Startups I’d Fund #6

cropped-favicon-1.png

ProudCity is a web platform that lets municipalities easily launch and manage government digital services all in one place. They empower government to proudly serve residents, businesses and visitors and build a stronger sense of civic pride.

 

Last Funds Raised: Undisclosed/None, Founded January 2016

Headquarters: Oakland, California

 

What I Like:

  • I really like the government technology space because there are so few market participants with significant traction that it is anybody’s game.
  • ProudCity has a strong team of people with all of the necessary skills to build and grow the application including former entrepreneurs and engineers to build the products.
  • The company has not taken any outside capital at all, so this presents an opportunity to be the first money in and get a strong team for a low price.
  • The company has a lot of different product offerings showing that they want to be the blanket software that local government use to run their operations. If they could close accounts, then this sticky service would be a great business model.
  • The team is local so it would be easy to see how much traction they have in Oakland and it would be a simple meeting to setup if an initial phone-screen went well.

 

What I Don’t Like:

  • This company will have to do a great job differentiating themselves from competition because although they have a strong offering, it seems like there are a fair number of competitors emerging in this space.
  • It’s always difficult to get contracts from local governments and it usually requires some kind of connection, so hopefully they have some kind of advantage, but it is hard to tell without speaking to them.
  • The company is still very early on so it is hard to see how much traction they have considering it has only been a year of operations and no outside capital.

 

Conclusions:

  • Since the company is so young I would be really interested to hear where the team sees themselves in 3,5,15 years and what they think the company can become.
  • I would be curious how they plan to grow their userbase, especially considering that they have to secure local government contracts.

 


EHoxsiN8.jpg

CityGrows is a workflow and transparency platform for local governments. CityGrows makes it easy for governments to transition away from inefficient paper processes and into the digital world. CityGrows improves the experience of interacting with public services for constituents and government employees, while increasing public access to information about how government works. The CityGrows cloud-hosted platform is a simple, straightforward, and highly functional alternative to the expensive and technically-challenging solutions typically used by governments. CityGrows wants to make interacting with your local government as easy as tracking a package online or ordering a pizza.

 

Last Funds Raised: Undisclosed/None, Founded January 2015

Headquarters: Los Angeles, California

 

What I Like:

  • Again, I really like the government technology space and the need that this company is trying to fill by digitizing a lot of the manual processes currently in place.
  • The company has a very simple freemium business model allowing people to test out the system, but restricts the most useful features for paying subscribers.
  • CityGrows has a lot of different functionality and applications providing a broad menu of choices for a city to choose from. CityGrows also lays these applications out well showing examples of what other cities have done using their suite.
  • The team is strong with diverse backgrounds in the entrepreneurship and city government space, but I am concerned that they don’t have any engineers on the team yet.
  • The company has not taken any outside capital and has operated for two years, so it is either doing well and operating efficiently or they are having trouble raising for some reason.

 

What I Don’t Like:

  • Again, this is a very competitive space with a lot of companies trying to get the exact same accounts offering very similar products. This makes me think that the only way to get a contract is through connections to local governments.
  • The company is still very young, so it is hard to tell if they have real traction in the community.
  • There doesn’t seem to be one standout product that they offer, which may be difficult when they are trying to differentiate themselves and gain business.

 

Conclusions:

  • The company has been around for two years and has not raised any outside capital, so it makes me think they are doing something right – or maybe they are about to go bust and give up. With the hope that it is the former, I think it would be worth a call to see what the team has been up to.
  • I would also be curious to hear the vision for the company down the line.

 


875364-85adc06de1631bc31917509d056c3dd3-medium_jpg.jpg

ClearGov develops and provides a financial transparency and benchmarking platform for local governments and residents. The company offers information on financial statements into an interactive infographics serving customers in California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York. The company’s software enables Government institutions to communicate financial performance and policy accountability to their citizens.

 

Last Funds Raised: $1.2M Seed, March 2017

Headquarters: Hopkinton, Massachusetts

 

What I Like:

  • This company is fixing something that I have always thought needed to be fixed, which is making all the governments valuable data that they collect usable to the general public. ClearGov also contextualizes how efficient local governments are, so people know if money is being properly spent.
  • The founder of the company has experience in the analytics/data space and sold a similar company he founded a few years ago.
  • I really like companies in the government technology space in general because there is such a large market and there are so few companies capturing it.
  • The company is still very early in its capital raising efforts, so it would be a great time to get in before it gets too big.
  • There is international potential for this company to expand to international governments and use the same analytics platform.

 

What I Don’t Like:

  • The company did just raise money a couple months ago so it is unlikely they will be raising again anytime soon, but I think this is an important company to keep an eye on because I see a lot of potential in the concept.
  • It seems like government might not want this to become popular because in some cases it would show how inefficiently the local government is being run. As a result of this it would be up to the company to promote itself within the community to gain momentum and users.
  • I’m not exactly sure how this company plans to make any money because their primary product offering is free for citizens. The only paid product they have seems to be a data visualization tool, but I can’t see that becoming very popular because there are specialized companies who do that.

 

Conclusions:

  • I think this company has a lot of potential if it can gain traction with city councils and groups who monitor local governments. The company provides a necessary leash on governments to be more efficient in their operations because people will be able to benchmark them.
print

Leave a Reply