£700,000 funding secured for Derry software company

Local software company, Modern Democracy has secured a £700,000 investment round to facilitate further growth in the UK and international markets.

Based in Derry, Modern Democracy is a Software-as-a-Service (Saas) company specialising in election software designed to streamline the polling process. The team developed the Modern Polling SaaS platform, which was initially focused on transforming the front-end voter and polling staff experience, by digitalising the check-in process. The platform has since evolved to expand its capabilities, with a range of features that enable real-time reporting and analytics on election day performance across polling stations for election managers and returning officers.

With relationships already established in the UK, the company successfully delivered poll station innovation for the UK Cabinet Office Voter ID Pilots in 2018 and 2019 leading to the solution being deployed by many Local Authorities throughout the UK in the May 2021 and 2022 elections, including Harrow Council, Watford Borough Council and Swansea City Council.

In May 2022, the Welsh Government selected Modern Democracy to deliver their flexible voting pilots, confirming the company’s market leading position. The purpose of the pilots was to make it easier for people to vote by offering flexibility on when and where they could vote.

Brian Reid, Chairman of Modern Democracy and HBAN Member; Siobhan Donaghy, Chief Executive at Modern Democracy; and Ann-Marie Slavin, Director of Strategy at Modern Democracy.

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Ann-Marie Slavin, Director of Strategy at Modern Democracy, said: “Backed by a Government-led programme of change and accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic, the demand for digital transformation at polling stations is increasing. Modern Democracy has already introduced modern polling software throughout the UK in Local Authorities and as the Government aims to streamline the voting process, there is high potential for growth in the sector. We aim to use this investment to strengthen our market share in the UK, expand our team and move into new global markets.”

Jim Curran, Investment Director at Clarendon Fund Managers, said: “As an established local software business, we’re delighted to support Modern Democracy on their growth journey. With exciting contracts already in place, the business is perfectly positioned with a scalable business model and huge potential for rapid growth in the UK and beyond. The experienced team are primed to transform the polling station market, helping councils to revolutionise the polling station experience while lifting the administrative burden of election day reporting.”

Brian Reid, Chairman of Modern Democracy and HBAN member said: “Modern Democracy has been backed over successive funding rounds by local business angels who spotted the potential in the dynamic and experienced founding team. A few of these angels have since joined the Board of the company to lend their expertise in sales and scaling to lead the business to global success.”

This funding round was led by local business angel investors, including members of the Halo Business Angel Network (HBAN), whose investment was matched by Co-Fund NI and backed by existing shareholder, Capital Crescent. As the market leader in the field, Modern Democracy is primed for growth and aims to use the £700,000 investment to expand its market share in the UK and explore international markets.

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The company also said it intends to go out to the market to raise a further £1.3m in funding for its next phase of expansion.

HBAN is a joint initiative of Invest Northern Ireland, InterTradeIreland and Enterprise Ireland, dedicated to the all-island promotion of business angel investment. HBAN allows companies to pitch to angel investors for funding. Currently, there are over 130 registered members in Northern Ireland who have invested nearly £13m across more than 80 deals.

Co-Fund NI is part of Invest NI’s Access to Finance suite of funds and a partner of the Regional Angel Programme, delivered by British Business Investments. The fund provides co-investment in deals typically valued between £150,000 and £2million. The fund is managed by Clarendon Fund Managers.

Clarendon Fund Managers manages both the HBAN network in Northern Ireland and Co-Fund NI.

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Invest NI’s support for Co-Fund NI is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund under the Investment for Growth & Jobs Northern Ireland (2014-2021) Programme.