Hangar, An Investment Firm Founded by Silicon Valley and Washington Veterans, Builds Companies that Deliver Scalable Data and AI Based Solutions for Public Sector Customers
Columbia, SC Mayor Steve Benjamin, Matt LiraFormer White House Office of American Innovation Official, Tech: NYC Founder Julie Samuelsand Karen Blakestone to Join As Partners
Hangar Founders: With Tech and Crypto Markets Tight, Hangar Drives Growth by Building on Historic Federal Government Investment in Tech and Software Solutions
NEW YORK, July 28, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Hangar, a leader in building companies focused on delivering tech and data-based solutions for public sector customers and then scaling them, today announced a significant expansion with new hires coming out of tech, policy and politics to ramp up the firm’s public-sector focused investing and growth strategy. Founded in 2015 by Silicon Valley and Washington veterans Josh Mendelsohn and Mike FerenceHangar is uniquely positioned to spot opportunities where the government is committing resources to invest in tech, leverage political expertise to access them, and then create additional public sector and commercial opportunities.
The company, backed by Mike Bloomberg, Tom Secunda, Ron Conway and the Kresge Foundation, among others, is closing out a $30 million raise to take advantage of the historic ramp-up in government spending, to be followed by a larger fund expected to launch in 2023.
As part of the firm’s strategic expansion, the company is adding to its leadership team with a new slate of partners and executive leadership appointments, building on its already deep and diverse team of bi-partisan political leaders, investors and technologists focused on helping build a better world.
Mayor Steve BenjaminPartner — Mayor Benjamin was the first elected mayor of Columbia in 2010. He served as President of the US Conference of Mayors from 2018-2019 and as President of the African American Mayors Association from 2015-2016. He has also been Executive Chairman of Municipal Bonds for America, a member of the Federal Communications Commission’s Intergovernmental Advisory Committee, and a member of the Accelerator for America Advisory Council. As mayor, Benjamin has focused on economic development, job creation and maintaining a just, diverse, and trusted law enforcement department in Columbia.
Matt LiraPartner – Mathew Lira served as the Special Assistant to the President for Innovation Policy and Initiatives at the White House Office of American Innovation during the Trump Administration, where he worked to coordinate priority policy initiatives for the office. Throughout his career, Matt’s work has placed him at the cross-section of politics, government and the emerging digital economy. Prior to his time at the White House, Matt spent over a decade on Capitol Hill working on the senior congressional leadership staff, serving as a Senior Advisor to then-House Majority Leader. Kevin McCarthy and former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. During the 2014 election cycle, Matt served as the Deputy Executive Director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. In 2015, Matt served as an Institute of Politics Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School, focusing on the political and political impacts of the digital economy.
Julie SamuelsPartner — Julie Samuels is the founder and was the first executive director of Tech:NYC. Before that she was Executive Director at Engine, a nationwide nonprofit focused on technology entrepreneurship and advocacy, where she remains a member of the Board. She is a frequent commentator on technology and policy issues for national media and has filed briefs with the Supreme Court and testified before Congressional Committees. Earlier in her career, Julie worked at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), where she was a senior staff attorney and the Mark Cuban Chair to Eliminate Stupid Patents. Julie earned her JD from Vanderbilt University and her BS in journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Karen BlakestoneGeneral Counsel and Partner– Karen serves as Hangar’s General Counsel and is an investment lead on crypto-specific efforts. She brings decades of legal experiences at the intersection of technology, business, and public policy and has advised emerging technology companies in highly regulated sectors on a wide range of issues from organizational structure and operational risks to strategic planning for high-stakes engagement with policy- maker. Before joining Hangar, Karen was one of the first regulatory and compliance attorneys Washington with crypto-specific experience including representing The Blockchain Association, Filecoin Foundation, and other market-shaping crypto projects. Karen previously served as a partner at the Gober Group, where she represented some of Washington’s most influential causes and organizations. Karen is a graduate of St. Mary’s College of Maryland and the Georgetown University Law Center.
“Regardless of the current challenges and constraints on public and private markets, consumer spending, and future macroeconomic growth, the federal government’s investment in climate and tech innovation remains untouched and at an all-time high. Our strategic expansion is focused on continuing to build out the team to deliver customer-focused solutions to take advantage of the tremendous untapped opportunity to drive innovation in the public sector. Congress and the White House have rightly realized that government at the federal, state and local level is decades behind where it needs to be in terms of the technology solutions they are using to solve society’s most critical problems. We bring a public-sector-first approach to deliver solutions that meet the government’s unique policy and political needs and then scale those solutions to other localities and the private sector said Josh Mendelsohn.
In just the last two years, the US Federal Government has embarked on a program of unprecedented spending, with pandemic relief programs enacted since 2020 already exceeding the fiscal response to World War II. The United States is spending an Apollo program level of resources every few weeks.
Specifically, Federal grants to states increased 37% between FY2019 and FY2020, nearing $1 trillion, after averaging 4% increases over the preceding five fiscal years. Notably, the $350 billion Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds program requires states to only obligate funds by December 31, 2024and spend them by December 31, 2026.
Hangar’s initial portfolio companies are focused on providing services to the industries that have been the recipients of this spending — from government services and healthcare, education and climate change response.
“The current spending, much of which will only begin moving in the states as they complete their legislative sessions this summer, means that each of our portfolio companies have a once-in-a-decade or more chance to enter a funded marketplace looking for new ideas. Hangar has a significant moment to push innovative tools and services out the door at scale across governments. It’s an incredible opportunity for society at large, one that is long overdue,” said Mike Ference.
To learn more about Hangar, please visit www.hangar.is.
For investment inquiries, please contact [email protected].