Bradley Tusk (born October 3, 1973) is an American businessman, venture capitalist, philanthropist, political strategist, and writer. He is the founder and CEO of Tusk Holdings, a multi-faceted platform featuring multiple businesses (Tusk Ventures, Tusk Strategies, Ivory Gaming, Kronos Archives), politics, philanthropy, and writing and commentary.
He previously served as the campaign manager for New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's successful 2009 re-election bid, as Deputy Governor of Illinois, and as Communications Director for US Senator Chuck Schumer.
Early life and education
Bradley Tusk was raised in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn and in Nassau County, Long Island. Tusk is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania where he received his BA in 1995. He has a JD from the University of Chicago Law School, which he received in 1999. He lives in Manhattan with his wife, art historian Harper Montgomery and their two children.
Tusk Ventures and Tusk Holdings
In 2015, he launched Tusk Ventures, the world's first venture capital fund dedicated solely to working with and investing in startups facing political and regulatory challenges or pursuing political and governmental opportunities. His work with startups began in early 2011, when he agreed to work with then-brand new transportation startup Uber to help the company overcome regulatory issues posed by the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) of New York City.
Fast Company reported after "winning the TLC's blessing in New York City, Tusk moved onto cities including Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles, Denver and Washington D.C." Tusk gained his first exposure to the world of venture capital by taking equity in Uber as part of his fee and gained financial capital to take greater venture risk.
In 2015, Tusk ran a high-profile campaign featuring TV, radio and digital ads, direct mail, grassroots outreach, earned media, social media and mobilizing community leaders to oppose New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's proposed plan to cap the number of vehicles Uber could operate.
The campaign argued that "the company was good for the city, providing jobs and transportation for less affluent residents in the outer boroughs." The bill was dropped before it could go to a vote. Tusk Ventures was launched two weeks after the Uber victory.
Tusk Ventures has worked with over two dozen high growth startups including FanDuel, Lemonade, Handy, Eaze, Nexar, GlamSquad, Altschool, Ripple, Saucey, Kickback, and Care/Of, solving a variety of political, regulatory and media challenges solely in return for equity in each company and for investment rights in each company's next round of financing.
In May 2017, with the hiring of Josh Mohrer, who had spent five years building and running Uber in New York as General Manager, Tusk expanded its offerings to portfolio companies to include advice and assistance on operations, scale and growth.
Tusk Strategies, Kronos Archives, Ivory Gaming
Tusk founded Tusk Strategies in 2011, a political consulting firm based in New York City. The firm develops and runs large-scale, multi-jurisdictional campaigns for companies, including Comcast, Google, Walmart, AT&T, Pepsi, and institutions including Stanford University, the Rockefeller Foundation and Texas A&M, and individuals including Michael Bloomberg and George Lucas.
Tusk Strategies also leads major issue advocacy campaigns around education reform and good government; campaigns to help political candidates, non-profits and trade associations. Tusk Strategies has led 72 regulatory, legislative, or reputational campaigns in 47 states throughout the United States.
Ivory Gaming Group
Ivory Gaming Group was co-founded by Bradley Tusk and Christian Goode in 2015 to develop and manage casinos, including their day-to-day operations which include food and beverage services, marketing and media.
Kronos Archives is a company founded by Tusk which creates personal digital libraries for clients using any and all media such as videos, photos, documents and more to tell the story of a family, individual, company or institution. The finished product is searchable, metatagged and fully digitized.
Tusk Montgomery Philanthropies
Along with his wife, Harper Montgomery, Tusk created Tusk Montgomery Philanthropies (TMP). TMP has funded and led state legislative campaigns to expand school breakfast programs in states like Illinois, Pennsylvania and Washington. In 2017, TMP launched an initiative to popularize the need for mobile voting to citizens and elected officials across the country. Tusk also serves on the boards of Creative Time and StoryCorps.
Politics and Government
Tusk began his career in politics as an undergraduate student working for former Mayor of Philadelphia, Ed Rendell, during Rendell's widely documented efforts to save Philadelphia from bankruptcy and decline. After graduating college, Tusk became the spokesperson for the New York City Parks Department and helped run various divisions of the agency, most notably launching a successful campaign to change the way New Yorkers obey the leash law. Tusk later returned to serve as Senior Advisor to New York City Parks Commissioner Henry Stern,
Tusk then joined U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer as Communications Director from 2000-2002, handling communications, strategy and policy for the Senator, most notably in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks on New York City.
