Polis, a door-to-door software and data company, announced $2.5 million in seed funding led by Haystack VC today. Additional investors include Initialized Capital, the firm co-founded by Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian and former Y Combinator partner Garry Tan; Liquid2 Ventures, the firm by former NFL hall of famer Joe Montana; Fathom Capital and Background Capital.
The new round of financing brings the company’s total funding to $4.5 million and will help Polis reach its goal of knocking every door of the United States’ 120 million households by the end of 2020. Polis has so far knocked on over 10 million doors across the United States.
Polis was founded at the end of 2015 by Kendall Tucker, a Columbia University graduate and political campaigner. Frustrated that campaign software was too antiquated for most people to use, she and her team built a platform that used the latest data techniques to bring door knocking into the 21st century. Their app guides canvassers on where to go, who to talk to and what to say.
Most groups that go door-to-door currently either don’t track their outreach or use basic CRM tools to record the interactions that have taken place. Polis starts with a data-driven approach, similar to digital advertising, where door knockers do targeted outreach such as deciding where to go and what to say based on Polis’ nationwide data file. This means that sales people using Polis close 8% of all doors that they knock (as compared to 2% with traditional tools).
In 2017, Polis expanded to support companies that similarly wanted to have door-to-door conversations for sales, instead of political campaigns. Energy, home security, telecommunications, solar and many other home services companies do about $35 billion in sales door-to-door. Talking to consumers in person has given organizations like NRG, Vivint and Comcast a way to differentiate themselves, make money and provide value to their consumers. Polis’ data and software lowers the costs of acquisition and helps them create lifelong, dedicated customers.
“We are all craving in-person interactions and relationships with our friends and neighbors. Polis serves companies and people in the future of this in-person world,” said Tucker. “Talking to customers in-person is 400% more successful at closing a sale than digital ads, but for too long it has been too expensive to knock doors and forge real relationships. Polis’ data and software works much like Google Ads tracking did at the beginning of the internet- it keeps brands accountable while making their outreach personal, scalable and effective.”
“We all know sales is important as a startup category, but Polis is very unique because it’s empowering the offline channel, a solution that is important to many companies, not just high tech companies,” said Semil Shah, General Partner, Haystack VC. “By using the principles of digital marketing to inform offline sales, they have carved out a market niche for themselves and an understanding of the American public that will change the future of all sales interactions. We’re excited to be joining the Polis team and supporting this mission.”
The seed investments will be used to continue Polis’ mission of working with the best brands to knock every door in America in ethical and effective ways. The funding will also support Polis in developing new products specifically for groups that don’t currently go door-to-door but want to try it in the future.
“Offline marketing is coming back in all sorts of interesting ways right now,” said Alda Leu Dennis, Initialized Capital General Partner. “We believe that people are craving in-person brand relationships that are more in-depth than what they are getting online right now. Companies like Polis are poised to own this entire segment as it continues to grow due to a great software product and a virtuous cycle of data.”
News item from Polis