Photo: USAID Afghanistan

How government can enable peace through entrepreneurship

In “Peace Through Entrepreneurship: Investing in a Startup Culture for Security and Development,” former State Department staffer Steven Koltai makes the case that world peace can best be achieved through nonmilitary means, especially entrepreneurship that leads to global job creation.

San Francisco City Hall

What’s different about GovTech?

I’ve spent the last eight years building and selling products to governments. At the risk of oversimplifying what works in govtech, I think success comes from three factors.

Start-Up City

How to be a ‘Start-Up City’

Former Chicago and District of Columbia transportation head Gabe Klein highlights eight lessons leaders should follow when building innovative approaches to better cities in his book “Start-Up City.”

1776

Regulatory hacking

The idea of regulatory hacking — “combining public policy and alternatives to traditional marketing for startups to successfully scale in the next wave of the digital economy” — is important for new companies interested in changing energy, healthcare and especially government itself to understand.

Hacking for Defense

Hacking for Defense (Week 7)

We just held our seventh week of the Hacking for Defense class. Now with over 750 interviews of beneficiaries (users, program managers, stakeholders, etc.) almost all the teams are beginning to pivot from their original understanding of their sponsor’s problem and their hypotheses about how to solve them.

OPEN

Government vendor as an ‘open organization’

Earlier, I wrote about the book “Open Organization” and, via a post originally published on ProudCity, wanted to share my extended thoughts on how this applies to government vendors in the context of the work I’m doing there.

ProudCity

Say hello to ProudCity

Today, I’m excited to announce a new civic startup, ProudCity, founded by me and three others, committed to making it easier for cities to stand up and manage municipal digital services.

Govtech Fund Managing Partner Ron Bouganim (Photo: Code for America)

Funding government technology

I’m always inspired talking and working with entrepreneurs trying to solve big civic problems, especially those who realize much of the challenge lies within modernizing and empowering internal government operations, so it was great to finally meet with Govtech Fund Founder and Managing Partner Ron Bouganim this week.

U.S. Capitol

5 a16z podcast episodes for government

I recently discovered Silicon Valley venture capital firm a16z’s podcast series, and it’s a sign of the times that a VC is leveraging media in a way that not just promotes their portfolio companies, but also addresses the government and regulatory affairs issues Silicon Valley, startups and technology companies increasingly face.

Photo: Luke Fretwell

Cities and startups

Fred Wilson’s talk with The New York Times reporter Andrew Ross Sorkin during the recent Cities for Tomorrow 2015 conference about how cities can create startup hubs is a must-watch for mayors.

Photo (from left to right): Andrew Hoppin (CEO, NuCivic), Scott Burns (CEO, GovDelivery), Sheldon Rampton (CTO, NuCivic)

An investment in the future of government technology

For the past 15 years, I’ve spent much of my professional life working with and in startups. It’s an environment I love. You have complete control over your destiny, and you win by blending the perfect amalgam of people, design, technology, strategy and execution all into one mission.

Photo: Code for America

7 characteristics of government technology startups

Code for America recently held a “Bay Area Government Technology Showcase” featuring ventures and investors pitching their ideas, and CfA’s Ashley Meyers and Dharmishta Rood opened the event with an overview of seven traits of the next generation of government technology startups.

Photo: Luke Fretwell

Doubling down on government technology

We’ve recently seen an uptick in venture capital interest around government and civic technology startups, but before we enthusiastically celebrate these investments, we must ask ourselves whether this potential bubble will truly reshape government IT or simply leave us five years from now in the same place we are today.

Screendoor

With Screendoor, DOBT makes simple web forms key to better government

After Adam Becker and Clay Johnson completed their stints as White House Presidential Innovation Fellows working together on Project RFP-EZ, they were inspired to scale IT simplicity so that governments everywhere would no longer have to deal with traditional mediocre software solutions most legacy vendors provide.

Nick Selby, co-founder and CEO, StreetCred (Photo: Code for America)

Startup.civ: StreetCred

StreetCred helps law enforcement agencies locate fugitives, get them out of the community, and bring the officers home safely each day.

SmartProcure

Startup.civ: SmartProcure

SmartProcure is a government purchasing database that helps agencies improve purchasing decisions and vendors win more government business.

Park.IT

Park.IT or ticket

Park.it creates happy drivers driving in cities like San Francisco, by helping them avoid parking tickets or tow away charges along with parking choices at their fingertips.

Help government communicate better

Measured Voice President Jed Sundwall writes “Why We’re a Civic Startup” on the company’s blog to highlight why it applied to the Code for America Accelerator program.

Raise Your Voice wants to help citizens better engage with legislators

Raise Your VoiceRaise Your Voice founder Dan Busse shares how his new civic venture wants to change the way citizens and legislators engage with one another.

Give us the 140-character elevator pitch.

We are a tool, placed in online news and blogs, that promotes open dialogue between citizens and legislators in response to current issues.

What problem does Raise Your Voice solve for government?

By enabling average people to quickly and easily voice their opinions to their elected officials – from the news, when they’re most inspired – officials get a larger sampling and a better, unfiltered understanding of how their constituents feel.

What’s the story behind starting Raise Your Voice?

I conceived Raise Your Voice during the debates on health care reform. As an Emergency Physician, I grew increasingly frustrated watching the town hall meetings, well meaning attempts at open dialogue, were hijacked by special interests and degenerated into shouting matches. It became clear to me that there were too many layers – pundits, interest groups, and media, between people and their elected officials, so I designed Raise Your Voice to give the average citizen direct and easy access. I placed it in online news, because that’s where people are most inspired to act. We got some small funding and launched in November 2011.

What are its key features?

Our main attribute is that, in being placed in online news and blogs, we make ourselves available when people are the most inspired about current issues (who hasn’t yelled at the news?).

Other key features include:

  • an address book that includes federal, state, local, and county officials (since all politics is local)
  • a “widget configurator” that allows people to generate and download the javascript code to place our button on their sites
  • the ability to share their communications throughout their social networks
  • we are working on integrating an advocacy platform, so people writing about an issue can see other groups working in their area (i.e. I write about logging and the spotted owl then see links to the Sierra Club and Wilderness Society sites)
  • we have a multitude of features we are working on to make interaction easier; all aimed at opening up government.

What are the costs, pricing plans?

We are free.

How can those interested connect with you?