Tusk then joined the administration of New York City's Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, as special advisor to the mayor, where he led the successful effort to re-write the New York City charter and created the Mayor's campaign promise index, making Bloomberg the nation's first public official to publicly report on the status of every one of his campaign promises.
In 2003, Tusk was appointed Deputy Governor of Illinois. Tusk led the effort to make Illinois the first state to guarantee health care for all children, the first state to offer pre-school to all 3 and 4 year olds, the first state to import prescription drugs from Europe and Canada, and the first state to convert its entire tollway system to Open Road Tolling. Under Tusk's leadership, Illinois reduced the state workforce by 20% and materially increased funding for education and health care without raising taxes.
Tusk later testified as a witness in the criminal trial of Governor Rod Blagojevich, recounting the occasion when Blagojevich asked him to hold up a government grant until a fundraiser was held. Tusk put a stop to Blagojevich's plans and reported the incident to the Chief Ethics Officer.
After serving as Deputy Governor, Tusk served as Senior Vice President at Lehman Brothers, where he created the lottery monetization group and headed all of its efforts regarding U.S. based lotteries. Combining his backgrounds in finance and politics, Tusk developed a successful framework to help state's monetize their lotteries.
In 2009, Tusk was named campaign manager for Michael Bloomberg's bid for a third term as Mayor of New York City. In referring to Tusk's role with the Bloomberg campaign, the New York Times opined: "Mr. Tusk's high level of organization, and his demand for corporate-style accountability, earned him admiration and occasional resentment within the campaign. He kept meticulous checklists and spreadsheets on a dozen topics at a time, and sought daily, sometimes hourly, updates from staff members. Over the summer, he ordered staff members to work until 8 every night. They were unhappy, and let him know it. He refused to back down, worried the large staff was becoming complacent. Yet the campaign rarely, if ever, missed an internal deadline, and it committed few serious missteps."
Tusk writes regular columns for Inc. Magazine and the Observer, and has been a featured guest columnist for outlets including CNBC, VentureBeat, Fortune, Hollywood Reporter and TechCrunch.
- "Bradley Tusk". Observer. Retrieved March 22, 2017.
- Rubinstein, Dana; Nahmias, Laura. "Uber rewrites the book on beating de Blasio". Capital New York. Retrieved July 30, 2015.
- "The Rise Of Bradley Tusk, Silicon Valley's Political Savior". Fast Company. 2016-10-24. Retrieved 2017-05-29.
- "Paths in Public Service Featuring Bradley Tusk". Roosevelt House. Retrieved July 30, 2015.
- "Bradley Tusk '99: A Big Name in the Big Apple, and Beyond". The University of Chicago. Retrieved July 30, 2015.
Tusk...is widely credited with spearheading the administration's most notable successes, such as broadly expanding medical insurance for children, and for effectively overseeing a massive proportion of the state's operations, including its $60 billion budget and its 57,000-person workforce.
- Montgomery, Harper (2017-07-04). The Mobility of Modernism: Art and Criticism in 1920s Latin America. University of Texas Press. p. 4. ISBN 9781477312568.
- Grandoni, Dino (August 2, 2015). "Political Consultant for Uber to Advise Other Start-Ups". New York Times Bits Blog. Retrieved 2017-05-20.
- Kessler, Sarah (2016-10-24). "The Rise Of Bradley Tusk, Silicon Valley's Political Savior". Fast Company. Retrieved 2017-05-30.
- Grandoni, Dino (August 2, 2015). "Political Consultant for Uber to Advise Other Start-Ups". New York Times Bits Blog. Retrieved 2017-06-20.
- Flegenheimer, Matt (2015-07-22). "De Blasio Administration Dropping Plan for Uber Cap, for Now". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-03-30.
- Kessler, Sarah (2016-10-24). "The Rise Of Bradley Tusk, Silicon Valley's Political Savior". Fast Company. Retrieved 2017-05-01.
- Flegenheimer, Matt (2015-07-22). "De Blasio Administration Dropping Plan for Uber Cap, for Now". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-05-01.
- Jorgensen, Jillian (2015-09-09). "How Bradley Tusk Is Helping Startups Like Uber Wage Campaign-Style War on City Hall". Observer. Retrieved 2017-05-31.
- Kessler, Sarah (2016-10-24). "The Rise Of Bradley Tusk, Silicon Valley's Political Savior". Fast Company. Retrieved 2017-05-31.
