Civic Tech: Entrepreneurship Opportunities

The Accelerator application closed on May 15th.

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Panel 1: Civic Entrepreneurship — tactical strategies and steps

  • Joel Mahoney

    Co-founder, OpenCounter

    Joel Mahoney is a civic technologist and entrepreneur. He was an inaugural fellow at Code for America, and served as a technical advisor to the organization. Joel has been developing web applications since 1999, and has served as the COO and CTO of multiple start-up companies. Recently, he was the lead architect of, a citizen-engagement platform for the 2010 California Special Election. He has founded several startups, including an online travel site, a genetics visualization tool, and an m-health platform for diabetics. His work has been featured in the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, and the New York Times.


  • Marci Harris

    Chief Executive Officer, POPVOX

    Marci Harris began public service work as Tornado Recovery Coordinator for Jackson, Tenn., working with private and public organizations and state, local and federal agencies to marshal resources and rebuild. In 2007, she became Tax, Trade, and Health Counsel to Pete Stark, then-Chairman of the Health Subcommittee of Ways and Means, and was Committee lead for Medicare Program Integrity and Physician Payments Sunshine provisions of the House health reform bill. She left the Hill in February 2010 to build POPVOX.


  • Peter Shanley

    Principal, Neo

    Peter Shanley, currently a Principle at NEO, has a passion for customer-centered product design and organizational change, having worked in both large enterprises and startups to bring new ventures to market. He held intrepreneurial roles at Yahoo! Brickhouse and HP Labs/Snapfish, and he led a strategic pivot at the startup He previously worked in affordable housing in San Francisco at


Panel 2: Civic Technology — the funding opportunity

  • Christie George

    Director, New Media Ventures

    Christie George is the Director of New Media Ventures, the first national network of angel investors supporting media and tech startups that disrupt politics and catalyze progressive change. At New Media Ventures, a project of the Democracy Alliance, Christie has overseen the investment of over $3m into a portfolio of non-profits and for profits, including NationalField, Sum of Us, and Upworthy.


  • Ken Norton

    Partner, Google Ventures

    Ken Norton is a product partner at Google Ventures where he advises startups on product management and also helps organize our workshops. Prior to joining Google Ventures, Ken was a group product manager at Google. In his more than six years as a PM at Google, Ken led product initiatives for Docs, Calendar, Google Mobile Maps, and Google+. Ken joined Google with the acquisition of JotSpot, where he was vice president of products. Before JotSpot, Ken led product management at Yahoo Search. Back in the day when he was a software engineer, he was one of the first 50 employees of CNET and the founding CTO of Snap (which became NBC Internet).


  • Tim O'Reilly

    Founder and CEO, O'Reilly Media'

    Tim O’Reilly is the founder and CEO of O’Reilly Media Inc. Considered by many to be the best computer book publisher in the world, O’Reilly Media also hosts conferences on technology topics, including the O’Reilly Open Source Convention, Strata: The Business of Data, the Velocity Conference on Web Performance and Operations, and many others. Tim’s blog, the O’Reilly Radar “watches the alpha geeks” to determine emerging technology trends, and serves as a platform for advocacy about issues of importance to the technical community. Tim is also a partner at O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures, O’Reilly’s early stage venture firm, and is on the board of Safari Books Online, PeerJ, Code for America, and Maker Media, which was recently spun out from O’Reilly Media.



  • Dharmishta Rood


    Dharmishta Rood, Accelerator Program Manager, Code for America, believes that technology has the capacity to facilitate positive change in the world. Before joining Code for America, she was a Fellow in Psychology at Harvard, a Fellow at MITMedia Lab’s Center for Civic Media, wrote cases, industry reports and researched the Internet at Harvard Business School, and was a researcher at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society. While in Cambridge, she co-founded and co-directed MIT’s festival for entrepreneurs in conjunction with the Trust Center for Entrepreneurship. She is on the board of SXSW’s V2Venture and Startup Accelerator.


  • Lane Becker


    Lane Becker has been hanging out on the Web since it was invented, from his work-study job building websites for the University of Texas at Austin in 1994, to his first, sadly failed startup in 1999, and on to more successful ventures: co-founding Adaptive Path, the first user experience design firm, in 2001, and Get Satisfaction, an online customer service community platform, in 2007. In 2012, Lane co-authored a New York Times bestselling book, “Get Lucky: How to Put Planned Serendipity to Work,” about harnessing serendipity as a business practice. He's currently working with the non-profit Code for America to develop an open-source solution for city websites.



Code for America is hosting evening panel discussions with leaders in the civic technology field about opportunities for civic technology startups.

Civic technology is a rapidly growing sector that holds huge potential for a new generation of startups. A recent Knight Foundation report on civic technology noted that the sector saw $430 million in investment in just the last two years. It's not only a new market ripe with opportunity it's essential to our democracy. Government needs new options -- options of modern, high quality tools and services that are offered at reasonable rates.

Civic technology is technology that’s spurring civic engagement, enhancing citizen communications, improving government infrastructure, or generally making government more effective.

This event is hosted by Code for America's Civic Accelerator, which provides civic startups with funding, mentorship, and the right connections to navigate the government technology ecosystem.

The panel discussions will be followed by a reception with snacks and beverages.

7:15-7:25 Introduction, Civic tech overview and Accelerator application information

7:25-7:55 Civic Entrepreneurship: tactical strategies and steps

8:00-8:30 Civic Technology: the funding opportunity

This event is hosted by the Code for America Startup Program, Learn more about the program and applying to the Accelerator here.