Deals

Sean Parker's civic startup buys Sean Parker's other civic startups

sean parker

Tech entrepreneur Sean Parker wants to re-energize American democracy through increased civic engagement, so he has directed Brigade Media to buy online campaigning platform Causes and its voter network subsidiary Votizen — all startups in which he has a substantial stake.

Seems legit.

Brigade Media has acquired a controlling stake in Philotic Inc., which owns Causes, Brigade proudly announced on its blog today. Amid a flurry of executive changes, Parker will step down as Brigade’s interim CEO (though he’ll remain chairman), making room for Causes CEO Matt Mahan to step into the role.

It’s not entirely clear what Brigade is building, but the company has grand aspirations: It aims to reverse declining citizen power and initiative through technology. Earlier reports suggested Brigade would focus on all levels of government, from federal issues to state and local matters.

“Brigade will serve as a tool to empower people civically, enabling any person to engage with their representatives in a way that is easy, social, and enjoyable,” the company wrote on its blog.

“Acquiring Causes, which was focused on the non-profit space, adds the unique expertise needed to build an infrastructure powerful enough to elevate the voices of citizens and improve the relationship between elected officials and their constituents.”

Founded in 2007, Causes bills itself as the world’s largest online campaigning platform, with 186 million registered users. It was one of the original 10 Facebook apps and spent most of its life as part of that social network, relaunching outside the Facebook ecosystem in 2013.

Causes will continue to operate for now, but Brigade eventually plans to shut down the brand and technology as its own efforts get into gear.

In April, Brigade raised $9.3 million in a funding round led by Parker, with additional participation from angel investor Ron Conway and Salesforce chief Marc Benioff.