Tech

Steve Kaaru

Voatz raises $7 million in Series A led by Overstock’s Medici Ventures

Blockchain-based mobile voting and citizen engagement startup Voatz has raised $7 million in a Series A fundraising round. The round was led by Medici Ventures, the venture arm of e-commerce platform Overstock and Colorado-based seed accelerator Techstars. Oakhouse Partners and Urban Innovation Fund also participated.

In a press release, the company stated that it would use the funds to enhance the accessibility and usability of its platform and to develop its security in the wake of new pilot projects.

Voatz has been a pioneer in a field that has garnered a lot of interest in recent times. While many appreciate the convenience that mobile voting offers, there have been fears that it could be easily manipulated or infiltrated.

Still, Voatz has continued to attract several jurisdictions onto its platform, the latest of which was the city of Denver in Colorado. The election concluded earlier this week, and the startup says it was a big success although it’s yet to share the number of people who used its platform. In Denver, Voatz’ mobile voting platform was only availed to active-duty military personnel and their eligible dependents as well as overseas U.S. citizens.

This was the second funding round that Medici Ventures had led in Voatz. The startup had previously raised $2.2 million. Medici Ventures’ president Jonathan Johnson expressed his company’s belief that mobile voting would become a mainstay, which was why his company was backing Voatz.

He stated: “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. That’s one reason we’ve increased our investment in the company by leading this Series A round.”

Voatz has now administered 39 elections for towns, cities, states, political parties, unions and more. In 2018, the startup conducted the first mobile blockchain vote in the U.S. when it partnered with West Virginia in the 2018 primary elections.

However, not everyone agrees with the use of mobile voting platforms. Some security experts have deemed Voatz a disaster waiting to happen, criticizing its encryption and authentication services. Others have criticized the fact that the information stored on the blockchain could become de-anonymized in the future, revealing the voting details of users who voted via the app which would go against the ethos of the secret ballot.

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