Obama campaign veterans launch startup

A group of tech alumni from President Obama’s 2012 campaign have launched a company this week allowing retailers to easily create an app that lets customers make purchases through their mobile devices. 

The company Modest, based in Chicago, has been in development for the past two years and was created after the Obama campaign.

ADVERTISEMENT
The company is led by Harper Reed, the campaign’s former chief technology officer. Dylan Richard, the campaign’s director of engineering, is chief technology officer. Another senior engineer on the campaign, Clint Ecker, is a programmer at the new company. 

“We were trying to figure out what do we want to do ... what's next?” Reed told Crain’s Chicago Business. “We had all these great ideas. We focused on, 'What is truly broken?' It was pretty easy. Mobile usage is going up; mobile conversion is not. We looked at this thing and said, 'This is ridiculous: The iPhone is killing it. How is it this so hard today?’ ”

In a separate interview with Ars Technica, Reed said the company is meant for users who do not have the resources of the Obama campaign.  

“At Obama for America, we were a bunch of smart engineers and we had amazing marketing people and everyone was the best in the world, and we had millions of dollars to spend, but if you're a bakery down the street, you don't,” Reed said. “We're not here to build a solution that works for giant enterprise, we're here for the retailer down the street.”