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The Emergence of Civic Tech:
Investments in a Growing Field
December 2013
2

About

Authors

At Knight Foundation, we strive to
support informed and engaged
communities. With the proliferation of
technology in everyday life over the
past decade, Knight has increasingly
funded new technologies designed to
improve the health and vitality of
cities. Since 2010, Knight has invested
more than $25 million in such
projects, ranging from government
data access platforms to new tools for
community planning to online neighborhood forums.

Knight embarked on an analysis earlier
this year to examine clusters of innovation and investment within the field
of civic tech. Rather than performing a
run-of-the-mill landscape review with
stakeholder interviews, we decided to
experiment with a new set of research
tools. We partnered with Quid, a firm
that specializes in data analytics and
network analysis, to map the field of
civic tech through semantic analysis
and private and philanthropic
investment data.

Over the past two years, we’ve
witnessed through our work a
groundswell of interest at the nexus of
technology, civic innovation, open
government and resident
engagement. Though the terminology
may vary, more and more funders,
investors and practitioners have joined
this emerging “civic tech” field. We
began to wonder: How can practitioners supporting civic tech form
stronger connections, and how can
we gather better insights into the
trends in the field?

This report summarizes key findings
and implications from the analysis.
We hope this experiment will be
valuable to those interested in the
field of civic tech as well as organizations looking to advance the use of
big data in the social sector. This study
is a first foray into analyzing the civic
tech landscape but is certainly not an
exhaustive analysis. We look forward
to continued partnerships with others
to advance learning and practice in
this field.

Mayur Patel
VP/Strategy and Assessment 	 	
Knight Foundation
Jon Sotsky
Director/Strategy and Assessment
Knight Foundation
Sean Gourley
Co-founder & CTO
Quid
Daniel Houghton
Engagement Manager
Quid
3

Contents
	
	 overview
		 Objectives & Approach
		 mapping the field
		 Themes & Trends
		 innovation clusters
		 Investment Activity & Distribution
		 investor analysis
		 Funding Sources & Types of Capital
		 takeaways
		 Strategic Implications & Next Steps
4

This section examines:
objectives

What are the main
questions explored in
the study?

Overview

definition

What is “civic tech”?
scope

What types of
organizations and
investment are included
in the analysis?
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Objectives
Key implications

Further analyze the data gathered
through the review using these tools:

Civic Tech Visualized
Interactive website to explore the
landscape of civic tech organizations

The analysis was designed to
address the following questions:

•	

is being invested
in civic tech projects?

how much money

•	 What are the different clusters
of civic tech innovation?
•	 How does investment vary across
these clusters of innovation?
•	 Which organizations are attracting
the most investment?

•	

who is investing

•	 What is the

in civic tech?

balance of private and

philanthropic

investment?

Explore

Civic Tech Directory
Index of organizations,
investors and investment data
Download

5
6

Civic Tech: A Convergence of Fields
This review incorporates tech
companies and projects from several fields of work. Only projects
primarily focused on promoting
civic outcomes were included.

collaborative
consumption
Tools for procuring
paid services
from local vendors
and sharing of
corporate-owned
assets

government
data
Internal
performance
and analytics
software

Peer-to-peer
sharing of
resident-owned
goods and
services
Public data
access and
transparency

Funding for
projects
that enhance
public
services and
spaces

civic
tech
Social
causes,
civic
engagement

community
organizing
Political
campaign
management
tools

Place-based
networks
and community
forums
Virtual,
professional
or practicebased networks

social
networks

crowd
funding
Funding
for consumer
and
commercial
products
7

Criteria for Inclusion
This study focuses on organizations, including for-profit
companies and nonprofits,
that received funding between
January 2011 and May 20131
to develop or scale civic
technology.
The review used a set of
guidelines to determine which
projects should be included.
The resulting analysis provides
a useful initial assessment,
albeit not an exhaustive examination, of the emerging field
of civic tech.

•	 Organizations
Startups, private companies and nonprofits are included.
Events, loose affiliations and networks that are not legally
registered entities are excluded.

•	 Time Frame
Organizations that received funding between January 2011
and May 2013 are included. Organizations that received funding
prior to January 1, 2011, are largely excluded.

•	 Investment
Grants and investments made by foundations, corporations and
private investors are included. Government and public funding for
civic tech is excluded. In addition, an organization must receive
funding from a third party, rather than just being financed through
an organiza-tion’s internal budget.

•	 Technology
Organizations funded to support advocacy, research, events and
other purposes related to civic tech but not directly tied to building
tech-related projects are excluded.

•	 Geography
The study concentrates on U.S. investments
in U.S.-based civic tech projects. Some international companies
that achieved significant investment and/or press also included.
1 The analysis captures organizations that received funding during this period; some have subsequently closed operations or been acquired. Quid’s investment database captures funding dating
back to Jan. 1, 2011. While the review captured a handful of projects that received funding prior to
this date, those data are not as comprehensive as data analyzed from this point forward.
8

This section examines:
approach

How was the civic
tech landscape mapped?

