Learn about our governance, who’s behind us and how the business model works. 

Our story

Apolitical was founded by two mission-driven entrepreneurs, Robyn Scott and Lisa Witter. The founders were frustrated that technology had made it possible find out about problems in a hotel room on the other side of the world, but public servants working on critical challenges still couldn’t easily find out about problems with a policy on the other side of the world. The founders had both worked on global challenges such as job creation, prison reform and gender equality and seen firsthand how the best solutions are scattered around the world. So they created Apolitical, using the best of technology to accelerate sharing, to help governments be more effective today and prepared for the future.

Why we’re a business 

Apolitical is a for-profit company. We decided to create a business, instead of a non-profit, having listened to hundreds of public servants in more than 30 countries tell us about the problems they faced. It was clear that to solve these problems at a meaningful scale, we needed to provide a world class technology product capable of serving tens of millions of people in multiple languages. And to do this, we needed to raise significant capital to hire world class technologists. We also needed to become sustainable, so we did not rely on fluctuating donor funds. We believe that businesses, with the right governance, values and backers, can be one of the most powerful forces for good. This is one of the reasons we chose to become a Certified B Corporation, an internationally recognised standard of accountability and transparency.

Our funders and investors 

Apolitical has been supported by a European Union Horizon 2020 grant. We are backed by mission-driven investors in Europe, North America, Asia, Africa and Australasia. Our investors include several distinguished former public servants, academics and philanthropists. They have been selected for their commitment to our mission to make government work better for citizens everywhere and for their geographic, political and gender diversity. We want our investors, as much as possible, to represent the citizens governments serve.

Guiding principles and decision-making

Our primary value is “public service first”. In other words, everything we do must ultimately benefit the public service. We make all decisions through the lens of this value, aiming to build a platform that is “by government, for government”. Our company board and management team draws on the advice of our advisory board, which includes distinguished former public servants from around the world. This formal advisor board, in turn, is supported by a wider group of more than 50 informal advisors, selected from our most passionate and skilled users. These individuals give us regular feedback on our product as well as on strategic questions such as ensuring our neutrality and on our business model. Our content editorial is overseen by topic specific independent editorial boards of experts from all over the world across the public service, academia, and practitioners. We have also designed our platform to make it easy for any user to send us feedback and we welcome this.

Our business model 

Membership to Apolitical is free for public servants, non-profits and academia. In future we will introduce additional paid subscription services for governments and organisations that work with governments. Currently, most of our revenue comes from forward-thinking government departments and philanthropic foundations who support us to bring together resources and policy communities on the platform around the most urgent issues facing governments. We also convene events, bringing together government and other sectors around solutions to these problems. We co-design all revenue products with our public service advisors to ensure our business model always first serves our mission.

Data, privacy and GDPR compliance 

We want to make our platform – not our users – the product. We will never sell personal data about our users: we gather and use it to deliver an improved experience and greater value. We are committed to embedding the principles of consent, transparency and accountability exemplified in GDPR into everything we do. Our success depends on being a trusted space where public servants learn and share and we will not do anything that undermines this. We think GDPR is a positive development for citizen data protection and apply its principles across all of our activity, for all of our users. For more information, please read our Privacy Policy. Or if you have specific questions, please email our Data Protection Officer on dpo@apolitical.co.