Hawkfish, the data and technology company founded by Mike Bloomberg and backed with tens of millions of dollars by the billionaire, will shut down.
It is the most recent cut by the major Democratic donors after the 2020 election. Bloomberg and other wealthy mega donors had spent their fortunes in the Trump era helping the party modernize its digital contraptions and data modeling. But although long-term visions of revitalization are mentioned initially, donors are reducing some of their ambitions after Trump is out of office.
Hawkfish informed staff on Friday that the store would close in May.
“Following the election, the Hawkfish leadership team and stakeholders began exploring possible avenues for the future of the company and concluded that Hawkfish will not maintain its current constitution,” said Josh Mendelsohn, Hawkfish CEO, told employees in an email. “The decision to shut down Hawkfish’s operations was not made lightly or without considering other measures.”
Spearheaded by Silicon Valley players such as former Facebook marketing director Gary Briggs, Hawkfish was initially an important part of Bloomberg’s own presidential campaign. After the former mayor’s run burned out, the company tried to recruit other Democratic customers. Hawkfish struggled to land some marquee deals – most notably one with the Biden campaign – despite signing deals with the Democratic National Committee and American Bridge, a large super-PAC. Bloomberg invested $ 35 million in the operation, which lasted through November.
After the election, Hawkfish reached an understandable linchpin and had to determine whether it made sense to continue into the post-Trump era.
Hawkfish’s decision follows a similar move at Alloy, a Democratic data company backed by tens of millions from Silicon Valley donors like Reid Hoffman. Alloy made the decision to shut down late last year after discovering that the company, too, faced an uncertain future. This conclusion was accelerated by the turbulence among internal staff.
For some Democrats, the decisions made by billionaire-funded external groups to close the shutters speak for how the Democratic Party establishment itself has evolved. The Democratic National Committee’s data operations are much more prominent than they did in the 2016 election, when Hillary Clinton labeled the party’s intelligence “poor” – an assessment that also explained why so many large Democratic donors were solving the problem during the Trump era wanted problem in the first place. Now the Democrats are betting that the party establishment can solve it themselves.
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