November 29, 2021

Esper revolutionizes policymaking through technology

The Stand Together Ventures Lab partner is modernizing public policy

Each year, government agencies attempt to create thousands of policies across federal, state, and municipal governments. Ideally, each new policy that gets enacted would then enter a cycle that analyzes data, public comments, and results. This cycle would equip policymakers to answer the questions: Did this law achieve what it was meant to achieve? 

But more often than not, this cycle never gets started. Policymakers work in silos and lack access to modern technology to support their critical work. In the process of creating legislation, they must slog through tedious formatting requirements, manage confusion over document revisions and ownership, provide endless status updates, and piece together far-flung data to make decisions. When a policy is implemented, there’s little tracking, analysis, and validation to support its creation in the first place. 

Esper aims to solve this by making policy systems smarter. The rapidly-growing startup builds infrastructure that encourages adaptive and responsive public policy. Co-founded in 2018 by Maleka Momand, Lilli Oetting, and Joe Lonsdale, Esper helps government agencies shift their policymaking into a modern environment. Particularly since the pandemic accelerated digitization, technology has the potential to shape the future of policymaking. As the first cloud-based software to manage end-to-end policymaking and improve it with data, transparency, and collaboration, Esper is at the forefront of this evolution. 

Stand Together Ventures Lab, through the STVL3, LLC, recently partnered with Esper to invest in the company’s expansion with a goal of creating a regulatory environment that’s more data-informed. Over the past year, Esper saw major growth across both state and federal agencies, and Stand Together Ventures Lab’s capital investment will help scale operations across the country. With headquarters in Austin, Texas, government agencies were among the first to use Esper’s platform — but other agencies were quick to join in. Scott Brinkman, Secretary of the Executive Cabinet for the state of Kentucky, says that the platform “brought Kentucky’s regulatory process into the 21st century.” Brinkman adds, “Because of Esper we now have the ability to collaborate in real time without wasting reams of paper for markup and review.” 

It’s this deep understanding of user needs that makes Stand Together Ventures Lab excited about Esper’s potential. The team uses a bottom-up approach for creating workflow tools to collect missing data, all in service of adaptive public policy. “They understand the inherent complex workflows and myriad data streams that must be fully integrated to make something like this work,” says Sihyun Choi, managing director of Stand Together Ventures Lab. 

Stand Together Ventures Lab’s partnership with Esper is part of the ventures lab’s ongoing work to support innovative technologies that reform regulatory processes. The end goal isn’t just to create a faster policymaking process but a smarter one. That’s why we’re proud to partner with Esper. The team is interested in policy-making that is data-informed — from initial reasoning to measuring progress to full-impact analyses. 

Among its many features, Esper’s software makes it easier to search and compare similar policies, and it automatically formats policy documents. Not only that, the platform provides a single source of truth through milestones and an activity log that keeps projects on track while cutting down on status emails. It also simplifies the policymaking process by providing a digital hub where individuals can work together. (This is important because, as co-founder Momand says, it’s not unusual to have 20 stakeholders collaborating on a single policy.) The end result? A tool for smarter regulatory systems. Esper equips policymakers to understand how policies have been implemented—and to what outcome—leading to more sensible regulations. 

“Without data, what we see in policy making is ill-informed,” explains Choi. Outdated regulations remain on the books, agencies enforce regulations incorrectly, and intended effects of regulations are never tracked to understand their true efficacy. In addition to increasing the efficiency of policy making, Esper strengthens the policymaking process with data and impact analysis. The platform enables policymakers to accomplish their best work while transforming the process into something more transparent, dynamic, and collaborative. 

If you have an idea for modernizing public policy, we want to hear about it. Get in touch with us below.