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Shaping up the people's vote

Shaping up the people's vote
August 13 2020

The New York Times has declared that the only safe election is a low-tech one. But is it? Voting uses technologies that range from hand-counted paper ballots to electronic voting machines resembling bank ATMs. Until the disputed 2000 presidential election, most voters didn't give a second thought to how they cast their ballots, but since then, voting technology has become much more important and controversial.

A major feature of the 2000 recount controversy in Florida was the performance of punch-card voting machines, which were beset with problems associated with poor ballot design and “chads” that failed to separate from the punch cards correctly. Antiquated voting technologies were rapidly replaced after 2000 with increasing use of purely electronic machines, which prompted controversies over whether they could be trusted to record votes accurately. That controversy has led to a decline in the use of purely electronic voting machines in recent years, along with agitation for more sophisticated methods to audit the performance of voting machines.

Starting in the early 2000s, voting machines were replaced in a wholesale fashion, spurred on by the availability of federal funds to buy new equipment under the passage of the Help America Vote Act. By the mid-2010s, this equipment had become obsolete, which led the Presidential Commission on Election Administration to note that there was an “impending crisis” in voting technology.

Fast forward to 2020, and the franchise of voting has been further endangered by the pandemic. Voting securely and counting promptly have been the key issues of this election. Despite flying under the radar, the voting tech industry has had a 20-year growth spurt. Championed by the MIT-CalTech research group Voting Technology Project, many new technologies and methodologies have been explored. More recently, startups using blockchain and remote voting technologies have been deployed at local elections with proven successes. Is it finally the time to push for a high-tech election season? Regardless, remember to vote this November.

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Voting Tech Startups:

Democracy Live is the largest provider of cloud and tablet-based voting technologies in the U.S. They are a multi-faceted platform that is driven to allow anyone, anywhere, to vote easily and securely.  In January 2020, they made headlines in the New York Times for being selected by King County in Seattle for a pilot mobile-only election. 

A graduate of MassChallenge’s Boston Program in 2017, Voatz is a mobile election voting platform, secured via smart biometrics, real-time ID verification, and blockchain for irrefutability. In the 2018 midterm elections, Voatz was used in 24 counties as a pilot program in West Virginia. The program was restricted to active military and overseas voters. Though this group may seem small, starting with this group constitutes a gigantic step in mobile voting becoming a reality.

Election Systems & Software (ES&S) is not your typical startup. They are actually the world’s leading provider of voting equipment and election support services.  However, their approach to innovation is what makes them unique. Based out of Omaha, Nebraska, ES&S keeps their focus always on future approaches and technology to advance voting in the US for the better.

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Since last week, PrivCo has added:
1,069 Updated Companies | 87 M&A Deals172 Funding Activities

Funding & Deal Highlights:

InnovHeart s.r.l., a developer of novel Transcatheter Mitral Valve Replacement (TMVR) systems for the treatment of mitral valve disease, announced today the closing of a €20M round of equity financing. Founded in 2015 by Giovanni Righini, a 30-year veteran of the heart valve industry, the company maintains offices outside Milan, Italy, and Boston, Massachusetts.

WorkPatterns, a San Francisco-based maker of employee management software, raises $2.8M in seed funding.

Routable, a San Francisco-based B2B payments company, raises $12M in Series A funding led by Y Combinator.

Sayge announces accelerated momentum with increased funding and growth.

FreshToHome Foods Private Limited has been granted the permission from stakeholders to offer and issue one or more tranches of 3,16,712 non-cumulative optionally convertible redeemable preference shares (OCRPS) at a face value of INR 10 each and a premium of INR 3534.48 each worth INR 122,25,79,350 ($16.2 Mn).

To accelerate growth, Oomnitza completes a Series B institutional funding round of $12.5M. Oomnitza previously raised funds back in 2015, a Series A round of $2.4M. With the new funding, the company has raised just under $15M since its inception in 2014.

LitLingo announces that it has closed a $2M seed round led by Austin-based LiveOak Venture Partners. The company plans to use the funds to further develop its software and to hire additional engineers. LitLingo has 5 employees now. The company signed a lease at Industrious, a coworking space in downtown Austin, a few weeks before the pandemic lockdown in March and its staff have been working remotely ever since.

Electronic Transaction Consultants Corporation (ETC), a leading technology solutions provider for the mobility and transportation industries, announces that it has been acquired by Align Capital Partners (ACP), a growth-oriented private equity firm focused on investing in B2B companies that are well-positioned for growth in niche markets.

HomeServe USA, a leading provider of service plans, repair, and installation services for the home, announces the acquisition of Birmingham, Alabama-based Worry Free Comfort Systems, Inc., known locally as Freedom Heating and Cooling. Freedom is HomeServe’s first HVAC acquisition in Alabama.

Hermes UK, a Leeds, England, UK-based consumer delivery company, receives an investment from Advent International.

CipherHealth, an NYC-based provider of healthcare technology solutions for patient engagement and communication, receives growth capital financing from CIBC Innovation Banking.

Intelerad Medical Systems, a leader in enterprise workflow solutions, announces the acquisition of Radius, a private cloud platform provider based in the Nashville, Tenn., metropolitan area. This acquisition is a significant milestone, advancing Intelerad’s strategy of becoming the imaging cloud platform of choice. It provides a flexible approach to managed services with the ability to offer hybrid cloud solutions to healthcare providers.

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