Poll Everywhere

Slaying one-way presentations


COMPANY SIZE Between 25 and 50

# OF ENGINEERS Between 10 and 25

FUNDING $0 - $250K

TAGS Real Time, Messaging, Polling, Public Relations, YC Summer 2008


What do we do?

We created the world's first audience response tool for mobile devices. We’re changing meetings by turning mobile devices into an essential part of any presentation. Over 30 million people have texted, tweeted, or used the web to respond to live presentations in real-time. Half of all Fortune 1000 companies use Poll Everywhere in events including marketing presentations, training, sales demos, and TV shows. Hundreds of thousands of educators around the world use Poll Everywhere, too. You’ll find it everywhere from kindergarten talent shows to medical school seminars.

Technical challenges

1. Scaling a realtime system with spiky workloads - Poll Everywhere needs to gather responses from thousands of audience mobile phones and visualize them on 1 slide in under 2 seconds. All over a crappy hotel wifi internet connection. We do it by pushing out highly cacheable single page JS apps, a realtime web service called http://firehose.io/, aggressively queue everything, and deal a lot with making our JS applications work offline.

2. Designing data visualizations that people need to understand and interact with quickly - Our application is used in high-pressure situations: by a presenter in front of thousands of people. Not only do people need to understand the data that's being presented to them by Poll Everywhere, but they need to quickly understand from the same visualization how they can interact with the data.

3. Do you think http://electron.atom.io is a cool way to run web apps inside of a browser to look and feel like a native app? We have built out own highly specialized web browser that's optimized for presentations. That means if you know how to write native code for Mac or PC you'll get to work on building a browser that lets JavaScripters control presentation functionality, like advancing slides, reading the speaker notes, etc. If you're a JavaScripter or web developer, you'll get to build web apps that are capable of doing really cool things to presentations.

Both founders are technical. Watch some of Brad's RailsConf talks that covers Poll Everywhere's architecture at http://bradgessler.com/talks/

Why join us?

Poll Everywhere is a group of very real people who rise to do some pretty unreal things - whether that be changing the nature of presentations forever, building the world's largest audience response system, or plotting attacks during a week-long spy game in Sonoma.

We genuinely like what we do and we genuinely like each other. It's a pretty magical combination that drives us to be better every day, and have an awesome time doing it. Come visit us in San Francisco.

People should feel energized wherever they work, which is why we have a beautiful San Francisco office with high ceilings, lots of natural light, a cafe, showers, and our own electric bicycle and scooter. We provide all the cliché start-up perks like lunch every day, a kitchen chock-full of artisanal coffee & tea, organic fruit, chips, candy, and a dizzying array of beverages.

Our press coverage


Our Founders

Brad Gessler


Jeff Vyduna


Our tech stack

  • Ruby on Rails
  • MySQL
  • Docker
  • Rails
  • Sinatra
  • Swift
  • backbone.js
  • D3
  • CoffeeScript
  • Ruby
  • Objective C
  • Cordova

Our investors

  • We're profitable and primarily bootstrapped