NEWS3 June 2013

Obama’s big data team move into consulting

Data analytics Government North America

US — Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt is bankrolling an analytics firm borne out of President Obama’s re-election campaign.

According to newspaper reports, Schmidt has invested “several million” into consulting firm Civis Analytics run by Dan Wagner (pictured), whose data analytics team was credited with producing Obama’s 5-million-vote margin victory.

The Obama for America (OFA) Analytics team – known as ‘The Cave’ – constructed what has been called the “most accurate voter targeting model ever used in a national campaign” and following the election, Civis was set up keeping two dozen of OFA’s analytics team under a shared ownership scheme with sole investor Schmidt.

Based in Chicago, the consultancy is focusing primarily on companies and non-profit organisations – using the big data expertise that guided the presidential campaign – although Schmidt has gone on record expecting Civis to work for Democratic candidates next year.

Talking to Bloomberg Businessweek, Wagner said: “We came out of the campaign having helped reinvent this category of using big data to reinvent organisations. There’s a huge commercial opportunity in that.”