Civic Eagle is a technology startup that creates Software as a Service (SaaS) tools for local and state governments, and policy advocacy organizations.
Damola Ogundipe says, “I’ve always kind of known that I wanted to take an entrepreneurship route.” During college, he ran a successful sneaker retail company on eBay. In 2011, Damola graduated from the University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Management with a degree in Finance.
In 2013, Damola was working as an independent consultant in the healthcare field. As the debate flared up over the Affordable Care Act, he realized that he did not know what was in the bill. “That was concerning for me,” he says. “Because that was the field I was working in.” He looked around for a reliable source of information about the bill and its impact.
When Damola could not find a reliable source of information, he realized that this was a problem that he needed to fix for himself. Damola says, “As an entrepreneur when you start out to solve a problem that’s important to you, you’re better off because you’re not the only person who is suffering from that problem.”
That was the genesis of Civic Eagle. He wanted to make it easier for citizens to understand issues and legislation. He also wanted to make it easy for governments to understand their constituents. “Without both,” Damola explains, “there is no true solution.”
Damola drew and redrew ideas across 150 pages of a notebook. He warns, perhaps he thought about it a little too much before starting. Once he was satisfied with his idea for an app, he paid someone to develop a prototype for him. “It was a horrible prototype,” he confessed. “The action of doing something was positive. The result of the action I took, wasn’t what I wanted it to be.”
He began again. This time he started by listing the people and resources he needed to bring his vision to life. He recruited a technologist. He recruited someone with more than 20 years of government experience. He recruited another team member who had design experience.
The team tapped into their network to engage in a lean startup methodology. Damola says, “You do not want to build something for your customer. You’re better off building something with your customer.”
It is hard to imagine a time when civic engagement is more important. Civic Eagle sees civic engagement and constituent management as a marketplace problem. They create tools to help citizens to engage in civic discourse. Their app allows constituents to learn about their civic leaders and issues. They can speak out about issues using Civic Eagle’s award-winning video debate tool. Users of the app can act and advocate on behalf of the issues that matter to them. They can even register to vote.
Civic Eagle also creates tools to help local governments, state governments, and policy advocacy organizations to help them understand the needs to their constituents. Civic Eagle provides data analytics and data visualization tools. Government and advocacy organizations can engage their constituents, activating them around issues.
Social Entrepreneurship Quotes from Damola Ogundipe
“Data aggregation is central to what we do.”
“We believe in free speech and open dialogue.”
“It’s difficult to regulate a platform that is built around being heard.”
“For the majority of startups, your first sale is going to be relationship-based.”
“Our ultimate outcome is for people to vote.”
“You’ve really got to pay attention at the local level.”
Social Entrepreneurship Resources:
- Civic Eagle: http://www.civiceagle.com
- Civic Eagle on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Civic_Eagle
- Civic Eagle on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/civiceagle
- Civic Eagle on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/civic_eagle
- Eagle App in iTunes store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/eagle-by-civic-eagle/id896594369?mt=8
- Eagle App in the Google Play store: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.civiceagle.eagle