The Civis History

A platform for hope and change

In a mission for President Obama’s re-election campaign, our founder Dan Wagner built a platform that put the answers in the hands of the people closest to the voters and the issues. We developed a scientific understanding of each voter using the information they gave us every day, letting us speak to them in ways that truly resonated. Our data science influenced every strategy, and every tactic—voter outreach, messaging, media buys, fundraising, volunteer and donor engagement, and staff management.

This methodology led to greater efficiencies in all areas of the Obama for America campaign, including the development of a 120K-person volunteer corps and $1 billion in fundraising through online, mail, and targeted one-on-one research–and President Obama’s re-election.

From a mattress to a standing desk

Civis History

The day after the election, Dan Wagner met with Eric Schmidt, who’d advised the campaign on technology. Starting in Dan’s illustrious 400-square-foot quarters in Chicago furnished with little more than a Serta, Civis Analytics was born. He took the lessons gleaned from a national presidential campaign and made them more broadly relevant, building a team that took the knowledge of 100 data scientists into a single software-as-a-service application that would empower clients with groundbreaking, more data-driven tools.

Four years later, we have more employees, a second office in DC, and of course, standing desks for all. Our DC and Chicago data science teams now apply the methodology we developed in President Obama’s campaign to organizations across industries that focus on engagement, customer loyalty, and acquisition. And we’re still driven by the same fundamental questions: how can we turn data into action? How can we put it to work to drive the most important causes in the world forward?

Our data science blog