed money and some wonderful mentoring. We entered; we were picked as finalists; until it came to the part where I was supposed to give a slide presentation and SVASE realized that we were a little more “early stage” than they had in mind. (They still provided some tremendous advice and introductions.) The winners of that competition, however, were two incredible entrepreneurs: Trevor Cornwell and co-founder Sam Zappas of Appbackr .
Trevor and Sam believed that we were in the early stages of a long-term trend focused primarily on applications rather than large software bundles or even websites. They understood that development of many of these apps is a relatively low-cost endeavor for entrepreneurs -- requiring much less than would make sense for venture capital or angel funding -- yet not something that many could go take a bank loan to make happen. Why not, they thought, allow people who think the app concepts have merit to buy units at wholesale and provide the funding needed for development? Appbackr is the marketplace that facilitates that wholesale purchase.
I was intrigued by the concept but busy with other things until two things happened:
(1) The House passed a rules package in early January allowing iPads on the House Floor (and I got very excited.) The POPVOX team quickly realized that we had the information that Congress would need to access to make use of those iPads on the House Floor, and we needed to build an app.
(2) A dear friend and mentor from my hometown sent around the nicest email ever to about 400 of his closest friends to tell them about what we were working on with POPVOX, and many wrote back saying they would love to pitch in and help us make it work. Unfortunately, as an early stage company, there was just no good way to accept those very kind offers from the wonderful people of Jackson, Tennessee. (Our thanks for the recent shout-out by the local paper!)
Then I remembered Appbackr. It seemed like the perfect way to get the app funded and under development with the help of the wonderful people who believe in what we are trying to do. That is why we have decided to crowd-fund the iPad app with Appbackr’s “Social Publishing Platform,” and we are so grateful to those who have purchased wholesale apps and helped us get to almost half of our goal in less than a week.
Trying to find the funds to launch a startup is hard! The POPVOX team has heard many times from potential funders that we don't "look like" traditional teams and we don't have a very conventional model. (It's all true.) The nontraditional Appbackr solution is providing an amazing opportunity for us to get this small but important piece of the POPVOX puzzle off the ground while continuing to pursue more conventional methods.
We are so grateful for to the friends and strangers who have pitched in to help us make this happen!!
(For media inquiries, please contact Marci Harris, POPVOX’s CEO, at email@example.com.)
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