BOSTON, Jan. 8, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Voatz, a mobile focused election voting and citizen engagement platform, announced today that it has raised over $2.2 million in seed round funding led by Medici Ventures with participation from the Urban Innovation Fund and Oakhouse Partners. Other notable investors in the round include Walt Winshall, Michael Dornbrook, Joe Caruso and members of the Walnut Ventures angels group. The company plans to use the capital to build out its business development team, expand its reach across the United States and accelerate the development of several exciting new product features.
Voatz enables citizens to vote in many types of elections and voting events via a secured smartphone or tablet. Past attempts at Internet based voting have failed to gain traction due to fundamental concerns around security, auditability, and voter anonymity. The Voatz platform is able to tackle all these challenges by using biometrics for security and blockchain technology to ensure tamper-proof recordkeeping, identity verification and auditing.
"Voatz is a great addition to the Medici Ventures portfolio. The Voatz team has developed a leading solution to usher in an era of greater efficiency and transparency in voting," said Medici Ventures President Jonathan Johnson. "Democracy will benefit greatly from critical improvements blockchain technology can bring to voting systems. For example, providing secure, immutable record keeping will bring greater confidence in accurate results, and ease of use will lower the barrier to entry for citizens to participate in elections. We look forward to partnering with the Voatz team to improve this critical function of society."
Several leading universities, labor unions, state political parties, church groups and non-profits have already deployed the Voatz platform successfully for their internal elections, convention voting, and other voting functions. The company is now in the process of deploying its technology for town meeting voting in Massachusetts. The platform is currently accessible by invitation only and will be accessible to a wider audience in the coming weeks.
"We're excited to support Voatz in its bold mission to dramatically increase voting access and security," said Julie Lein, Managing Partner of the Urban Innovation Fund. "Voatz tackles two of the core challenges in voting -- low participation in local elections and the need for better citizen engagement. Its mobile-first solution is poised to be a category leader, democratizing voting across government, corporate, academic, and union elections."
"We are deeply impressed with the entire Voatz team. Their innovative approach to combining biometrics and blockchain technology achieves a dramatic improvement in voting infrastructure security. The Voatz platform increases voter confidence and participation, solving two critical objectives of voting system organizers around the world," said Andrew Maguire, Investor at Oakhouse Partners.
Voatz Co-Founder & CEO Nimit Sawhney added, "We are delighted and grateful for the support we have received from our investors to help grow our team and accelerate the deployment of our cutting edge voting and citizen engagement platform."
Voatz is an award winning startup based in Boston MA. Its innovative and highly secure mobile voting platform has been used by more than 70,000 voters in various elections and voting events in multiple jurisdictions including several pilot projects involving Town Meeting Voting & Participatory Budget Voting. The Voatz platform focuses on providing cutting-edge security alongside an easy to use interface to enable voters to make their voices heard in a convenient manner. Voatz has been recognized with several recent awards some of which include the 2017 MassChallenge Gold Award, the 2017 Harvard SECON Prize, 2016 MIT Startup Spotlight Cult Favorite Prize, the 1st Prize at the SXSW Citrix Hackathon, the Mass Innovation Nights Audience Favorite Prize and recently graduated from the 2017 Techstars & MassChallenge Startup Accelerator programs in Boston.
About Medici Ventures:
Launched in 2014, Medici Ventures is a wholly owned subsidiary of Overstock.com, Inc., created to leverage blockchain technology to solve real-world problems with transparent, efficient and secure solutions. Medici Ventures has a growing portfolio of groundbreaking blockchain-focused investments, including t0.com, Peernova, Bitt, SettleMint, Factom, and IdentityMind, Spera and Symbiont. The company's majority-owned financial technology company, t0.com, executed the world's first blockchain-based stock offering in December 2016.
This press release contains certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Such forward-looking statements include all statements other than statements of historical fact. Additional information regarding factors that could materially affect results and the accuracy of the forward-looking statements contained herein may be found in the Company's Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2017, which was filed with the SEC on November 8, 2017, and any subsequent filings with the SEC.
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