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Ethelo emerged out of a vision for a completely new approach to group decision-making combining human intelligence with information technology, and an insight into the potentially vast systemic impacts of improving such an essential function in society.

Ethelo is comprised of two entities. First, Ethelo Decisions, a technology company dedicated to helping organizations focus collective intelligence to need the best decisions more quickly; second, Ethelo Democracy, a non-profit society dedicated to a more effective, citizen-engaged democracy. Ethelo Decisions undertakes commercial projects to fund the development of the Ethelo technology, which is provided to Ethelo Democracy and its partners for the cost of hardware.

Ethelo began in 2011 with the establishment of a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing new forms of democracy using internet technology. The organization and mission evolved as the founding team, led by Ashoka Fellow John Richardson, developed Ethelo and proved its value in both the commercial and democratic space.