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Former NFL Player Walter Powell Wants to Make Politics Easier to Understand

Midterm elections are right around the corner and one former NFL player wants to make sure people are informed about politicians and how they vote.

Former Buffalo Bills wide receiver Walter Powell is launching PolitiScope, an app that gives users “player profiles” of Congressional members and other federal politicians. The app details politicians’ votes on legislation, upcoming bills and contact information.

In December, Powell and his co-founder Jackson White developed an idea for the app and created a prototype within three months.

PolitiScope users can also follow politicians, bills and other legislation to see how they are developing across the country. Users receive push notifications on news related to the politicians they follow and can register to vote through the app.

PolticiScope’s interface automatically pulls from government-accredited websites to keep information on the app up-to-date. From there, a team of lawyers puts the information into layman’s terms to ensure that users are able to understand laws easily.

“In this day and age, everyone is on the go,” Powell said. “For people to sit down to try to understand one bill, it could take hours.”

Powell said his transition out of the NFL into the tech industry was a complete change of pace. 

“At the end of the day, I was only going to be playing football for the next three to five years,” Powell said. “But with PolitiScope— as long as there’s a democracy, I’ll be around.”

In June, Powell received a four-game suspension from the Buffalo Bills for the use of performance-enhancing drugs. Powell responded to the suspension via Twitter, saying he “mistakenly used a product that caused a positive result during testing.

Powell turned down multiple team offers and retired to start PolitiScope and hopes the app will have a national impact. He said his suspension had no impact on his decision to start a company.

“There was no way I could run a tech company and play football. I would be stretching myself thin trying to attempt that,” Powell said. “It’s possible, but for me, I would have to be fully committed to something so that I can get the best results out of it.”

PolitiScope secured $500,000 in funding from a private investor and now has seven employees.

PolitiScope will be free and is set to launch in November.

Correction: An earlier version of this story said Walter Powell raised $500 million for Politiscope. The correct number is $500,000.

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