Sidewire: The Newest Way to Get Your Political News
The Des Moines Social Club buzzed with political energy last Thursday evening as two different events provided a new spin on the Iowa caucuses.
On the main floor, Give A Damn Des Moines was hosting the beer caucus, where locals got themselves into caucus mode by voting on the best Iowa brewery rather than the best presidential candidate. On the second floor, San Francisco-based startup Sidewire rubbed shoulders with Iowa politicians and journalists to celebrate the launch of their new app just in time for the second Republican presidential debate.
Sidewire is a news analysis platform that aims to do exactly that – provide today’s news paired with commentary from professionals to help make sense of it.
“I shared a problem with my cofounder, Tucker Bounds, that neither of us could find any place where there was meaning or analysis about what was going on around us,” said CEO Andy Bromberg. “We just wanted to build that place.”
Here’s how it works:
The app opens on to its Front Page filled with headlines from major news sources like the New York Times, CNN, Washington Post, AP, and Bloomberg (see right).
When you tap on a story, you are brought to this page (see left) where you can click on the dotted icon to get a quick blurb on the story or follow the link to the full article.
But it’s beneath the article where things get interesting. Sidewire has gathered a team of over 100 contributors to lend their insight to the news of the day – from reporters to members of Congress to campaign staff to presidential candidates themselves. It’s like reading Facebook comments except all the comments are from people who actually know what they are talking about.
Readers can anonymously “Like” comments to bump them up the page, share posts with friends using a private in-app chat feature, or temper the opinions they are reading by tapping on the commenter’s face, which takes them to an extensive author profile detailing the each individual’s position, accolades, and activity on the app.
Bromberg, a 21-year-old Stanford dropout, along with Bounds, a former Facebook exec and McCain spokesperson, already made quite an impression on the political and tech communities by last Thursday’s launch. In the year since they teamed up to build the app, the cofounders amassed a thirteen-person team and roughly $4.85 million in funding from angel investors. Within 24 hours of it’s release on the Apple App Store, Sidewire was featured as a Best New App where it still sits one week later.
“Especially for the six months leading up to the first primaries, Iowa is where everyone cares about,” said Bromberg. “We knew we could build an audience of readers in the state that newsmakers would want to appeal to so we decided to launch in Iowa. There’s huge untapped value here and we just think it’s a total oversight that other companies aren’t doing the same thing.”
Sidewire is available for download on the Apple App Store and coming soon to Android.