Napster co-creator, Facebook’s first president and Spotify investor Sean Parker is turning his investing attentions to the political sphere online. Parker has invested in Votizen, a type of social networking site for voters who keep a close eye on US politics and who want to influence their friends’ voting choices.
TechCrunch has reported that Votizen has gleaned US$750,000 from people such as Parker, actor Ashton Kutcher, Madonna’s manager Guy Oseary and even Lady Gaga’s manager Troy Carter.
Headquartered in San Francisco, Votizen already raised US$1.5m in funding in 2010, with Parker also investing at the time via Founders Fund, a San Francisco-based venture capital fund founded by Peter Thiel. Parker, who is an executive general partner at Founders Fund is also on Votizen’s board of directors.
Using social networking to influence voting patterns
So what is Votizen all about and why is it attracting such investments from both the tech community and those in the entertainment sphere?
Votizen is a web service that enables people to discover how their friends on social networks are registered to vote. Its aim is to allow people to campaign with their friends who share the same political values.
With the US presidential and general elections coming up later this year, it appears Votizen is aiming to work on the premise of friends persuading friends to help sway their political allegiances.
The site has been working over the past two years to digitise 200m US voting records. Votizen then maps those rolls to a user’s online identity via social networking sites such as a Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+.
Jason Putorti, David Binetti and Matthew Snider are Votizen’s co-founders.
Before Votizen, Binetti founded Capitolix, an ASP for political campaigns. Among his other ventures before that was USA.gov, a site he co-founded with Eric Brewer.
Putorti is known for being the lead designer at Mint.com from 2007 until its acquisition, when he became a designer-in-residence for Bessemer Venture Partners.
Snider is Votizen’s founding engineer and leads all front-end development.