A wave of populism has led many governments around the world to rule more and more erratically. This phenomenon has been a challenge for citizens and businesses, but has proven to be a boon for a company called FiscalNote which makes software that follows laws, regulations and other government decrees.
Tax Note grew up quickly. On Friday, the Washington, DC-based company announced a $ 160 million funding round led by Arrowroot Capital and Runway Growth Capital that will help fuel acquisitions and international expansion.
“Looking back over the past 4 years, the Trump administration has been good for business,” said Tim Hwang, CEO of FiscalNote. Fortune. “When there is political uncertainty and when organizations don’t know what’s going to happen, they flock to sources of information more than ever.”
Hwang started FiscalNote as a 21-year-old genius in 2013 with the backing of prominent entrepreneurs like Mark Cuban and Yahoo founder Jerry Yang. As a teenager, Hwang had used his technological talents to help President Obama win the Iowa caucuses and be elected to a county government post in Maryland.
While FiscalNote started out as a niche product for businesses to follow the law, it has grown into a mainstay of government and business. Today, its more than 4,000 customers include 3M, Astra Zeneca, the CDC, and the US House and Senate. During the pandemic, Hwang says, the company’s software has become particularly popular with companies looking to pursue various stimulus measures.
Another source of growth for FiscalNote has been the European Union, where Brussels bureaucrats have sought to make the EU a global regulatory link with an ever-growing list of rules and guidelines. Businesses looking to navigate this legal maze rely on FiscalNote to send them updates.
At the same time, as a growing number of local governments improve their digital capacity, FiscalNote – which relies on software and AI to track and analyze changes in laws – has been able to expand its offerings in the United States.
Trying to expand its product offering, FiscalNote announced a plan in 2016 to provide a service that could predict the likely success or failure of given legislative proposals. It didn’t work, but the company was instead successful in selling advocacy software packages – allowing organizations to contact activists in order to get them to write or phone their local lawmakers. Hwang says that FiscalNote played a role in many emails and text messages Americans received during the recent election season.
Hwang declined to provide details of FiscalNote’s annual revenue except to confirm that the figure is between $ 10 million and $ 100 million. Likewise, he declined to say whether the business is profitable, saying only that it doesn’t burn a lot of money.
FiscalNote’s growth has been impressive not only because of the age of its founder – Hwang is just 28 – but because it has been able to carve a niche in a data and intelligence company dominated by Bloomberg. and Thomson Reuters. This status could make FiscalNote an attractive acquisition target, but Hwang says he is currently focusing on growing the company’s global operations. The company is expanding rapidly in Asia and has opened offices in India and South Korea.
“Closures, stimulus, lockdowns – you’ve never had a time when people are so glued to their screens trying to figure out what governments are doing,” he says.
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