Partner story

Q&A with JoinPolitics' Caroline Weimann

Since we started building our Western Europe portfolio in 2017, Luminate has had the chance to partner with some extraordinary people and organisations in the UK, Germany, and France. We are winding down our domestic work in Europe by the end of 2023, but before we do, we want to give space to the partners we’ve worked with to share their own perspectives on their work, what they have learnt, and what’s needed in the future.

By Caroline Weimann, Founder at JoinPolitics

1. What does JoinPolitics do?

We believe that one of the greatest challenges of this decade will be to strengthen democracy and make it fit for the 21st century. The problems of our time are becoming increasingly pressing and difficult to moderate whilst confidence in our democratic institutions is declining. We believe that what we need is the greatest talent in politics: effective and thoughtful individuals and teams with the ability to take courageous decisions and shape politics even in uncertain times.

As a non-partisan start-up, JoinPolitics therefore scouts for, encourages and supports political talents who develop ideas and solutions to the great challenges of our time and implement them politically. These can be in the areas of foreign policy, climate change, future of work, education, health, migration or the modernisation of our institutions. JoinPolitics provides a safe space for the testing of ideas with seed-capital (< 50.000 Euro), network (Fellows) and know-how (training and skills sessions). 

We believe that what we need is the greatest talent in politics: effective and thoughtful individuals and teams with the ability to take courageous decisions and shape politics even in uncertain times.

2. What are the greatest lessons you've learned over the past two years?

Over the past two years, we have tested the model in Germany and proven that it can work. Firstly, there are plenty of exceptional individuals out there with great ideas for politics. Secondly, we have seen that the talents and teams supported by JoinPolitics are successful even with unconventional approaches and ways into politics. Thirdly, the established structures are open to our approach and to innovative thinking in politics.  

We are convinced that a truly non-partisan incubator for political talents and democracy innovation is needed in today’s polarized world. Non-partisanship and constant reflection are therefore ingrained in our DNA and all work of JoinPolitics. We support talents from different democratic parties just as much as talents without party affiliation. We ensure that all teams have mentors from different backgrounds. Our decision-making committees are also always set up with people of diverse backgrounds, and we ensure constant evolvement and adaptation through regular rotation. 

3. What opportunities do you see on the horizon and what are your plans for the future?

Having tested the model successfully over the past two years, we see great potential for scaling, not only within Germany but also across Europe. We have already been approached by people from different countries in Europe, but also from Latin America and Southeast Asia regarding a potential replication of the model in their countries. We would love to provide a blueprint for replication in other democratic countries. 

Within the next two years, we plan to scale within Germany and further develop and prove the model for replication. There are also important elections coming up in 2024 and 2025 in Germany: local elections, the Bundestag elections, European elections. We hope to encourage political talents at all levels to contribute to political solution finding and to dare to join politics themselves. 

4. How can funders support you right now?

We are currently looking for the right funders and partners to help us scale and reach our big mission. On the one hand, we are looking for Angel Supporters that help us grow our talent support program to support 40+ teams with seed-capital over the coming years. On the other hand, we are looking for funding partnerships with foundations to help us enlarge and open up our training and political innovation community to an even larger group of political talents.

Read more Q&As with leaders from our Western Europe portfolio.