2020 Democratic presidential hopeful and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaks during an event to open a campaign office at Eastern Market in Detroit, Michigan, on December 21, 2019.
Jeff Kowalsky | AFP | Getty Images
Mike Bloomberg’s tech company is bolstering its ranks as it starts to assist the billionaire’s campaign for president.
Hawkfish has picked up at least 50 employees from a wide range of backgrounds. Those who have signed on to work with the digital start-up were initially discovered by CNBC after a review of the company’s new LinkedIn page, which says it has 51 to 200 employees.
The company was first described to CNBC as the “primary digital agency and technology services provider” for the billionaire’s presidential campaign.
The hirings come as the campaign moves more resources into delegate-rich battleground states. A Real Clear Politics polling average has Bloomberg in fifth place, behind former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
Those hired include Elisha Wiesel, who was the co-chief information officer at Goldman Sachs for three years before joining Hawkfish. Wiesel’s LinkedIn page labels him as a consultant, and in a post that was published last week on the site, he says he’s “volunteering” his time to “learn from them, and to contribute however I can.”
Bloomberg News recently reported that Wiesel, the son of the late Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Weisel, was joining the campaign and helping the technology efforts, but the story had no mention of Hawkfish.
Others who have joined have experience with tech giants Facebook and Google. Vinay Satish Kumar, a former engineering manager at Facebook, is now with Hawkfish. Kumar says on his page that he spent his time at Facebook building algorithms that “improved the quality of news on Facebook around the world.” A former senior producer at Google, Namik Hawkins, is now an executive producer at Hawkfish, her LinkedIn page says.
Hawkfish’s leadership ranks include longtime Facebook Chief Marketing Officer Gary Briggs and Jeff Glueck, former CEO of location-tracking firm Foursquare.
Bloomberg, who has a net worth of $56 billion, started the company last spring. His campaign has said it helped groups looking to make inroads in state races within Virginia and Kentucky. Democrats in November won control of the Virginia statehouse for the first time in over two decades, while Democrat Andy Beshear narrowly defeated GOP Gov. Matt Bevin in Kentucky. Even though the company has yet to disclose which specific organizations it assisted last year, its LinkedIn page says its clients are political action committees, NGO advocacy groups and political campaigns.
The company’s LinkedIn page also gives a glimpse into how connected the organization is to Bloomberg himself. It says it is supporting candidates in favor of many causes that Bloomberg has championed for well over a decade, including gun safety.
“Hawkfish aims to support candidates and causes who will advance progress on climate change, gun safety, women’s rights, education, access to healthcare, and more,” the page says.
A spokesperson for the Bloomberg campaign did not return a request for comment.
The hiring spree just over a month after Bloomberg entered the race comes as his campaign is pushing out its ground game with 500 organizers and field staff in 30 states. He has put many of his resources into all of the Super Tuesday states scheduled for March 3.
Bloomberg’s ability to quickly hire matches the efforts he’s making to push out his message through TV and digital ads. He has invested over $147 million in broadcast TV spots, with at least $15 million going into delegate-rich California and Texas, the nation’s top two Electoral College states.
As for digital ads, Bloomberg has invested just over $20 million in Google and Facebook ads.