On Oct. 30, Code for America announced the seven San Francisco startup companies in its inaugural class of civic accelerator startups -- a program that provided each company with $25,000 and four months free access to local workspace to build their ideas.
These seven civic startups are developing real, sustainable solutions for challenges faced by government; they were chosen from more than 235 applicants by Tim O'Reilly, Ron Bouganim and a board of government technology leaders.
“Code for America has helped us refine our tools, and deliver them to preparing communities," said Caitria O’Neill, CEO of Recovers, one of the participating companies. "In just a few months, they’ve taken us from good-hearted idea, to technology company,”
With the help of the accelerator, many of the companies have received attention from investors and “infinitely multiplied their networks of government contacts,” Code for America stated in a press release.
The seven companies to receive recognition as members of the inaugural class are:
- Aunt Bertha is an online index that helps people find food, health, housing and employment programs. “As a parole officer working with ex-offenders,” said Erin McGann of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, “it can be exceptionally difficult to find resources. Aunt Bertha has been a great tool that allows people to find help for themselves and often, support their family’s needs as well!”
- Captricity takes data “trapped on paper,” such as hand-completed survey forms, and converts it into digital data that can be “searched, stored, shared and studied,” the website states.
- LearnSprout created a universal application programming interface that allows developers to build classroom apps that leverage data “currently silo-ed away in legacy student information systems used across US K12,” according to the website. “LearnSprout took just a few minutes to set up and eliminated the hassle of integrating with our PowerSchool student information system. It’s been refreshingly simple and reliable,” said Mike Teng, director of Instructional Technology at Rocketship Education.
- Measured Voice is a collaboration tool for organizations to create, publish and measure social media content. “Measured Voice helps users manage multiple social media accounts, enact publishing workflow, delineate team roles, and measure results and team performance through a simple interface,” the website reads.
- MindMixer encourages community involvement by providing a forum and tools for discussing ideas. The tool has helped create a network of contributors in more than 250 organizations around the country, according to the Code for America website. “The MindMixer site has been incredible for the city of Omaha and its citizens," said Nikola Jordan, deputy director for the mayor of Omaha. "In the first 24 hours of the site being live, we received more ideas than we had in the previous year of the mayor’s administration."
- Recovers helps communities manage resources and requests for help that pour in after a disaster through Web and mobile tools. In Forney, Texas, Life Church did not have Recovers in place before the tornadoes swept through in April 2012, and though the learning curve on the system is very simple, said Community Outreach Director Cooper Taylor, it would have been immensely beneficial if the program had been in place before the disaster. "If there’s ever another disaster in your area, the very first person I would call would be Caitria and the Recovers team," Taylor said. "And one of the first things I would focus on would be implementing their site and systems into the community recovery effort from the very beginning."
- Revelstone is a performance measuring tool for the public sector. It provides metrics and social networking tools to help local governments understand “how they are performing, where they could be doing better and what they can learn from their peers through Compass, a Web-based performance analytics and benchmarking platform.”
For more information about the San Francisco Civic Startup Accelerator and the chosen startups, visit Code For America online.
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