Our 2015 Innovation Fund is LIVE! Spread the Word and Apply.

by: | Jun 04, 2015

NMV EntrepreneursWe are excited to announce the launch of the next round of the New Media Ventures Innovation Fund!

New Media Ventures catalyzes progressive change by funding amazing technology and media startups who are making the world a better place. Our Innovation Fund finances early-stage, for-profit and nonprofit startups with $50K + participation in NMV’s startup support program + access to NMV’s network of angel investors. Apply Now.

For this Open Call, we are seeking to make investments and grants in scalable media startups. We define media broadly, including content creation, distribution and promotion. Some of the startups we have supported in the past include Upworthy, DailyKos and Story of Stuff. Join the ranks of a growing movement of media innovators for good!

How do I apply?

Deadline for applications is Monday June 29,

Pitch Perfect: 3 Easy Steps to Improving Your Startup Pitch

by: | May 26, 2015

Very few experiences in my life have been as terrifying as the moment I put what seemed like the cumulative accomplishments of my life on the line. Everything I had worked on over the past years would be judged in five minutes by a seemingly cruel and unforgiving arbiter whose whims could seal my fate.

Was I pitching a startup?

No. I was asking a girl to see Star Wars: Episode II: Attack of the Clones.

For an entrepreneur, it can be just as scary to put years of blood, sweat and tears on the line in a five minute pitch to potential investors, as it was for me to ask a girl on a date.
I’ve worked as a public speaking coach for almost ten years, have coached national public speaking champions, and am obsessed with the social research that explains the science of public speaking.

Great Netroots Nation Tools Shootout: Apply Now!

by: | May 08, 2015

We’re excited to help bring the Great Netroots New Tools Shootout to Netroots Nation once again.

This event is a chance for innovators to (re)introduce the Netroots community to their voting, organizing, campaigning, make-the-world-a-better-place technology solution.

Got a product, app or feature you want to present? Just click here to submit your idea for entry.

The New Tools Shootout is a great way for everyone to get the inside stories on how these tools are being designed and built, the impact they’re already having on campaigns and organizations, and what they can do to help you become a more powerful and more effective activist and leader.

The event will be held Saturday, July 18, at 11:45 a.m. and will include all the great product demos, plus awards given out in four categories. The event is open to all Netroots Nation attendees. 

On Unicorns: We’re Looking For A Different Kind Of Magic

by: | Apr 27, 2015

I have a 4 year old daughter. She loves unicorns (and glitter and the color purple).  Imagine my surprise when I joined New Media Ventures and learned that venture capitalists also love unicorns.  A couple of year ago, Aileen Lee wrote a seminal article about unicorns: companies that are valued at over $1 billion, and provide amazing returns to their investors.  Like the mythical creature, these unicorns are extremely rare.  Based on her analysis, the odds of building or investing in a billion dollar company are “somewhere between catching a foul ball at an MLB game and being struck by lightning in one’s lifetime”.  That hasn’t stopped pundits from writing articles, each one brimming with more buzzwords than the next, about how to build, spot and invest in unicorns.  The venture capital business model is, after all, premised on investing in many companies, most of which will fail.  

Why I Joined NMV

by: | Apr 01, 2015

The most crushing rejection of my life was neither college, job, nor even romance related. It was, as is fitting my rather nerdy life trajectory, about public policy. After 6 months of elaborate econometric work, countless late nights staring, bleary eyed, into the dull glow of Excel, and more study of Census data than should be undertaken by any sane human being, I presented my policy recommendations to the relevant stakeholders.

It was, at first, a great day—the boss liked it, the staffers liked it, heck, even some Republicans begrudgingly admitted it might be alright! And then I made the mistake of asking a simple question.

“So, what’s next?”

My boss chuckled.

“Well…when Democrats retake the House…and the Senate…and the Presidency…” he went on, as his words faded out and my heart sank.

I learned something that day that most people in progressive politics already know: the obstacle to change is not a shortage of clever white papers written by clever wonks.

We’re funding 6 new startups!

by: | Mar 23, 2015

Today, we are announcing our investment in 6 promising startups via our Innovation Fund at ImpactAssets, bringing our portfolio of for-profits and non-profits to almost 30. Together, these entrepreneurs bring to market best-in-class tools for progressive organizations to deepen engagement with their audiences, from fundraising to driving action. We’re proud these startups will increase the impact advocacy organizations, nonprofits and progressive campaigns have on a super practical level.

On a more personal note, we’re excited that the New Media Ventures investment will represent the first external capital for most of these entrepreneurs – we’re providing truly early-stage financing. This group of founders is also among the most diverse we have funded to date!

New Media Ventures and its community can support these entrepreneurs in many ways, beyond capital. Perhaps you are a potential customer, advisor, investor or partner for one of these startups?  

Our Unofficial Guide to Fundraising

by: | Mar 12, 2015

Any day now, we’ll be announcing our first startup investments via the Innovation Fund. For some companies, the $50,000 investment is all they need at this stage but for most, this capital is the first step in a bigger fundraising round. Naturally, these entrepreneurs are turning to us for guidance on how to fundraise and who to fundraise from.

In service of the broader community of entrepreneurs, here’s a summary of the advice we usually give:

  • Be specific about you what need. I’m always surprised that many entrepreneurs do not know how much money they are raising and what for exactly. Here is one of the best fundraising guides I’ve seen from our buddies at the Unreasonable Institute. It’s a goldmine of helpful suggestions, including how to be specific. It even includes sample emails.
  • Make it easy for people to help you. 

Innovation Fund: Is Your Startup The Right Fit?

by: | Feb 26, 2015

Last week, we shared what we are learning from the Innovation Fund. This week, we summarize how we chose the startups we will be investing in. Stay tuned for the upcoming announcement!

Clearly, the first thing we look for are technology or media startups who create progressive change via scalable, revenue-generating business models. But beyond that, what kinds of startups and entrepreneurs are a good fit for our Innovation Fund? 

1. Far along enough to demonstrate proof of concept

The Innovation Fund is dedicated to investing in early-stage start-ups. Nonetheless, we look for start-ups that can prove that actual people are interested in paying real money for their product or service. A start-up that has one or two customers who are using a rough prototype of the product is much more attractive than a start-up with 1,000 potential customers who have expressed interest or a polished product with no real customers.