Mapping
the Field

clusters

What are different
innovation clusters
in the field?
trends

How has the field
grown over time?
READING THE MAP

Approach to Mapping
Civic Technology

•	 Each node (circle) represents
an organization
•	 Connections between nodes (lines) form
between organizations with similar
functionality and/or purpose—thicker
connections mean greater similarity
•	 Nodes of similar companies cluster
together; nodes of dissimilar
companies repel each other and
create spacing in the map

The following steps were used to
map the civic tech landscape:
	 1	
		
		
		
		

Quid and Knight, in consultation
with others in the field, seeded
the analysis with a set of
organizations viewed as core
to civic tech innovation.

	 2	
		
		
		
		
		

Key terms (e.g., “civic,” “open
government,” “open data”) were
used to examine media, press
and investment data to generate
additional organizations to
include in the landscape.

	 3	
		
		
		
		
		

Quid’s proprietary software
generated a network map based
on the level of similarity between
the way organizations described
the functionality and purpose of
their technology.

	 4	
		
		
		
		

Quid and Knight reviewed the
resulting map and determined
descriptors for different clusters
of organizations that emerged
from the analysis.

Network by Quid

Civic Tech
Landscape Map

9
READING THE MAP

Landscape Themes:
Open Government &
Community Action
In reviewing the network map,
two top-level themes were
identified in relation to the organizations included in the
analysis. The network map
was then color-coded to
highlight these two themes.

Open Government
Projects focused on
advancing government
transparency, accessibility of government data
and services, and civic
involvement in democratic
processes

Community Action
Projects 1

Network by Quid

•	 Circle size represents the number
of organizations in each cluster
•	 Line thickness represents the
number of connections between
organizations in each cluster

•	
•	

open government
community action

10
11

READING THE MAP

Innovation Clusters

•	 Circle size represents the number
of organizations in the cluster
•	 Line thickness represents the
number of connections between
organizations in each cluster

•	
•	

open government

Within the two overarching themes,
11 clusters of civic tech innovation
were identified:

community action

Open Government
	

1	 Data Access & Transparency
1

	 2	 Data Utility

5

9

	 3	 Public Decision Making
	 4	 Resident Feedback

4

2

	 5	 Visualization & Mapping
	 6	Voting

Community Action

10
11

	 7	 Civic Crowdfunding
	 8	 Community Organizing

8

3

7

	 9	 Information Crowdsourcing
	 10	 Neighborhood Forums
	 11	 Peer-to-Peer Sharing

6
Network by Quid
12

Open Government Innovation Clusters
cluster

example organizations

description

Data Access & 	
Transparency	

Promote government data availability,
transparency and accountability

Data Utility	

Empower users to analyze government
data and leverage data to improve public
service delivery

Public Decision	
Making	

Encourage resident participation in
large-scale deliberative democracy and
community planning efforts

Resident Feedback	

Provide residents with opportunities to
interact with government officials and
give feedback about public service delivery

Visualization & 	
Mapping	

Enable users to make sense of and gain
actionable insight from civic data sources,
specifically through the visualization and
mapping of that information

Voting	

Support voter participation and fair
election processes
13

Community Action Innovation Clusters
cluster

example organizations

description

Civic Crowdfunding	

Suport local projects and organizations
that generate a public benefit through
peer-to-peer lending and crowdfunding

Community	
Organizing

Manage social campaigns and initiatives

Information	
Crowdsourcing	

Collect data from a large number
of individuals to inform and address
civic issues

Neighborhood	
Forums	
	

Power local groups of people
to connect, share information
and collaborate

Peer-to-Peer (P2P) 	
Sharing	

Promote resident-driven sharing of
goods and services
14

Growth of Civic Tech
The analysis of civic tech
organizations launched each
year since 2000 reveals
consistent, high growth rates
in the field. From 2008 to
2012, the field of civic tech grew
at an annual rate of 23%.

2012
121 companies

2008
83 companies

2000
16 civic tech
companies
founded

2004
34 companies

2000–2004

2004–2008

2008–2012

21%

25%

23%

compound annual
growth rate (cagr)

cagr

cagr
15

READING THE CHART

•	

Growth Trends by Cluster

open government

•	

community action

	 43 	 Peer-to-Peer Sharing
		Organizations

Growth has varied across innovation
clusters within civic tech, with
Community Action clusters growing
at a faster rate than those in Open
Government. The fastest growth has
been among organizations focused
on Peer-to-Peer Sharing (36% annually
from 2009 to 2012).

40

	 32 	 Community Organizing
30

20
	18	
Resident Feedback
	16	
Public Decision Making
	16	
Data Access & Transparency
	15	
Neighborhood Forums
	14	
Visualization & Mapping
	12	
Information Crowdsourcing
	11	
Data Utility

10
organizations

	8	
Voting
	7	
Civic Crowdfunding

2000

2005
Cumulative growth (in number of organizations)

2010

2012
16

This section examines:
total investment

How much money
has been invested
in civic tech projects?

