Phone or email your Congressman, and tell him you oppose SOPA. Or that you support SOPA. Or that you oppose healthcare reform. Or support drilling for oil in the center of Disneyland. Or oppose the use of nickels.
No matter your pet cause, the typical means of communication with political representatives is the same. And it rarely has much impact, particularly given that few legislative offices spend the time verifying that the caller or writer is an actual constituent.
But a social startup called Votizen is trying to change that, by creating a digital platform that lets voters create individual profiles for the purpose of collective action and direct communication. It connects with your existing social services (Facebook, Twitter, Gmail) so that you can communicate your views to local representatives or interest groups with the ease of a Like or +1 click. The company’s co-founders are David Binetti, co-founder of USA.gov, and Jason Putorti, former lead designer for Mint.
Fortune has learned that the San Francisco-based company has opened a small convertible round that is oversubscribed, and is expected to soon begin raising around $15 million in a Series A round. Seed backers already include Founders Fund, SV Angel, Felicis Venturesm, 500 Startups and Founder Collective.
Putorti declined to comment on the company’s future financing plans, but did provide the following response when I wondered if Votizen’s business model – basically charge interest groups to push their message to targeted voters — could get exploited by the very type of big money politics that it’s hoping to deemphasize:
“To paraphrase our board member Sean Parker: big-money politics is vulnerable to disruption because money is just a proxy for votes, and social media can deliver relationships much more effectively that the current techniques. There is tremendous value in what we’re creating, but we’re not worried about our mission getting exploited because we’re changing the currency. Yes, it will still take money to run and win campaigns, but brute-force outspending is no longer the recipe for success. There’s a lot of examples of this, you needn’t look further than Iowa.”
Parker did not return a request for comment, although a source says that he is expected to participate in the upcoming financing. “Sean’s calculus is that he could donate millions and millions to candidates and never hear from them or invest those in Votizen and build a new platform,” the source says.