Startup Types Build Ready-Made Activism

Issue 02-13-17   |   Reviewer:   Bob Cohen, MBA


When Donald Trump was elected, Nick O’Neill suddenly got a lot more interested in civic engagement. O’Neill wanted an easy way to register dissent on a regular basis once Trump began trying to put various elements of his platform into effect. With about two months’ worth of help from his wife, Rebecca Kaufman, and several friends, O’Neill created 5 Calls, a website aimed at making complaints to members of Congress as easy as possible.

5 Calls is one of several new efforts by startup types to facilitate opposition in the age of Trump. Call to Action facilitates calls to Congress; Indivisible Guide, which offers a digital manual for political action, has helped flood congressional offices; is a searchable database of the companies that have opposed Trump’s immigration ban; and Track Trump, a collection of status updates on the things the president promised to do during his first 100 days in office, has received more than 100,000 visits since its debut on Inauguration Day.

“I think people want to figure out how to contribute the best way they can to preserving values that we hold dear,” says Track Trump creator Sam Altman, who is also the president of Y Combinator, a leading startup incubator. Altman has invited the American Civil Liberties Union to join Y Combinator’s program of funding and marketing mentorship.

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