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How COVID has Shown us the Best in our Civic-Minded Startup Community

If there is a silver lining to the COVID crisis, it's that this unprecedented challenge has brought out the best in our public service-minded startups.


Bigger companies have reliable revenue and cash reserves, and many of them have also been hit hard by this crisis, but our 2019 startup cohort is made up of companies often running on short burn rates, high-demand growth targets, and rapid scaling to get to revenue-positive territory. All the more impressive, we think, that they have stepped up to help state and local governments, essential workers, and communities across the country in the wake of this crisis on a pro-bono basis.


Here are some of the ways that our startups are bringing their expertise, software, and resources to bear in the fight against the coronavirus:


ProcureNow is offering an intuitive electronic sourcing and evaluation module, free of charge to all agencies who need it.


GovInvest is offering free individual Pension, OPEB and Labor consultations to help public agencies model scenarios and communicate the impacts COVID-19 has on budgets and workforce.


Work from home and social distancing make CityGrows an essential digital software tool to help governments meet their permitting and other commitments as they transition from paper-, PDF- and in-person processes to digital services.


Civis Analytics is providing free access to their national-level polling and message testing to improve your rollout of mitigation efforts and better understand the concerns and behaviors of your residents.


With residents staying home and public meetings curtailed, Citibot provides a free, multi-lingual text/SMS platform for two-way communications between localities and their residents.


Some in-person meetings are necessary to fight the spread of COVID and treat those with illness. Whyline is a virtual queuing solution for any essential services, including new COVID-19 testing sites and hospitals, where you can include in-app screening, use AI to help control foot traffic, and avoid over-congestion and unnecessary onsite waiting.


With Orbital Insight, governments can monitor current and historical foot traffic at specific sites to quantify the impact of social distancing initiatives, capacity at healthcare and critical infrastructure, and activity in commercial districts.


Government, communities, and businesses are all going to face immense struggles as we all move through this crisis and the economic impacts that are sure to follow. We can’t pretend that this hasn’t hurt the revenue of some of these young companies, but they understand that being a partner of state and local government is about more than just procurement revenue in the good times, it’s about being there for the communities. CivStart is proud to support such civic-minded startups.


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