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    Hinman CEOs Company FiscalNote Raises $1.2 Million from Mark Cuban, NEA, First Round Capital

    Hinman CEOs Company FiscalNote Raises $1.2 Million from Mark Cuban, NEA, First Round Capital

    Pictured: Hinman CEOs student Jonathan C. Chen, co-founder and chief technical officer of FiscalNote.
    Pictured: Hinman CEOs student Jonathan C. Chen, co-founder and chief technical officer of FiscalNote.

    FiscalNote Inc., a real-time government analysis company co-founded by current Hinman CEOs Program student Jonathan C. Chen, raised $1.2 million in seed funding from investor Mark Cuban, New Enterprise Associates, and First Round Capital's Dorm Room Fund, the company recently announced.

    FiscalNote provides a web-based software platform that aggregates and analyzes state and local government legislation in real-time and predicts government action using machine learning and natural language processing.

    "We aggregate proposed legislation on the state level, analyze the bits and pieces, and try to predict whether bills will pass into law or not," said Jonathan, who is also chief technology officer for FiscalNote.

    The idea, Jonathan explains, is to give companies and organizations the ability to track legislation and prepare for it.

    "Say a bill comes out that affects the taxes you pay for your business," said Jonathan. "If you know it is likely to pass, you can make adjustments in advance. Our software keeps you ahead of the game."

    The Hinman CEOs Program, Jonathan says, played an integral role in moving FiscalNote forward.

    "James Green has provided us with excellent advice," said Jonathan. "Mtech supported us with a $5,000 Citrin Impact Seed Fund grant during our early stages, when we needed it the most."

    Co-founded last March by Jonathan and two former classmates from Wootton High School, Tim Hwang and Gerald Yao, FiscalNote got its start in the University of Maryland Department of Computer Science's first annual FISH Bowl competition.

    After receiving positive feedback from judges, the FiscalNote team applied to accelerators for the summer. They were accepted into and entered the Plug and Play Startup Camp, a 10-week program that immerses startups and entrepreneurs into the Silicon Valley environment. 

    While there, the company pitched several potential investors, of which Mark Cuban was the first to respond.

    "His emails are very short," said Jonathan. "His first reply was 'sounds interesting.'"  Cuban invested $740,000 in the company.

    "After Mark Cuban supported us, many other venture capitalists wanted to jump in as well," Jonathan explained. "We went with New Enterprise Associates and First Round Capital.”

    FiscalNote is relocating to Bethesda in October. The company is also running a closed beta test with select customers, including Fortune 500 companies, national advocacy groups, and financial institutions.

    FiscalNote's advisory board includes Chris Lu, former White House Cabinet Secretary for Barack Obama, and Youngsuk “Y.S.” Chi, chairman of publishing company Elsevier, and LegalZoom CEO John Suh.

    FiscalNote is currently looking to hire more engineers, especially people with experience in natural language processing, machine learning and advanced algorithms and statistics. The company's website, www.fiscalnote.com, contains more details on jobs and companies who are interested in using the product can sign up.

    September 26, 2013

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