Meet the husband and wife duo taking on DC’s political tech scene
Many co-founders have remarkable stories of how they decided to start a business together, but Electro Analytics CEO Naeim Khanjani has a unique asterisk to add to his company’s story.
“Before I started, Soraya and I were married,” Khanjani said of the COO Soraya Bagheri. “So we are one.”
It’s a partnership that has paid off, with the startup making leaps and bounds in its few years of existence. Co-founders Khanjani and Bagheri are the force behind Electo Analytics, a DC-based public affairs software company (and one of Technical.ly’s RealLIST Startups 2022 winners). A 2021 Halcyon Fellow, the company has developed a collaborative workspace platform for political teams across the country, connecting them to national news from the Hill to national and local politics.
When they launched the startup in 2020, Bagheri said the idea was to create a cost-effective option for political teams of all sizes, from one-to-two-person organizations to large-scale actors. The platform makes workflow more efficient through legislative and regulatory tracking tools, stakeholder engagement, a concierge service to help teams find legislation, project management teams and to think tanks.
So far, the growing political tech scene has paid off for Electo. The 14-person company — more than 80% of whom are women, Bagheri said — raised a $1 million seed round last year. And there’s room to grow with its target market: Electo, which is primarily built using Python, is designed for lobbyists, law firms, policy professionals, and nonprofits, but it has wider applications, according to the COO.
“Anyone who has an interest and policy at the state or federal level is a potential or actual client of ours,” she said.
In an effort to create a policy software product that could be used by teams of any size, the co-founders also wanted to make something easy to use. They said no training was needed to use the product – users can just log in and see the tools easily – which was important to them in the design process.
“If it’s designed well, you shouldn’t have [to train people]; for example, I don’t need any training to work with my LinkedIn, Facebook,” Khanjani said. “But how can we bring this insight and creativity into political work? That’s what we tried to do.
Electro was a DC Start Week winner in the growth stage category, and Khanjani was named to the Forbes Next 1000 for promising entrepreneurs in 2021. Building on this 2021 success, the duo have high hopes for the new year. Bagheri said that Electro will add several new features and tools, and they are planning an increase in Serie A towards the end of the year and hope to double the size of the team.
They also plan to build and expand the company’s customer base. Already, Bagheri said, because Electo is more cost effective and designed to be used by smaller teams, the platform has been able to give voice to some historically disadvantaged communities that lacked the same resources as large organizations. And as the policy becomes more prevalent among all sorts of businesses across multiple industries, she sees many openings for Electo.
“Everyone realizes how politics affects every facet of their lives, and every business that exists is becoming more and more aware that they need representation in DC or they need a team to be able to understand the landscape,” Bagheri said. “So we think there will be significant growth.”
As the duo embark on their plans for 2022, one thing is clear: they will do it together.