Innovation
Clusters

funding distribution

How has investment varied
across different themes
and innovation clusters in
the landscape?
cluster characteristics

What are the primary
characteristics of the
organizations in each
innovation cluster?
17

Total Investment Summary

209

102

civic tech projects
identified in the
civic tech landscape

of the 209
organizations received
investment from
Jan 2011 to May 2013

$431M

237

177

invested in
these civic tech
organizations

different investors
provided funding
to civic tech
organizations

investments made
in civic tech
organizations1

1 Instances where multiple investors participated in the same
funding round are counted as a single investment
18

READING THE CHART

•	

Funding Distribution
The analysis reviewed the
number of investments
and amount invested in each
innovation cluster from
January 2011 to May 2013.
Peer-to-Peer Sharing attracted
the vast majority of total
investment in the landscape
(close to $240M), followed
by three clusters that each
received close to $40M:
Neighborhood Forums, Community Organizing and
Information Crowdsourcing.

Number1 of
Investments
20
Resident
Feedback

40
20

Data
Utility

100M

$15M

$37M

15

Public Decision
Making

$600K

10

Visualization &
Mapping

8

$3M

8

$4M

Peer-to-Peer
Sharing2

29

Information
Crowdsourcing

$38M

14

Neighborhood
Forums
Civic
Crowdfunding

$234M

42

Community
Organizing

2	Peer-to-Peer Sharing includes a $119M
round for Airbnb

200M

$16M

18

Data Access &
Transparency

community action

Amount of
Investment ($)

Voting

1	Includes grants and private investments
from 1 Jan 2011 to 31 May 2013

•	

open government

$35M

7

6

$41M

$8M
19

READING THE CHART

Innovation Cluster Maturity
The analysis examined the
median age of organizations
in each civic tech cluster.
Compared to the tech
industry as a whole, civic
tech organizations are
relatively young. Civic Crowdfunding projects have a
median age of just two years,
while the average age
of organizations in the most
mature clusters—Voting,
Public Decision Making and
Visualization & Mapping—
was five to seven years.

•	 Circle size
represents
the number of
organizations
in each cluster

•	
•	

open government
community action

50
investments

P2P Sharing
40

30

Community
Organizing

Data Utility

20

Resident Feedback
Data Access &
Transparency

Information Crowdsourcing
Public Decision Making

10
Civic
Crowdfunding

1

2

3

Visualization &
Mapping

Voting

Neighborhood
Forums

4
Median Company Age

5

6

7
20

READING THE CHART

•	

Investment Concentration
within Clusters

open government

Neighborhood Forums is an example of
a civic tech cluster with a high level
of investment inequality where a single
firm has received the overwhelming
share of investment (Nextdoor = $40.2M).
Information Crowdsourcing and Peerto-Peer Sharing clusters have the most
unequal levels of investment, but
dominant firms in both areas are highly
focused on particular issue verticals
(e.g., Waze = transportation data, Airbnb =
housing).

Information
Crowdsourcing

.77

P2P Sharing

.76

Neighborhood
Forums

.75

Data Utility

.74

Data Access &
Transparency

.73

Community
Organizing

.72

Visualization &
Mapping

.70

Resident
Feedback

1	Investment inequality is based on the Gini coefficient,
which measures on a 0–1 scale the evenness of funding distribution across organizations within each cluster
(0.0 = perfectly even distribution, 1.0 = single firm
received entire share of funding)

.1

.2

.3

$9.8M

$16.5M

$15.0M

$0.3M

.42

0

$40.2M

$8.0M

.44

Voting

$118.6M

$6.5M

.66

Public Decision
Making

$30.0M

$2.0M

.67

Civic
Crowdfunding

community action

Highest Funded
Organizations

Investment Inequality 1

The analysis examined the distribution
of investments within each cluster to
highlight emerging market leaders and
competitive dynamics at play in each
area. The diagram ranks the “investment
inequality” of clusters by measuring
the extent to which a handful of organizations have secured a dominant share of
capital to the cluster.

•	

$1.7M

.4

.5

.6

.7
21

READING THE CHART

Cluster Characteristics
Cluster investment inequality can
be cross-analyzed with median
investment size by cluster to help
determine the competitive
dynamics and impressionability
of each cluster.

•	 Circle size
represents
the number of
organizations
in each cluster

.8

“Developed” clusters have a high
level of investment inequality
(i.e., market leaders attracting the
bulk of investment) and higher
average investments—these include
Peer-to-Peer Sharing and Neighborhood Forums.

open government
community action

Information
Crowdsourcing

Data Utility
P2P Sharing

Community
Organizing
Neighborhood
Forums

Visualization & Mapping

“Emerging” clusters of innovation
have lower investment inequality
and contain organizations that
attract smaller average investments—
these include Public Decision
Making, Civic Crowdfunding and
Voting.

•	
•	

Data Access &
Transparency

Civic Crowdfunding

Resident
Feedback

maturing
Median
Investment
Amount $15k
(log scale)

developed
$150k

emerging

$1.5 million

static

Public Decision
Making

Voting

.3
Investment
Inequality
(Gini coefficient)
22

This section examines:
types of capital

Investor
Analysis

What is the balance
between private and
philanthropic capital
supporting civic tech?
investors

Who is investing in
civic tech?
investor networks

How are civic tech
investors connected?
23

Types of Capital
The analysis examined the
balance of private and philanthropic investment attracted
by civic tech organizations from
January 2011 to May 2013.
While the number of grant
investments and private investments was relatively even,
the vast majority of total capital
supporting civic tech came
from private investments (84%).

