Andrew McLaughlin is a longtime nerd. Into: the Internet, tech, artificial intelligence and machine learning, startups, consumer and SaaS product design, the media industry, and business strategy; cities, urbanism, transit, civic tech, economic opportunity, and sustainability; and US and global public policy, free speech, privacy, rule of law, and democratic vitality.
Andrew is a co-founder and partner at Higher Ground Labs, a startup studio and accelerator that invests in and builds companies that can help progressives win election campaigns and policy debates.
Andrew is a venture partner at betaworks, a technology and media startup studio and seed investor based in NYC. As a partner at betaworks from 2012-2016, Andrew was an operator, a company and product builder, a business strategist, and an early-stage tech investor. He served as CEO of two betaworks companies, Digg and Instapaper, and in 2016 worked at Medium, leading a set of teams including corporate development, new business initiatives, editorial, outreach, international, and enterprise services.
Since 2012, Andrew has served on the board of Chartbeat, a real-time data analytics service. In 2018, Andrew joined the board of Zcash, a decentralized, privacy-protective digital currency built on remarkably strong cryptographic science. Zcash is the first widespread implementation of zk-SNARKs, a novel form of zero-knowledge cryptography.
Andrew was the founding executive director of the Tsai Center for Innovative Thinking at Yale, a new, university-wide initiative to support students across disciplines to tackle real-world problems in innovative ways. Tsai CITY is a transformative addition to the Yale campus, dedicated to advancing the university's goal of creating an interdisciplinary learning environment that cultivates innovators, leaders, pioneers, creators, and entrepreneurs in all fields and for all sectors of society. Through a wide range of programs, intensives, and initiatives, Tsai CITY coaches and supports students as they conceive, research, develop, prototype, test, build, iterate, and launch their visions -- whether a for-profit startup, a mission-driven nonprofit, a social justice movement, or an experimental theater company.
From 2009-2011, Andrew was a member of President Obama's senior White House staff, serving as Deputy Chief Technology Officer of the United States. In that role, Andrew was responsible for advising the President on Internet, technology, and innovation policy, including open government, cybersecurity, online privacy and free speech, spectrum policy, federal R&D priorities, entrepreneurship, and the creation of open technology standards and platforms for health care, energy efficiency, and education. In 2008-2009, he served on the Obama/Biden presidential transition team, as a member of the Technology, Innovation and Government Reform cluster.
From 2011-2012, Andrew was EVP of Tumblr, responsible for the international, community, outreach, editorial, marketing, and support teams.
From 2004-2009, Andrew was Director of Global Public Policy at Google, leading the company's work on issues like freedom of expression and censorship, surveillance and law enforcement, privacy, copyrights and trademarks, regulation of Internet and telecommunications networks, wireless radio spectrum, national security, trade policy, patent reform, and online child protection. Andrew built and managed a 50-person worldwide team based in Brussels, London, Paris, Madrid, Milan, Berlin, Amsterdam, Stockholm, Dublin, Brasilia, Buenos Aires, Tokyo, Seoul, Beijing, Sydney, Ottawa, Washington, and San Francisco. Andrew was a co-lead on Google's Africa strategy and operations.
From 1999-2003, Andrew helped launch, establish, and manage ICANN, the Internet's technical coordinating organization, serving as Vice President, Chief Policy Officer, and Chief Financial Officer. From 1998-2005, Andrew was a Senior Fellow at Harvard Law School's Berkman Center for Internet and Society. In 2002-2003, Andrew taught a course on digital democracy at Harvard Law School while working on Internet and telecom law reform projects in a number of developing countries, including Ghana, Mongolia, Kenya, Afghanistan, and South Africa. He was a co-founder of CIPESA, a technology policy think-tank and advocacy center based at Makerere University in Uganda. Andrew served as a member of the Board of Directors of Bridges.org, an international technology policy not-for-profit based in Cape Town.
Andrew chairs the board of Access Now, a not-for-profit devoted to defending and extending the digital rights of activists, journalists, and citizens at risk around the world. He is a director of Public Knowledge, which promotes freedom of expression, an open Internet, and a vibrant public domain.
Andrew is a member of the advisory board of Swing Left, which helps Americans everywhere work effectively to flip the U.S. House to a Democratic majority in 2018. In 2015-16, he was a member of the human rights and tech & innovation advisory committees of Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.
Andrew is a Future Tense Fellow at the New America Foundation; an advisor to Data & Society, a research institute focused on social, cultural, and ethical issues arising from data-centric technological development; a member of the Advisory Council of the Open Technology Fund; a co-chair of the digital strategy committee of the Brooklyn Public Library; and a member of New York Public Radio’s Digital Task Force. He has served as a member of the Partnership for New York City’s Innovation Council.
Andrew served on the boards of Code for America (2011-13) and the Sunlight Foundation, (2011-2016). In 2014-15, he was a senior fellow in cybersecurity and Internet governance at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs; in 2011-12, he was a non-resident fellow at Stanford Law's Center for Internet & Society and at Princeton's Center for Information Technology Policy. In 2011-12, Andrew was a Lecturer in Law at Stanford Law School, teaching a course on "Freedom of Speech in a Digitally Interconnected World". In 2011-13, Andrew was a member of the Commission on Innovation of the U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors.
After clerking on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, Andrew started his career as a lawyer at Jenner & Block in Washington, D.C., where he focused on appellate and constitutional litigation. He was a member of the legal team that challenged the U.S. government's first Internet censorship law, resulting in the Supreme Court's landmark 1997 Internet free speech ruling in Reno vs. ACLU. From 1997-98, Andrew served as legal counsel in the U.S. House of Representatives.
In 2000, Time Magazine named Andrew one of its Digital Dozen for the new century. In 2001, he was named a Global Leader for Tomorrow by the World Economic Forum. He is a fellow of the Young Leaders Forum of the National Committee on US-China Relations.
Growing up, Andrew attended Highland Elementary School in Sylvania, Ohio; Widsten Elementary School in Wayzata, Minnesota; Longfellow Elementary School and Ben Franklin Junior High School in Fargo, North Dakota; the American Community School in Cobham, Surrey, UK; and Neil A. Armstrong Senior High School in Plymouth, Minnesota, from which he graduated in 1987. Over summers, he attended the Trollwood Performing Arts School in Fargo, the International Music Camp in Dunseith, North Dakota, and the Minnesota Institute for Talented Youth in St. Paul, at which point he had to start working summer jobs at places like the Sheraton Park Place Hotel, Dayton's Department Store, and the kitchen of the celebrated Red Lobster of Golden Valley.