Who Is Shadow Inc., The Company Behind The Iowa Caucus Voting App?

O’Ryan Johnson

The startup behind the failed Iowa caucus app is packed with operatives from past Democratic presidential campaigns, and is tied to ACRONYM, ‘a nonprofit organization committed to building power and digital infrastructure for the progressive movement.’

Shadow's Ties To ACRONYM

Shadow Inc. was launched in January 2019 after ACRONYM, – a company that describes itself as "a nonprofit organization committed to building power and digital infrastructure for the progressive movement." – acquired CRM company Groundbase, according to a Tweet from ACRONYM founder and CEO Tara McCowan. Groundbase was led by co-founder and CEO Gerard Niemira, who is currently Shadow Inc.'s CEO.

Shadow Inc.'s unusual name derives from the result of “shining” light, according to the company's website.

“When a light is shining, Shadows are a constant companion. We see ourselves as building a long-term, side-by-side 'Shadow' of tech infrastructure to the Democratic Party and the progressive community at large,” the company wrote on its website.

A number of Shadow Inc. and ACRONYM executives have deep ties to the Democratic party.

McGowan previously served as press secretary to Senator Jack Reed, a Democrat from Rhode Island. She also served as a digital producer for President Barack Obama's reelection campaign.

ACRONYM’s chief operating officer, Kim Peyser, is a former Obama administration official. The company’s current training manager is Andrea Ramos, who is also the current digital organizing director for Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign.

In the aftermath of the Iowa reporting delays, ACRONYM seemingly is distancing itself from Shadow Inc., saying that it "invested in" rather than "founded" Shadow, according to Business Insider.

CRN has reached out to ACRONYM for comment. In a statement from a spokesman, the company denied having anything to do with the Iowa mishap.

"ACRONYM is a nonprofit organization and not a technology company. As such, we have not provided any technology to the lowa Democratic Party, Presidential Campaigns, or the Democratic National Committee.

"ACRONYM is an investor in several for-profit companies across the progressive media and technology sectors. One of those independent, for-profit companies is Shadow, Inc. which also has other private investors.

"We are reading confirmed reports of Shadows work with the Iowa Democratic Party on Twitter, and we, like everyone else, are eagerly awaiting more information from the lowa Democratic Party with respect to what happened.”

O’Ryan Johnson

O’Ryan Johnson is a veteran news reporter. He covers the data center beat for CRN and hopes to hear from channel partners about how he can improve his coverage and write the stories they want to read. He can be reached at

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