Voting with Confidence
Ari Matityahu is on a mission to bring voting into the 21st century. The CEO of VotRite calls it an untapped market dominated by paper ballots and an old school mentality. “When you think of voting as an industry, how we elect the leaders of today’s world, you don’t really think of it as a market,” Ari says.
VotRite introduced the tech-enabled voting booth in 2013. When he was looking for a business idea to build out he forced himself to think of the biggest possible opportunity. “Everyone’s got to vote. The constitution will always be there. And it’s a global business.”
One Touch Voting
VotRite is using proprietary software and touchscreen technology to reinvent the way people vote. “We do our banking on a touchscreen. Why can’t we use that to elect our officials as well?”
VotRite generates the ballot as the voter comes up to the machine, utilizing touchscreen technology on a non-networked based system. “Our voting machines are basically a giant tablet with no connectivity to internet,” says Ari. Instead of circling names on the ballot or pulling a lever to cast your vote, you press a button. “You pick a name, it highlights itself, it gives you a picture of the ballot, and you confirm it right there.”
VotRite’s applications go well beyond presidential elections. “There are millions of voting entities from private to public companies, to municipalities,” Ari says. He cites an annual board of directors vote at a public company as one example of where VotRite might be used.
Even with all of the controversy around voting security in the past couple of cycles, adoption was slow going at first. Once clients understand how it works, however, it’s a no brainer. “Once they’ve used our product once, they come back because their bylaws mandate it,” says Ari citing impressive 90 to 95 percent retention rates. “It’s really amazing to see in the early stages of the company.”
Though VotRite has the potential to revolutionize the way every American carries out an important civic duty, it’s not a consumer business. Ari’s customers are either the specific voting entity (corporations) or at the federal level, governors and other governmental leaders need to make the transition to e-voting for their state. “I don’t really care how many users I have… I care how about how many voting entities,” says Ari.
As for the company’s marketing strategy it’s a top-down approach, targeting decision-makers at the state level. “Those are the ones who are going to say, we’re going to move away from paper ballots and start using your tech,” says Ari.
Ari says he’s most excited about the global opportunity for VotRite. “While the U.S. is the largest voting entity in the world, there are other countries who are looking at touchscreen technologies for voting,” he says. “We’re excited about the global reach and expansion in continents like Africa and Europe as well as South America.”
A first time entrepreneur, Ari sometimes forgets that not everyone is as passionate about his business as he is. “One of the things that surprised me was as your pitching or selling your product or service, the other people on the side of the table might not be as excited as you are,” he says. “One thing I have really learned is that every ‘no’ creates a possible ‘yes’”.
No matter what, “You need to continue to be as passionate as you were the first day of the business.”