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Forerunner wins State & Local GovTech Prize from CivStart through U.S. Census TOP Sprint

Forerunner to receive expert support and resources through CivStart Accelerator as award

WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 9, 2022) - CivStart has awarded Forerunner with their State & Local Govtech Prize through the U.S. Census Bureau’s The Opportunity Project (TOP). Forerunner’s unique floodplain management technology will receive expert consulting and resources from CivStart, which cultivates emerging technologies that can assist local government leaders in better serving their residents, businesses, and communities.

The Census TOP program is an innovation program led by Census Open Innovation Labs (COIL) at the US Census Bureau that was founded in 2016 and is now scaling across federal and local governments. TOP ​brings together technologists, government, and communities to rapidly prototype digital products using federal open data. In 2021, COIL launched the Open Data for Good Grand Challenge in partnership with HHS, NOAA, EPA, the State Department, Earth Day Network, Orange Sparkle Ball, and CivStart. The Challenge awarded more than $300,000 and non-monetary prizes to teams that participated in TOP or leveraged the spirit of the TOP model to create digital products with federal open data.

Sarah Nicoll, CivStart Co-Founder and CSO, issued the following statement ahead of the announcement:

“The issue Forerunner is tackling is important to so many communities across the U.S. We were impressed that they already have a proven track record of working with governments that is clearly effective for allowing governments to be more efficient in how they handle flood compliance while also making it easier for residents to be prepared.” Nicoll added, “What really stood out to us the most was their ability to truly listen to client needs and creatively address those needs while still keeping the whole system user friendly. This thoughtfulness and nimbleness is an invaluable quality in the govtech space. We look forward to helping this product expand and seeing communities benefit as a result.”

Susanna Pho, Co-Founder and COO at Forerunner announced:

“We’re grateful to receive this generous prize of consulting services through the Open Data for Good Grand Challenge from CivStart and appreciate the organization’s contribution to furthering the adoption of capacity-building technology in local governments. Our team is looking forward to engaging with CivStart’s network of govtech experts, like-minded start-ups, and governments to identify additional ways in which we can further support the important work of our partner communities.”

For more information on Forerunner, visit their website at For more information on the startups participating in CivStart’s Accelerator program, the local government leaders bringing affordable and innovative solutions to their communities, and more, please visit

To schedule interviews or for other follow-up: Nick Lyell at or (608) 234.2166. Susanna Pho at or (510) 880.1584.

About CivStart

CivStart is the only accelerator that focuses on the state and local government market.

We have built an ecosystem of innovative and affordable startup solutions, govtech experts, and public sector leaders focused on how the latest technologies can meet the needs of their communities. Our mission is to build an honest and inclusive ecosystem of solutions that serve local governments and their communities. We do this in three broad ways: The CivStart Accelerator; Government Innovation Programs, and Thought Leadership. Learn more about each of these at

About Forerunner

Forerunner is the floodplain management platform for resilient communities. Our web-based software is built for governments of all sizes and delivers actionable, property-level flood risk information to users. We currently work with over 35 communities across the U.S., including Harris County (TX), Jefferson Parish (LA), and Ocean City (NJ). These communities use Forerunner to streamline compliance workflows as well as to conduct outreach around mitigation and adaptation. Learn more at

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