177
Total
Investments

$431M
Total Investment
Dollars

Private
Investments
76

$364M

Grants
101

$67M
24

READING THE CHART

•	

Capital Mix by Cluster
The mix of philanthropic funding
and private investment from
January 2011 to May 2013 varied
greatly between the two themes.
Open Government innovation
clusters including Data Utility,
Data Access & Transparency, and
Resident Feedback are mostly
supported through grant funding.
Community Action clusters
including Peer-to-Peer Sharing,
Neighborhood Forums, Civic
Crowdfunding and Information
Crowdsourcing mostly
attracted private capital.

open government

Number of
Investments
20
Data
Utility

100% grants

Resident
Feedback
Data Access &
Transparency

40

100M
100% grants

91%

73%

Public Decision
Making

90%

98%

Visualization &
Mapping

75%

33%

Voting

75%

44%

P2P Sharing

1%

7%

Community
Organizing

59%

Information
Crowdsourcing
Neighborhood
Forums
Civic
Crowdfunding

79%

29%

50%

community action

Amount of
Investment ($)

6%

72%

•	

15%

14%

2%

3%

200M
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Civic Tech Investors

25

Civic Tech Directory
Index of organizations,
investors and investment data
Download

Four types of investors
are involved in supporting
civic tech projects—
foundations, financial
investors, corporate
investors and individual
(often angel) investors.
Investor types and investment count of
most frequent investors are based on data
from January 2011 to May 2013
1 Omidyar Network is designated as a
financial investor but operates as a
philanthropic investment firm that also
provides grant funding

Top Financial investors
(84 total)

(32 total)

Omidyar Network1

16 investments

SV Angel

7

Start Fund

39 43

Knight
6

MacArthur

5

Y Combinator

Hewlett

4

5

Rockefeller

Lerer Media Ventures

Points of Light

General Catalyst

Open Society

Benchmark Capital

Code for America

3

Andreessen Horowitz

Ford

2

4

Kauffman

2 Foundation investors may have contributed
multiple types of investments—grant
funding, program-related and missionrelated investments
	 Code for America and Points of Light are
included in this list stemming from funding
they provide through their civic accelerators

Top Foundation2 investors

Gates

Top Corporate investors

Top Individual investors

(21 total)

(101 total)

6 investments

Google
Dell
Zipcar

2
1

Ashton Kutcher
Sean Parker

3 investments
2

Guy Oseary

SXSW

Esther Dyson

Obvious

Aviv (Vivi) Nevo

Nelnet

Alexis Ohanian

Daimler

Peter Thiel

BMW

Marissa Mayer

Bennett Coleman

Jeff Bezos

Comcast

1
26

Investor Analysis

Community
Action

Financial investors and
individuals support a
large share of Community
Action investments.
Foundations account for
more than half of the
number of investments in
Open Government.

96

36

Open
Government
Individual investors

9

Foundations

10

55
113

Corporate

10

Financial

31

Count Of Investments By Investor Type
27

READING THE MAP

Investor Networks

•	 Each circle represents
a distinct investor

The analysis reviewed funder
relationships based on
instances where they coinvested in the same
civic tech organizations.
Venture capital and
angel investors are at the
center of the network
map, signaling they most
frequently co-invest
with others. Foundations
are largely peripheral
to the investor network,
rarely co-investing with
other types of investors.

•	 A larger circle indicates that the investor
has co-invested frequently with others

•	 Investors share a connection
when they have both co-invested
in the same company

individual

financial
Y Combinator
SV Angel
Rockefeller
Foundation

Ashton Kutcher
Knight
Crunchfund
Aviv (Vivi) Nevo
Omidyar

foundation

General Catalyst
Google
Network by Quid

corporate
28

This section examines:
strategic implications

Key
Takeaways

How might foundations
continue to influence
the growth of civic tech?
next steps

How can civic tech
funders and practitioners
build on the insights
from this initial analysis?
29

Strategic Implications
Key implications
Findings from this initial
analysis of civic tech
funding raise important
questions about opportunities and approaches
for investors, particularly
foundations, to advance
this emerging field.

1

3

How can Open Government
attract greater private capital?

How can philanthropy exert
influence beyond its investments?

Though the number of philanthropic
grants far outpaces private capital
investments (65 vs. 14), private capital
constitutes $21M of $75M invested
in open government. Examining the
characteristics of open government
organizations attracting private investment might help illuminate the
viability of market-based initiatives
in this space and be used to attract
more private capital.

Philanthropy can shape the civic
tech field in ways besides directly
investing in organizations, especially
in clusters where significant
private investment already exists.
For example, foundations may
achieve greater impact advancing
the growth of peer-to-peer
sharing economies by addressing
outdated regulations inhibiting
the growth of this sector rather than
supplying limited amounts of
grant funding to a handful of tech
organizations in the space.

2
How can philanthropy support new
“Tools for Democracy”?
Innovation clusters focused on civic
engagement and democratic participation—
Public Decision Making, Resident Feedback and Voting—are among the youngest
and least funded areas in the overall
landscape. At the same time, they appear
most ripe to be influenced through
further support based on the small average
investment size and lack of a dominant
market leader in each cluster.