- "Tusk Ventures | Companies". tuskventures.com. Retrieved 2017-05-31.
- Simpson, Andrew (2016-12-05). "Insurtech Lemonade Wins $34 Million in New Funding As It Readies for West Coast Expansion". Insurance Journal. Retrieved 2017-05-31.
- Loizos, Connie (April 4, 2017). "Tusk Ventures quietly held a first close on $25 million for its debut fund | TechCrunch". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2017-05-31.
- Carson, Biz. "Uber's controversial NYC manager is leaving the company". Business Insider. Retrieved 2017-05-30.
- Shieber, Jonathan (May 30, 2017). "Controversial Uber manager Josh Mohrer joins Tusk Ventures". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2017-05-30.
- Loizos, Connie. "Silicon Valley's favorite fixer: Bradley Tusk". Retrieved 2017-05-29.
- Gabriel, Trip; Medina, Jennifer (2010-05-09). "Hedge Funds' Leaders Rally for Charter Schools". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-05-29.
- "Tusk Strategies | Expertise". tuskstrategies.com. Retrieved 2017-05-29.
- "Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians ("Tribe") is pleased to announce that its wholly owned tribal enterprise, Chukchansi Economic Development Authority ("CEDA"), is making substantial progress in re-opening their world class gaming facility, Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino". PR Newswire. Retrieved August 16, 2015.
- "Kronos Archives". Kronos. Retrieved September 27, 2015.
- "Tusk/Montgomery Philanthropies | Our Mission". tuskmontgomery.org. Retrieved 2017-05-29.
- "Tusk / Montgomery Philanthropies | Our Mission". www.tuskmontgomery.com. Retrieved 2017-06-21.
- Philanthropies, Tusk Montgomery. "Tusk Montgomery Philanthropies Appoints New President Sheila Nix to Build on Success of Hunger Relief Campaigns Across the Country and Spearhead New Mobile Voting Initiative". prnewswire.com. Retrieved 2017-05-29.
- "About Creative Time". Creative Time. Retrieved 2017-05-29.
- "StoryCorps". StoryCorps. Retrieved 2017-05-29.
- Bissinger, Buzz (2015-04-15). A Prayer for the City. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. ISBN 9781101969915.
- Shattuck, Kathryn (1996-02-11). "F.Y.I." The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-06-20.
- Martin, Douglas. "Leash Patrol Touts Victory In City Parks; Next, Pit Bulls". New York Times. Retrieved August 2, 2015.
The tougher approach to the leash law was the brainchild of Mr. Tusk, the agency's former spokesman, who had left his job for two years to attend the University of Chicago Law School.
- Rashid, Brian. "5 Leadership Lessons I Learned Working For Mayor Bloomberg". Forbes. Retrieved August 2, 2015.
A man named Bradley Tusk ran the Mayor's entire campaign. He was a genius. We loved Bradley. He was brilliant, yet approachable.
- Keith, Ryan (December 16, 2006). "Deputy governor leaving town". pantagraph.com. Retrieved 2017-06-10.
- Tarm, Michael (June 21, 2010). "Ex-aide: Blagojevich told him to pressure Emanuel". Associated Press. Retrieved 2017-06-20.
- "Privatizing the Prize". The New York Times. Retrieved October 25, 2016.
- "Bradley Tusk". Tpl.org. The Trust for Public Land. Retrieved July 30, 2015.
- "Chief Factor in Mayor's Race: Bloomberg Influence". The New York Times. Retrieved November 4, 2009.
- "Mayor Bloomberg's Secret Weapon", observer.com; accessed October 25, 2016.
- "City Hall: The Influentials" Archived October 17, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
- "Bradley Tusk's articles". inc.com. Retrieved 2017-05-29.
- Bosa, Harriet Taylor, Deirdre (2017-02-09). "Here's how nervous start-ups should deal with Trump, explains VC". CNBC. Retrieved 2017-05-29.
- "Bradley Tusk News | VentureBeat". VentureBeat. Retrieved 2017-05-29.
- "Uber's Political Adviser Has Advice for Other Startups". fortune.com. Retrieved 2017-05-29.
- "How O.J.'s Acquittal Set the Stage for Trump's Victory (Guest Column)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2017-05-29.
- Shieber, Jonathan. "Bradley Tusk | TechCrunch". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2017-05-29.