Voatz, a mobile elections
platform powered by blockchain technology, has raised US$7 million in a Series
A funding round led by Medici Ventures and Techstars with participation from
Urban Innovation Fund and Oakhouse Partners, the company said on Thursday. Voatz
will use the new capital to enhance the accessibility and usability of its
technology, and grow its security footprint as it prepares to launch new pilot
programs across the US.
Founded in 2014 and part
of the Ynext Incubator class of 2015, Voatz provides a platform that leverages
military-grade security, biometrics, and the immutability of blockchain
technology, to increase convenience, security and auditability to election systems.
Nimit Sawhney, co-founder and CEO of Voatz, said the funding
will help the company accelerate the development and deployment of its
technology, adding that mobile voting backed by blockchain allows for an
improved election process, while making remote voting more accessible and safer.
Voting through Voatz is done via a mobile app. The app only
operates with recently-manufactured smartphone models from Apple, Samsung and
Google, which are built with the latest security features, including fingerprint
and facial recognition.
Voatz uses multiple approaches for malware detection and if
an operating system has been tampered with, the app does not permit a voter to
The platform employs blockchain technology to ensure that,
once submitted, votes are verified and immutably stored on multiple, geographically
diverse verifying servers.
Upon casting a vote, voters receive an automatic,
digitally-signed receipt with their selections in order to review that their
vote was recorded properly. The election organizer also receives an anonymized
copy of the digital receipt, ensuring that a post-election audit may be
conducted between the paper trail, the anonymized receipt, and the blockchain.
“Voting is a great application of blockchain technology. What
Voatz is doing to allow more registered voters to participate remotely in
elections in a safe and secure way is important. It bodes well for more
widespread adoption of the Voatz application,” said Jonathan Johnson, president
of Medici Ventures. “That’s one reason we’ve increased our investment in the company
by leading this Series A round.”
Medici Ventures led Voatz’s previous US$2.2 million seed
funding round announced
in January 2018.
Since June 2016, more than 80,000 votes have been cast on
the Voatz platform across more than 30 elections, the company claims.
In 2018, it conducted a successful pilot with 24 counties in
West Virginia during the 2018 midterm elections where deployed military
personnel and overseas US citizens leveraged the platform to cast their
ballots. The pilot represented the first time that mobile voting secured by a
blockchain-based infrastructure had ever been used in a US federal election.
Earlier this year, it ran a pilot program with the city and
county of Denver to expand absentee voting for deployed military personnel and
overseas US citizens during the city’s 2019 municipal elections.
“Programs with states like West Virginia and cities like
Denver make it clear that Voatz is on the right track for delivering large
scale impact and we are incredibly excited to continue supporting their
growth,” said Andrew Maguire, Investing Partner at Oakhouse Partners.
In addition to the pilot programs with Denver and West
Virginia, Voatz said it has partnered with state political parties,
universities, labor unions, church groups and nonprofits to administer
elections using its platform.