4
How can funders increase coinvestment and collaboration?
Relatively little co-investment currently
occurs in the civic tech field, especially
between philanthropic institutions and
other types of investors. As more foundations pursue impact investing strategies, philanthropic funders could seek out
more opportunities to co-invest and
partner with other types of investors.
30

Next Steps
Key implications
This initial review was designed
to provide a clearer picture of overall
investment flows in civic tech,
including the distribution of investments across different clusters
of innovation and variances between
private and philanthropic support.
While the boundaries of civic tech
remain loosely defined, the analysis

demonstrates a growing level of
investment and activity in civic tech.
This report summarizes findings from
the analysis. Additionally, two related
resources exist for those interested in
exploring the underlying data about
civic tech organizations and investors.

Interactive data
visualization tool to
explore the data

Data directory of
organizations and investors
captured in the analysis

Explore

Download

Share Feedback and Suggestions
Help improve the analysis and build
a more robust data set of civic tech
organizations and investments. We will
update the report in 2014 and welcome
your recommendations for other organizations to include in the data.

Do you have any feedback?
Share your suggestions
with Jon Sotsky at the Knight
Foundation.

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Knight civic-tech

  • 1. The Emergence of Civic Tech: Investments in a Growing Field December 2013
  • 2. 2 About Authors At Knight Foundation, we strive to support informed and engaged communities. With the proliferation of technology in everyday life over the past decade, Knight has increasingly funded new technologies designed to improve the health and vitality of cities. Since 2010, Knight has invested more than $25 million in such projects, ranging from government data access platforms to new tools for community planning to online neighborhood forums. Knight embarked on an analysis earlier this year to examine clusters of innovation and investment within the field of civic tech. Rather than performing a run-of-the-mill landscape review with stakeholder interviews, we decided to experiment with a new set of research tools. We partnered with Quid, a firm that specializes in data analytics and network analysis, to map the field of civic tech through semantic analysis and private and philanthropic investment data. Over the past two years, we’ve witnessed through our work a groundswell of interest at the nexus of technology, civic innovation, open government and resident engagement. Though the terminology may vary, more and more funders, investors and practitioners have joined this emerging “civic tech” field. We began to wonder: How can practitioners supporting civic tech form stronger connections, and how can we gather better insights into the trends in the field? This report summarizes key findings and implications from the analysis. We hope this experiment will be valuable to those interested in the field of civic tech as well as organizations looking to advance the use of big data in the social sector. This study is a first foray into analyzing the civic tech landscape but is certainly not an exhaustive analysis. We look forward to continued partnerships with others to advance learning and practice in this field. Mayur Patel VP/Strategy and Assessment Knight Foundation Jon Sotsky Director/Strategy and Assessment Knight Foundation Sean Gourley Co-founder & CTO Quid Daniel Houghton Engagement Manager Quid
  • 3. 3 Contents overview Objectives & Approach mapping the field Themes & Trends innovation clusters Investment Activity & Distribution investor analysis Funding Sources & Types of Capital takeaways Strategic Implications & Next Steps
  • 4. 4 This section examines: objectives What are the main questions explored in the study? Overview definition What is “civic tech”? scope What types of organizations and investment are included in the analysis?
  • 5. ADDITIONAL RESOURCES Objectives Key implications Further analyze the data gathered through the review using these tools: Civic Tech Visualized Interactive website to explore the landscape of civic tech organizations The analysis was designed to address the following questions: • is being invested in civic tech projects? how much money • What are the different clusters of civic tech innovation? • How does investment vary across these clusters of innovation? • Which organizations are attracting the most investment? • who is investing • What is the in civic tech? balance of private and philanthropic investment? Explore Civic Tech Directory Index of organizations, investors and investment data Download 5
  • 6. 6 Civic Tech: A Convergence of Fields This review incorporates tech companies and projects from several fields of work. Only projects primarily focused on promoting civic outcomes were included. collaborative consumption Tools for procuring paid services from local vendors and sharing of corporate-owned assets government data Internal performance and analytics software Peer-to-peer sharing of resident-owned goods and services Public data access and transparency Funding for projects that enhance public services and spaces civic tech Social causes, civic engagement community organizing Political campaign management tools Place-based networks and community forums Virtual, professional or practicebased networks social networks crowd funding Funding for consumer and commercial products
