The power of organizing people online has had a deep personal impact in my own life. I was determined to figure out a way to bring that power to everyone, but I quickly learned that the only way to make that happen was to build a really big company. It wasn’t enough to just write the code, I had to become a leader. Oh crap. That wasn’t quite what I had in mind.
Admittedly, it is a bit strange to make a toolkit for leaders, to build an entire company with the mission of making everyone a leader, and be hesitant to take that role myself. Let me step back a minute.
I met Joe Green, founder and CEO of Causes, a couple years ago when I first started working on NationBuilder. We immediately connected due to our shared passion, and he’s been involved quietly ever since. When it came time to raise money, we talked about who I wanted to pitch, and there was just one person on the top of my list. Ben Horowitz. He’s widely considered one of the best CEOs in the world, and his firm Andreessen Horowitz, has a reputation for believing in technical founders like me and helping them become great CEOs.
In organizing, you learn that what matters most isn’t actually the tools, it’s the story. So before we went in to pitch, Joe sent my personal story to Ben, my testimony of how people came together online to save my life. The story of why NationBuilder matters.
Today we’re announcing that Andreessen Horowitz led a $6.25 million investment in NationBuilder.
They were joined by: Sean Parker, Dave Morin, Scott Marlette, Nihal Mehta, Mike Volpi, Sam Lessin, Justin Shaffer, Pejman Nozad, Kevin Colleran, Greg Waldorf, Dan Senor, and SV Angel. The amount of talent and experience represented in that list is staggering.
Not only that, but I convinced Joe Green to stop being a secret and become our full time President. He joins Jesse Haff, our designer and my long-time collaborator, as a co-founder. As president, Joe will be running the business and outreach side of the house, giving me more time to spend with the product and growing our team. He brings a unique combination of being one of the pioneering thinkers on how social media will revolutionize politics with hands on experience building a successful startup.
We are immediately expanding our world-class engineering team to continue developing the toolkit, and growing our team of organizers to help you use it. If you are interested in working with us, find out more here. Our new office opens on Monday in downtown Los Angeles and our team is expanding quickly -- Kevin, Melinda, Brett, Shannon, Gavin and Lea have all started in the last month.
And they aren’t the only ones. Both Ben Horowitz and Sean Parker are joining our Board of Directors. Ben brings a wealth of leadership experience to NationBuilder. He has already become a great mentor to me. And geeking out with Sean over the product is quite an experience. He is a legendary genius, having co-founded Napster, Facebook, Causes and Spotify.
Read Ben's blog post about NationBuilder: "How to Start a Movement"
We owe a special thanks to our amazing customers (you know who you are) who provided references during the due diligence process. Andreessen Horowitz had never heard customers tell them a company could actually charge more for their product (no, we’re not changing our prices!). And, of course, to our original seed investors, Chris Hughes, Ramin Bastani, Jason Senior, Max Tkachev, HMG Capital, Bernie Sucher, and Pat Nesbitt.
There are so many more people to thank that I can’t even keep track, but I do have to mention our core team, Adriel Hampton, Dan Walmsley, Jacob Green, and (especially) Jesse Haff. Two years ago, Jesse was the first to jump on board with the belief in one simple idea: the internet has brought democracy to one industry after another, so why can’t it bring democracy to democracy? Today, we took a big step forward in making that idea real.
Honestly, I’m a bit dumbfounded by all that’s happened. I’m a geek who’s perfectly happy sitting in a room alone coding all day. But I also really, really believe that when we unlock the potential of a connected humanity, we will transform the world. And that starts with every one of us becoming leaders...apparently, even me.