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BlastRoots, Inc.

BlastRoots’ automated grassroots lobbying platform makes it easy for anyone to harness the power of their community to move public policy.

  • Stage Product In Development
  • Industry Internet / Web Services
  • Location Washington, D.C., DC, USA
  • Currency USD
  • Founded March 2011
  • Employees 12
  • Website

Company Summary

BlastRoots, Inc. is building a patent-pending platform that helps anyone create a grassroots campaign to change public policy. The company aims to bridge the gap between today's historically high dissatisfaction with government and historically low sense that government can be fixed. BlastRoots' customers are those who want to change policy - first those already working to do so, but eventually all those who want to but don't know how.


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    Maureen Suda
    Media Liaison

    Prior to founding Suda Communications, Maureen led communications for Eastman Kodak's R&D organization, held public policy and corporate positions at Millennium Pharmaceuticals, and served in account management at Burson-Marsteller and Chandler Chicco. She began her career at the Federation of American Hospitals. She holds degrees from SUNY Buffalo, the Institute of Business and Government Affairs at Georgetown University, and Boston University.

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    Christopher C. Hull
    Founder & CEO

    Before founding BlastRoots, Chris served as Executive Vice President of a government relations strategy boutique, as Senior Vice President and Campaign Manager, U.S. Public Affairs, for Hill & Knowlton, and as a Partner at a successful grassroots lobbying firm. He has originated more than $10 million in public affairs business in the last decade, managing projects for clients including AT&T, General Motors, and the U.S. pharmaceutical industry.

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    John L. Merz
    Co-Founder & President

    John served as the Director of Technology for the AOL Greenhouse, the company’s in-house content incubator, which provided seed funding and technology & production assistance to over 50 startups, including The Motley Fool, iVillage (acquired by NBC Universal), The Knot (NYSE XOXO), and InterZine Productions (acquired by Times Mirror Magazines). John also assisted in acquisitions of ICQ, Winamp, and Spinner as AOL Studios' Director of Technology.

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    Howard Sckolnik

    Howard has acted as CFO for several companies, including DCI Group, a public affairs firm with annual revenues in excess of $75 million. He has raised $50 million in financing and led financial due diligence teams through successful transactions including the 5x investor return from the transformation and sale of DecisionQuest to Bowne Financial Services, and held senior roles at Pitney Bowes, Ziff-Davis Publishing, and Marvel Entertainment.

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    Rana Dershowitz
    Board Member and Investor

    Rana is General Counsel for the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC). She has served as a vice president of Legal and Business Affairs at Madison Square Garden, handling matters for the New York Knicks, New York Rangers, New York Liberty, and MSG Network. Rana began her career as an associate at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson. She is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Harvard College, and received her law degree, cum laude, from Harvard Law School.

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    Jonathan Funke
    Director of Marketing

    Most recently a Managing Director at Cushman & Wakefield, Jonathan has served as a communications advisor to former New Jersey Governor Tom Kean and a partner at CN Communications International, where he worked with such clients as Bristol-Myers Squibb, RWE/Thames Water, and the New York Stock Exchange. He graduated cum laude from Harvard with a degree in History and Literature.

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    Benjamin Fischbein
    Marketing and Product Manager

    Ben is a serial entrepreneur with a focus on Software as a Service (SAS) startups in the political, non-profit and advocacy space. Prior efforts include the launch of SparkPoint, an online community mobilization tool, and managing interactive solutions for clients in the entertainment, political and insurance industries. He attended American University, where he launched his first online company helping candidates build their social presence.

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    Robert DeVaughn
    Technical Product Manager

    Robert is dedicated to applying technology to open up closed industries. At Sonicbids, he helped launch a new way to book musical talent around the world. He is co-founder of ParkLife Productions, a production company producing websites and audiovisual content for the Web. Robert studied Computer Science at the University of Maryland and is a graduate of Berklee College of Music in Boston.

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    Brian Parks
    Lead Engineer

    Brian has more than 20 years of experience in the IT, software, and Web development arenas. He has developed applications for use in manufacturing, payroll & human resources departments, and federal agencies, and held roles in in support, development, product implementation and management. Most recently, he has built applications for the U.S. Chief Information Officer and the Department of Labor.


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    Corporate: WilmerHale (Jennifer Berrent, Peter Osborn, and Kevin Bale); IP: AXIOS Law Group (Adam Philipp, Kyle Flindt); Lobbying & Election Law: Arent Fox (Brett Kappel)
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    CPA: Andrew P. Harwood; Director of Accounting: Starlet Eiting, Star Financial Services

Previous Investors

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    Christopher C. Hull, Ph.D., Founder & CEO; Rana Dershowitz, Board Member;
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    Jennifer Fiore, Advisory Board Member; Bart Lewis, Advisory Board Member;
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    Scott Perkins, Advisory Board Member