  • 7. 7 Criteria for Inclusion This study focuses on organizations, including for-profit companies and nonprofits, that received funding between January 2011 and May 20131 to develop or scale civic technology. The review used a set of guidelines to determine which projects should be included. The resulting analysis provides a useful initial assessment, albeit not an exhaustive examination, of the emerging field of civic tech. • Organizations Startups, private companies and nonprofits are included. Events, loose affiliations and networks that are not legally registered entities are excluded. • Time Frame Organizations that received funding between January 2011 and May 2013 are included. Organizations that received funding prior to January 1, 2011, are largely excluded. • Investment Grants and investments made by foundations, corporations and private investors are included. Government and public funding for civic tech is excluded. In addition, an organization must receive funding from a third party, rather than just being financed through an organiza-tion’s internal budget. • Technology Organizations funded to support advocacy, research, events and other purposes related to civic tech but not directly tied to building tech-related projects are excluded. • Geography The study concentrates on U.S. investments in U.S.-based civic tech projects. Some international companies that achieved significant investment and/or press also included. 1 The analysis captures organizations that received funding during this period; some have subsequently closed operations or been acquired. Quid’s investment database captures funding dating back to Jan. 1, 2011. While the review captured a handful of projects that received funding prior to this date, those data are not as comprehensive as data analyzed from this point forward.
  • 8. 8 This section examines: approach How was the civic tech landscape mapped? Mapping the Field clusters What are different innovation clusters in the field? trends How has the field grown over time?
  • 9. READING THE MAP Approach to Mapping Civic Technology • Each node (circle) represents an organization • Connections between nodes (lines) form between organizations with similar functionality and/or purpose—thicker connections mean greater similarity • Nodes of similar companies cluster together; nodes of dissimilar companies repel each other and create spacing in the map The following steps were used to map the civic tech landscape: 1 Quid and Knight, in consultation with others in the field, seeded the analysis with a set of organizations viewed as core to civic tech innovation. 2 Key terms (e.g., “civic,” “open government,” “open data”) were used to examine media, press and investment data to generate additional organizations to include in the landscape. 3 Quid’s proprietary software generated a network map based on the level of similarity between the way organizations described the functionality and purpose of their technology. 4 Quid and Knight reviewed the resulting map and determined descriptors for different clusters of organizations that emerged from the analysis. Network by Quid Civic Tech Landscape Map 9
  • 10. READING THE MAP Landscape Themes: Open Government & Community Action In reviewing the network map, two top-level themes were identified in relation to the organizations included in the analysis. The network map was then color-coded to highlight these two themes. Open Government Projects focused on advancing government transparency, accessibility of government data and services, and civic involvement in democratic processes Community Action Projects 1 Network by Quid • Circle size represents the number of organizations in each cluster • Line thickness represents the number of connections between organizations in each cluster • • open government community action 10
  • 11. 11 READING THE MAP Innovation Clusters • Circle size represents the number of organizations in the cluster • Line thickness represents the number of connections between organizations in each cluster • • open government Within the two overarching themes, 11 clusters of civic tech innovation were identified: community action Open Government 1 Data Access & Transparency 1 2 Data Utility 5 9 3 Public Decision Making 4 Resident Feedback 4 2 5 Visualization & Mapping 6 Voting Community Action 10 11 7 Civic Crowdfunding 8 Community Organizing 8 3 7 9 Information Crowdsourcing 10 Neighborhood Forums 11 Peer-to-Peer Sharing 6 Network by Quid
  • 12. 12 Open Government Innovation Clusters cluster example organizations description Data Access & Transparency Promote government data availability, transparency and accountability Data Utility Empower users to analyze government data and leverage data to improve public service delivery Public Decision Making Encourage resident participation in large-scale deliberative democracy and community planning efforts Resident Feedback Provide residents with opportunities to interact with government officials and give feedback about public service delivery Visualization & Mapping Enable users to make sense of and gain actionable insight from civic data sources, specifically through the visualization and mapping of that information Voting Support voter participation and fair election processes
  • 13. 13 Community Action Innovation Clusters cluster example organizations description Civic Crowdfunding Suport local projects and organizations that generate a public benefit through peer-to-peer lending and crowdfunding Community Organizing Manage social campaigns and initiatives Information Crowdsourcing Collect data from a large number of individuals to inform and address civic issues Neighborhood Forums Power local groups of people to connect, share information and collaborate Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Sharing Promote resident-driven sharing of goods and services
  • 14. 14 Growth of Civic Tech The analysis of civic tech organizations launched each year since 2000 reveals consistent, high growth rates in the field. From 2008 to 2012, the field of civic tech grew at an annual rate of 23%. 2012 121 companies 2008 83 companies 2000 16 civic tech companies founded 2004 34 companies 2000–2004 2004–2008 2008–2012 21% 25% 23% compound annual growth rate (cagr) cagr cagr
  • 15. 15 READING THE CHART • Growth Trends by Cluster open government • community action 43 Peer-to-Peer Sharing Organizations Growth has varied across innovation clusters within civic tech, with Community Action clusters growing at a faster rate than those in Open Government. The fastest growth has been among organizations focused on Peer-to-Peer Sharing (36% annually from 2009 to 2012). 40 32 Community Organizing 30 20 18 Resident Feedback 16 Public Decision Making 16 Data Access & Transparency 15 Neighborhood Forums 14 Visualization & Mapping 12 Information Crowdsourcing 11 Data Utility 10 organizations 8 Voting 7 Civic Crowdfunding 2000 2005 Cumulative growth (in number of organizations) 2010 2012
