Ruck.Us Solves a Big Political Problem
One thing missing from local political campaigns: websites. (Shocking, isn't it?) A DC startup has pivoted and raised new cash to address the problem.
DC-based Ruck.us spent the last year reworking its business model and has $500k in new seed money from angel investors. The company is now offering state and local political candidates a free tool to build their own websites, including donation buttons and social media integration. Ruck.us co-founder Nathan Daschle, who also works as political strategy EVP at Clear Channel, says the company is partnering with state parties to get candidates using the service. The Democratic parties of Maryland, Idaho, and Michigan were the first partners announced this week.
Ruck.us was launched in 2011 by Nathan and friend Ray Glendening. (We snapped them outside their DC HQ.) Ray has moved on and Nathan recruited two partners, ActBlue executive director Jonathan Zucker and angel investor Leo Wang. The company originally tried to create social networks for people with like-minded political views. Nathan says it’s a worthwhile mission but not one for Ruck.us. The plan now is to target political organizations representing any party. The strategy is to target the five states that will hold statewide elections next year—Virginia, New Jersey, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Mississippi.
Nathan estimates there are about one million candidates at the local level, many of them without a digital presence, or an outdated one. (The last time the Census released data on the number of local candidates was 1992.) The service is free, but the company will charge for any users who want to use the donation feature on their site. A premium subscription service is also being considered.