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Concluding the 2013 Accelerator

On the first day of the Accelerator, all five companies worked together to identify needs and categorize questions. 

This week marks the official end of the 2013 Code for America Accelerator. Over the course of the Accelerator, the innovative civic entrepreneurs have crafted and launched new strategies, increased revenue, streamlined their sales funnels and become part of the national conversation about government and civic technology.

The five civic and government technology startups hail from all over the United States — Florida, North Carolina and Texas, as well as Northern and Southern California. Many of the founders have backgrounds working in government and public service, and all are united by a passion for civic technology.

Our four-month program is uniquely created for participation by startups from all over the nation. The startups in the program were present in our San Francisco office one week a month, for workshops and mentorship. Additionally, during these onsite weeks, the Accelerator startups spent time connecting with other local accelerators and individuals who work in and with government.

“The entire process helped us appreciate the successes we’ve had thus far while priming us for the level of demand that exists in the sector.  In many ways, the accelerator’s intangible benefit was to bring FAF into the community of civic innovators who are collectively working to create real change.  This fact was sincerely eye-opening and affirming of the work we’re doing.  This community has not only helped generate ideas, provide resources, and helped to blueprint the business, but it has also confirmed that FAF is part of a greater, powerful ecosystem,” Sarayu Ramanan of FAF said.

The program featured content around areas such as sales, marketing, product design, UX, lead generation, procurement, behavioral economics, and even featured one session on yoga and meditation.

“The Code for America Accelerator helped StreetCred Software test its assumptions about a range of crucial business issues, from our revenue and business models to our user interface and experience. The Accelerator brought us into conversations we otherwise would not have had, with tremendously talented, passionate, and dedicated people we would not have otherwise met. And we did yoga — and liked it,” Nick Selby, CEO of StreetCred Software noted.

The Accelerator even facilitated pivotal changes in the companies present, for example, “CfA’s focus on data transparency inspired us to open our own database to all journalists for free,” said Craig Calvert, SmartProcure’s director of communications.

“Overall, we are coming out of the Accelerator with a clear realization that the public sector market — which traditionally has been an undesirable market focus for a startup — provides us tremendous potential for growth, and we truly are at the forefront of this entrepreneurial opportunity,” Anil Chawla, CEO of ArchiveSocial said.

Additionally, throughout the program the companies were able to help one another out — introducing one another to potential clients, being participants in UX research sessions for one another and offering specific and actionable advice advice, usually in the form of solutions to problems they’ve solved in their own companies.

“The Code for America Accelerator helped us take a promising project built by the Fellowship program and funded by the Knight Foundation and scale it to multiple jurisdictions. Through connections with mentors and targeted lectures the CfA Accelerator helped us refine our value proposition, our metrics and our strategy for growing OpenCounter into a sustainable business,” Peter Koht OpenCounter co-founder said.

The Accelerator concluded with a Startup Showcase, that was webcast live to city government officials and others interested in civic technology. The Showcase featured presentations by each startup as well as a discussion of trends in the civic startup sector.

 


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