  • 16. 16 This section examines: total investment How much money has been invested in civic tech projects? Innovation Clusters funding distribution How has investment varied across different themes and innovation clusters in the landscape? cluster characteristics What are the primary characteristics of the organizations in each innovation cluster?
  • 17. 17 Total Investment Summary 209 102 civic tech projects identified in the civic tech landscape of the 209 organizations received investment from Jan 2011 to May 2013 $431M 237 177 invested in these civic tech organizations different investors provided funding to civic tech organizations investments made in civic tech organizations1 1 Instances where multiple investors participated in the same funding round are counted as a single investment
  • 18. 18 READING THE CHART • Funding Distribution The analysis reviewed the number of investments and amount invested in each innovation cluster from January 2011 to May 2013. Peer-to-Peer Sharing attracted the vast majority of total investment in the landscape (close to $240M), followed by three clusters that each received close to $40M: Neighborhood Forums, Community Organizing and Information Crowdsourcing. Number1 of Investments 20 Resident Feedback 40 20 Data Utility 100M $15M $37M 15 Public Decision Making $600K 10 Visualization & Mapping 8 $3M 8 $4M Peer-to-Peer Sharing2 29 Information Crowdsourcing $38M 14 Neighborhood Forums Civic Crowdfunding $234M 42 Community Organizing 2 Peer-to-Peer Sharing includes a $119M round for Airbnb 200M $16M 18 Data Access & Transparency community action Amount of Investment ($) Voting 1 Includes grants and private investments from 1 Jan 2011 to 31 May 2013 • open government $35M 7 6 $41M $8M
  • 19. 19 READING THE CHART Innovation Cluster Maturity The analysis examined the median age of organizations in each civic tech cluster. Compared to the tech industry as a whole, civic tech organizations are relatively young. Civic Crowdfunding projects have a median age of just two years, while the average age of organizations in the most mature clusters—Voting, Public Decision Making and Visualization & Mapping— was five to seven years. • Circle size represents the number of organizations in each cluster • • open government community action 50 investments P2P Sharing 40 30 Community Organizing Data Utility 20 Resident Feedback Data Access & Transparency Information Crowdsourcing Public Decision Making 10 Civic Crowdfunding 1 2 3 Visualization & Mapping Voting Neighborhood Forums 4 Median Company Age 5 6 7
  • 20. 20 READING THE CHART • Investment Concentration within Clusters open government Neighborhood Forums is an example of a civic tech cluster with a high level of investment inequality where a single firm has received the overwhelming share of investment (Nextdoor = $40.2M). Information Crowdsourcing and Peerto-Peer Sharing clusters have the most unequal levels of investment, but dominant firms in both areas are highly focused on particular issue verticals (e.g., Waze = transportation data, Airbnb = housing). Information Crowdsourcing .77 P2P Sharing .76 Neighborhood Forums .75 Data Utility .74 Data Access & Transparency .73 Community Organizing .72 Visualization & Mapping .70 Resident Feedback 1 Investment inequality is based on the Gini coefficient, which measures on a 0–1 scale the evenness of funding distribution across organizations within each cluster (0.0 = perfectly even distribution, 1.0 = single firm received entire share of funding) .1 .2 .3 $9.8M $16.5M $15.0M $0.3M .42 0 $40.2M $8.0M .44 Voting $118.6M $6.5M .66 Public Decision Making $30.0M $2.0M .67 Civic Crowdfunding community action Highest Funded Organizations Investment Inequality 1 The analysis examined the distribution of investments within each cluster to highlight emerging market leaders and competitive dynamics at play in each area. The diagram ranks the “investment inequality” of clusters by measuring the extent to which a handful of organizations have secured a dominant share of capital to the cluster. • $1.7M .4 .5 .6 .7
  • 21. 21 READING THE CHART Cluster Characteristics Cluster investment inequality can be cross-analyzed with median investment size by cluster to help determine the competitive dynamics and impressionability of each cluster. • Circle size represents the number of organizations in each cluster .8 “Developed” clusters have a high level of investment inequality (i.e., market leaders attracting the bulk of investment) and higher average investments—these include Peer-to-Peer Sharing and Neighborhood Forums. open government community action Information Crowdsourcing Data Utility P2P Sharing Community Organizing Neighborhood Forums Visualization & Mapping “Emerging” clusters of innovation have lower investment inequality and contain organizations that attract smaller average investments— these include Public Decision Making, Civic Crowdfunding and Voting. • • Data Access & Transparency Civic Crowdfunding Resident Feedback maturing Median Investment Amount $15k (log scale) developed $150k emerging $1.5 million static Public Decision Making Voting .3 Investment Inequality (Gini coefficient)
  • 22. 22 This section examines: types of capital Investor Analysis What is the balance between private and philanthropic capital supporting civic tech? investors Who is investing in civic tech? investor networks How are civic tech investors connected?
  • 23. 23 Types of Capital The analysis examined the balance of private and philanthropic investment attracted by civic tech organizations from January 2011 to May 2013. While the number of grant investments and private investments was relatively even, the vast majority of total capital supporting civic tech came from private investments (84%). 177 Total Investments $431M Total Investment Dollars Private Investments 76 $364M Grants 101 $67M
  • 24. 24 READING THE CHART • Capital Mix by Cluster The mix of philanthropic funding and private investment from January 2011 to May 2013 varied greatly between the two themes. Open Government innovation clusters including Data Utility, Data Access & Transparency, and Resident Feedback are mostly supported through grant funding. Community Action clusters including Peer-to-Peer Sharing, Neighborhood Forums, Civic Crowdfunding and Information Crowdsourcing mostly attracted private capital. open government Number of Investments 20 Data Utility 100% grants Resident Feedback Data Access & Transparency 40 100M 100% grants 91% 73% Public Decision Making 90% 98% Visualization & Mapping 75% 33% Voting 75% 44% P2P Sharing 1% 7% Community Organizing 59% Information Crowdsourcing Neighborhood Forums Civic Crowdfunding 79% 29% 50% community action Amount of Investment ($) 6% 72% • 15% 14% 2% 3% 200M
