Changing K Street with Online Legislative Data Analysis
Two enterprising, recent Harvard grads have set out to influence legislative and policy practices on Capitol Hill with a data analytics platform that compiles, distills and packages publically available information that has historically been very time consuming to track. Quorum Analytics, the startup founded by Alex Wirth and Jonathan Marks, has created a searchable database that leverages algorithms to efficiently and comprehensively follow the movements of Congress — members' voting records, relationships, bill sponsorship and effectiveness; census and industry-specific data; press releases and tweets; etc. — in a matter of seconds.
Built by Harvard and MIT students, Quorum's data analytics platform processes more than 800 million data points to bring instant transparency and analysis to policymakers' activities. The system gives users access to up-to-date statistical data to help them navigate the legislative process and inform their lobbying efforts. The new tool is already creating buzz around Washington, D.C., with companies, private citizens, lobbyists and other interest groups looking to better understand the inner-working of Congress and strategize with policymakers.
Holland & Knight’s Venture Capital and Emerging Companies and Public Policy & Regulation teams guided Quorum through the startup process, providing comprehensive legal support as the company graduated (both literally and figuratively) from a college business to a rising D.C. tech firm. Holland & Knight assisted Quorum through all of the necessary steps of corporate legal matters, including business incorporation, legal agreements and policies, brand protection, and business and funding strategies. To support Quorum's growth and empower the company, the firm offered Quorum its special fee arrangement for promising startups, which helped these innovators launch their business on a shoestring budget consisting mainly of business plan competition prize money. Before officially launching at the start of 2015, the Quorum team won impressive accolades – including the Harvard Innovation Challenge, Harvard Ventures Pitch Competition, George Washington University Pitch Competition and Harvard Hackfest.
In addition to the firm's legal support for the startup venture, Holland & Knight provided insight from the firm's Public Policy & Regulation Group. The firm's deep experience with and knowledge of public policy and policymakers has given Mr. Wirth and Mr. Marks a better understanding and foundation for optimizing the Quorum tool. Quorum's data platform became such a hit for our professionals and clients that it is now part of our policy team's tools for supplementing data and empirical evidence capabilities.
Of special note, Holland & Knight was recognized for its "innovation in decision-making" with the 2015 National Journal Membership Innovation Award for the firm's distinct process of identifying legislative champions on Capitol Hill with Quorum Analytics data to analyze voting records, co-sponsorships and statements. D.C.'s top creative individuals and organizations were celebrated in the fall of 2015 with this accolade for their work in advancing the craft of government affairs.