Derry firm behind elections software looks to global markets after new funding round

Modern Democracy founder and chief executive, Siobhan Donaghy (centre) with chairman Brian Reid and director of strategy, Ann-Marie Slavin.
Modern Democracy founder and chief executive, Siobhan Donaghy (centre) with chairman Brian Reid and director of strategy, Ann-Marie Slavin.

A DERRY-based tech firm behind software designed to streamline the election process has landed £700,000 in a new funding round as it begins to look to international markets.

Modern Democracy’s polling day management software has already been used by the Welsh Government and a number of local authorities across Britain.

It’s now seeking up to £2 million as it looks to branch out globally.

Founded by Siobhan Donaghy, the software-as-a-service (Saas) company’s platform is focused on transforming the front-end voter and polling staff experience, by digitalising the check-in process.

It has previously been backed by Crescent Capital and TechStart to the tune of £750,000.

Now a new £700,000 funding round led by local business angel investors us set to expand Modern Democracy’s UK presence and fund an exploration of international markets.

The software firm said it intends going out to the market to raise a further £1.3 million in funding for its next phase of expansion.

The latest funders include HBAN (Halo Business Angel Network) Northern Ireland, an off-shoot of the all-island organisation set up by Invest NI, Enterprise Ireland and InterTradeIreland to support Irish start-ups.

The network includes 130 registered members in the north who have invested nearly £13m across more than 80 deals to date.

The HBAN money has been matched by Co-Fund NI and backed by existing shareholder, Crescent Capital.

Both the HBAN NI network and Co Fund NI are managed by Clarendon Fund Managers.

Co-Fund NI typically provides co-investment in deals valued between £150,000 and £2m. Around a third of the support is provided by Invest NI, with private capital making up the rest.

Modern Democracy’s director of strategy, Ann-Marie Slavin, 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 from Clarendon Fund Managers said the contracts already in place mean the business is well positioned for rapid growth.

“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.”

Chairman of Modern Democracy and HBAN member, Brian Reid, added: “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.”