  • 25. ADDITIONAL RESOURCES Civic Tech Investors 25 Civic Tech Directory Index of organizations, investors and investment data Download Four types of investors are involved in supporting civic tech projects— foundations, financial investors, corporate investors and individual (often angel) investors. Investor types and investment count of most frequent investors are based on data from January 2011 to May 2013 1 Omidyar Network is designated as a financial investor but operates as a philanthropic investment firm that also provides grant funding Top Financial investors (84 total) (32 total) Omidyar Network1 16 investments SV Angel 7 Start Fund 39 43 Knight 6 MacArthur 5 Y Combinator Hewlett 4 5 Rockefeller Lerer Media Ventures Points of Light General Catalyst Open Society Benchmark Capital Code for America 3 Andreessen Horowitz Ford 2 4 Kauffman 2 Foundation investors may have contributed multiple types of investments—grant funding, program-related and missionrelated investments Code for America and Points of Light are included in this list stemming from funding they provide through their civic accelerators Top Foundation2 investors Gates Top Corporate investors Top Individual investors (21 total) (101 total) 6 investments Google Dell Zipcar 2 1 Ashton Kutcher Sean Parker 3 investments 2 Guy Oseary SXSW Esther Dyson Obvious Aviv (Vivi) Nevo Nelnet Alexis Ohanian Daimler Peter Thiel BMW Marissa Mayer Bennett Coleman Jeff Bezos Comcast 1
  • 26. 26 Investor Analysis Community Action Financial investors and individuals support a large share of Community Action investments. Foundations account for more than half of the number of investments in Open Government. 96 36 Open Government Individual investors 9 Foundations 10 55 113 Corporate 10 Financial 31 Count Of Investments By Investor Type
  • 27. 27 READING THE MAP Investor Networks • Each circle represents a distinct investor The analysis reviewed funder relationships based on instances where they coinvested in the same civic tech organizations. Venture capital and angel investors are at the center of the network map, signaling they most frequently co-invest with others. Foundations are largely peripheral to the investor network, rarely co-investing with other types of investors. • A larger circle indicates that the investor has co-invested frequently with others • Investors share a connection when they have both co-invested in the same company individual financial Y Combinator SV Angel Rockefeller Foundation Ashton Kutcher Knight Crunchfund Aviv (Vivi) Nevo Omidyar foundation General Catalyst Google Network by Quid corporate
  • 28. 28 This section examines: strategic implications Key Takeaways How might foundations continue to influence the growth of civic tech? next steps How can civic tech funders and practitioners build on the insights from this initial analysis?
  • 29. 29 Strategic Implications Key implications Findings from this initial analysis of civic tech funding raise important questions about opportunities and approaches for investors, particularly foundations, to advance this emerging field. 1 3 How can Open Government attract greater private capital? How can philanthropy exert influence beyond its investments? Though the number of philanthropic grants far outpaces private capital investments (65 vs. 14), private capital constitutes $21M of $75M invested in open government. Examining the characteristics of open government organizations attracting private investment might help illuminate the viability of market-based initiatives in this space and be used to attract more private capital. Philanthropy can shape the civic tech field in ways besides directly investing in organizations, especially in clusters where significant private investment already exists. For example, foundations may achieve greater impact advancing the growth of peer-to-peer sharing economies by addressing outdated regulations inhibiting the growth of this sector rather than supplying limited amounts of grant funding to a handful of tech organizations in the space. 2 How can philanthropy support new “Tools for Democracy”? Innovation clusters focused on civic engagement and democratic participation— Public Decision Making, Resident Feedback and Voting—are among the youngest and least funded areas in the overall landscape. At the same time, they appear most ripe to be influenced through further support based on the small average investment size and lack of a dominant market leader in each cluster. 4 How can funders increase coinvestment and collaboration? Relatively little co-investment currently occurs in the civic tech field, especially between philanthropic institutions and other types of investors. As more foundations pursue impact investing strategies, philanthropic funders could seek out more opportunities to co-invest and partner with other types of investors.
  • 30. 30 Next Steps Key implications This initial review was designed to provide a clearer picture of overall investment flows in civic tech, including the distribution of investments across different clusters of innovation and variances between private and philanthropic support. While the boundaries of civic tech remain loosely defined, the analysis demonstrates a growing level of investment and activity in civic tech. This report summarizes findings from the analysis. Additionally, two related resources exist for those interested in exploring the underlying data about civic tech organizations and investors. Interactive data visualization tool to explore the data Data directory of organizations and investors captured in the analysis Explore Download Share Feedback and Suggestions Help improve the analysis and build a more robust data set of civic tech organizations and investments. We will update the report in 2014 and welcome your recommendations for other organizations to include in the data. Do you have any feedback? Share your suggestions with Jon Sotsky at the Knight Foundation.