It may not seem like much given that fat cat SuperPACs have already spent more than $194 million on this year’s election, but LoudSauce is proud of the $160,000 it’s helped raise from nearly 2,500 people for much smaller organizations. Perhaps more importantly, the ads it helps finance have been seen by more than 32 million people, according to the company.
Cloud services underlie crowd funding
One reason the company is able to deliver millions of eyeballs is its use of cost-efficient cloud technology including Amazon’s S3 storage, Heroku platform as a service, and WePay, said company co-founder Colin Mutchler. (LoudSauce started out using Amazon Payments but that system actually stopped working in the middle of a campaign last year — It took a while to sort things out, and Amazon apologized, but WePay is now LoudSauce’s online payment service of choice. The saga is recounted in the LoudSauce blog.)
To place ads, LoudSauce uses the GoogleTV Ads auction site as well as Tube Mogul and Google Adwords for Video. It also uses KissMetrics for web analytics, SendGrid for email, Olark for live chat, MailChimp for newsletters and Typekit for fonts all of which help it keep costs down, Mutchler said.
Catching the Occupy Wall Street wave
The San Francisco startup launched in June 2011 but took off the following fall when the Occupy Wall Street movement started using it to solicit funds, Mutchler told me in a recent interview.
Most of its clientele is left-leaning– the “Up Greek Tourism” effort organized by a group of Greek citizens — is an exception — but Mutchler hopes the platform will be used across the political spectrum. “We want to be open and non-partisan … We’re trying to proactively recruit a more diverse user base. What’s missing is more voices for issues and solutions,” he said.
LoudSauce places some ads on TV — although not necessarily on the big broadcast and cable stations where ad inventories are already very thin — but on satellite and other cable networks as well as billboards and on the web.
As the rhetoric of this election year heats up, there will be more ads. But for anyone who is not a Koch brother or a gigantic company but wants to be heard will probably need help with funding. That’s where LoudSauce fits in.