Code for America, a US-based, civic non-profit has launched a new initiative, a civic startup accelerator. The goal of the project is to provide a leg-up to civic technology companies and disrupt the $140 billion government IT market. The organization is known for its flagship program which recruits technologists to serve as civic coders for municipalities in order to help them improve government service delivery.
The civic startup accelerator is taking applications for civic focused startups that are looking for a little extra firepower. The program for chosen applicants will last four months and is designed to increase market awareness of their product, provide additional funding, and offer industry-specific mentoring.
Advisors to the program include a variety of well known technologists such as Caterina Fake, co-founder of Flickr and Pinwheel, and Ron Conway, angel investor and partner at SV Angel. “This is a big, untapped market that’s rip for disruption — there’s real money to be made,” said Conway. “Code for America is the organization best positioned to recruit the next generation of civic entrepreneurs.”
The organization has recruited Ron Bouganim to head the effort. Bouganim is known for is work as co founder of CCI, Trymedia, Razz and Echo. He is also an active angel investor. The program is receiving financial support from Google, the Kauffman Foundation, and several cities including some former Code for America cities such as Philadelphia and San Francisco.
“We’ve seen incredible advances in technology platforms over the past decade that have lowered entry barriers for new life-enriching products and services, but not for many of our local, state, or regional governments that are constrained by legacy investments in outdated, closed software.” said Aneesh Chopra, former CTO of the United States and advisor to the CfA Accelerator. “Given heightened attention to government spending, there’s not only the need, but an urgency to engage with new, disruptive startups.”
Applications will be accepted for the program through June 1. CivSource was the first to cover Code For America when it launched, read our interview with founder Jennifer Pahlka here.