Update: From NGPVAN, “NationalField will be offered a la carte, not only bundled as part of a larger package. So same number of choices, just a better product.” Good news for political data services consumers. Update II: NationalField has a video out that discusses the acquisition.
Big news on the Democratic data-driven field organizing front: NGPVAN, long a provider of political data-management/manipulation tools, has bought NationalField, which builds tools for managing field staff and volunteers. From the press release:
NGP VAN, the global leader in technology for Democratic and progressive campaigns and organizations, today announced its acquisition of NationalField, the startup launched out of the 2008 Obama campaign that provides online organizing networks and powerful data dashboards to campaigns and organizations fighting for change.
Here’s why they wanted it:
With a beautiful Facebook-like interface, NationalField allows managers to see real-time data dashboards of key metrics and progress towards goals for everyone in the organization. Organizers can quickly and easily track their own performance, share best practices with peers, and provide front-line feedback to managers up the organization’s hierarchy. Taken together, the features of NationalField amplify and optimize the efforts of organizers.
Implications? For candidates who use NGPVAN and/or NationalField, better integration of the technologies and (we can assume) even more efficiency in grassroots management and outreach — the kind of work which quite likely put Terry McAuliffe on his way to the Virginia governor’s mansion. For the political/technology industry, it means more consolidation…and possibly, some diminishing of choice in the market, particularly if the new NGPVAN decides to offer NationalField’s services only as part of a larger package. [Note: see update above.]
For NationalField’s founders, of course, it’s a payout — acquisition is the goal for most tech startups, and they’ll also now be joining NGPVAN’s payroll. Interestingly, the last time we discussed NationalField on Epolitics.com was when they were trying to branch out into corporate market a couple of years back. With this new development, they’re obviously firmly in the political space. One more note: it was a conversation with NationalField co-founder Aharron Wasserman that sparked the Epolitics.com article this past summer comparing the Democratic campaign/nonprofit ecosystem with Silicon Valley’s eternal process of “creative destruction.”