CrowdHall Raises $700k To Create Drop Dead Simple Town Halls And Q&As

Posted: May 9, 2013 in Technology

Politicians are increasingly getting used to talking to
their constituents online, especially during election
season. They’re doing Reddit AMAs and virtual town
halls to answer questions and enter debates with
others. But until recently, there haven’t been many
good platforms for doing so. CrowdHall hopes to provide a platform that anyone can use for these
types of communications. CrowdHall was created as a way to enable politicians,
public figures, and organizations to hold town hall or
question and answer sessions online. Unlike other
options out there, the CrowdHall platform can be used
to curate and moderate questions as they come in,
allowing the respondent only to respond to the themes or queries that are most important to them. That helps to solve the Reddit Ask Me Anything
problem, where a large group of vocal users have
their questions bubble up to the top — but they might
not always be the most relevant to the discussion at
hand. It also has a more refined look than some of
the other discussion platforms out there. Oh, and CrowdHall also has the added bonus of letting users
respond to questions not just via text, but also with
other media, such as photos and video. While those who create discussions won’t have the
benefit of a huge engaged audience like on Reddit,
there are plenty of tools to reach the people who are
most likely to participate. CrowdFund co-founder
Jordan Menzel told me that those who set up
discussions can add them to newsletters and other communications, and also use social sharing features
to distribute out to Facebook or Twitter. CrowdHall is in beta now, but hopes to offer up a
freemium model for users who wish to take advantage
of higher-end features in the future. Right now
CrowdHall sessions happen on its own page, but the
company will enable them to customize pages with
their own branding, as well as to embed the discussions in their own websites. One other feature
that could be enabled is the ability to create private
chats, which would be perfect for internal discussions
of topics within companies. The platform has been leveraged to host town halls
and discussion forums for agencies, politicians, and
public figures such as the US Agency for International
Development (USAID), Senator Boozeman, Senator
Brown, and economist Jeffrey Sachs. It’s also been
used by organizations such as LivingSocial, People Water, SparkPeople, Teach for America, United Way,
and Columbia University. CrowdHall was founded by former Assistant to
Secretary Albright Jordan Menzel, med school
dropout Austin Hackett, and designer and developer
Nick Wientge. The startup has raised $700,000 from
investors including the Las Vegas Tech Fund, The
Brandery, Vine Street Ventures, Calvin Soh, Greg Kidd, Social Starts, John Tan, Northwestern Capital,
as well as assorted friends and family.

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