Manaswi Mancha, 17, of Elmhurst, NY, is one of this year's competitors in the i.Invest National Youth Business Competition. Manaswi is the founder of Politalk, a bipartisan national political opinion and discussion platform where young adults can make commentary on current events and public policy in their country.
We spoke with Manaswi to learn more about the startup:
Tell us about your startup:
Politalk is a bipartisan national political opinion and discussion platform. People interested in current events and politics can go on our website to publish their opinions while having political discourse with other users. Our main competitive advantage is the platform's simplicity and ease of use. Politalk will provide a dedicated platform for customers to express and share their political opinions and learn about other political perspectives. The bipartisan nature of the platform will allow people from all sides of the political spectrum to discuss the nuances of American politics.
Who or what inspired you to start Politalk?
I was inspired to start Politalk because I saw how passionate people are regarding politics, especially following the 2016 elections. I saw an increasing number of my high school friends taking part in political rallies, such as the climate change strike and the gun violence school walkout, while also discussing politics in class. I saw how frustrated my friends were because they felt as though their voices were not being heard. To them, it seemed like many people were ignoring what the younger generations had to say about politics. Not only that, but I saw a large disconnect between political pundits on television and the general public. Therefore, I was inspired to create a platform to give Americans from all walks of life a dedicated space to have political discourse and share their opinions on almost any current event or policy issue.
How will Politalk impact the world?
Politalk is centered around expressing the opinion of the "average Joe" rather than political experts. Politalk will empower young people and give them a voice in politics. We want to give representation to the full spectrum of political perspectives and want to give users from all walks of life a chance to have their voices heard. Politalk will provide a constructive platform to bring Americans of different political beliefs together to discuss politics safely and civilly, with a design that facilitates a mutual understanding and respect for each other's views.
What are the next steps?
We are seeking funding for the development of our app with all the sophisticated features we have planned, hosting on third-party servers, along with maintenance (fixing bugs, scaling the application, and creating data security patches). We'll also invest in the marketing and customer acquisition process, which will require efforts in digital marketing (through Facebook, Reddit, and Youtube ads) and live promotional events.