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  • Writer's pictureCivStart


CivStart has chosen thirteen startup companies to join its accelerator program focused on providing local governments with affordable and innovative solutions to their biggest challenges.

WASHINGTON, DC, September 15, 2021 – CivStart, a non-profit with a mission to build an honest and inclusive ecosystem of solutions serving local governments and their communities, just announced the thirteen startup companies participating in their annual Govtech Accelerator Program. The cohort was selected after an intensive vetting and selection process involving CivStart’s selection committee of current and former public and private-sector leaders.

CivStart’s program is a comprehensive approach to supporting a diverse set of entrepreneurs by providing them with the knowledge and resources to grow their solutions to better serve local governments and their communities. In line with our inclusive mission, eight of the thirteen companies have underrepresented — women & minority — founders, and all of the startups’ solutions are aimed at building more equitable and inclusive communities.

“We are very proud to bring on this incredible cohort of startups into our GovTech Accelerator Program,” Anthony Jamison, CEO of CivStart, said in a statement, “Our network of public officials keep us informed on their top issues, and we are proud to say that this cohort is meeting some of the most difficult challenges facing state and local governments. Whether it's improving public engagement or digital workflows during a pandemic, rethinking 911, or increasing employment and building up a more equitable economy at a local level, this is a very impressive array of solutions for state and local governments.”

"We are proud to say that this cohort is meeting some of the most difficult challenges facing state and local governments."

“Covid-19 and unemployment are at alarming numbers in marginalized communities. People with barriers to employment may be left out again as we try to bring our country back better than before. Local Governments are the leaders that can bring cities together to connect un(der)employed residents to jobs, training programs, and supportive services,” Dominique Wilson, Co-Founder of RiseKit, explained.

"Local Governments are the leaders that can bring cities together to connect un(der)employed residents to jobs, training programs, and supportive services"

“We are thrilled to partner with CivStart in connecting to state and local governments to help supercharge state-wide reuse programs and scale a circular economy,” Dr. Gary Cooper, Founder & CEO of Rheaply stated.

“With CivStart’s wide network we will be able to scale more quickly, raise product awareness and provide these valuable services to more communities around the country,” Ian Hamilton, Co-Founder & CEO of TruTriage, added.

This cohort of thirteen startups joins an existing 24 govtech startups in the CivStart Accelerator’s portfolio. The startups will be matched with mentors from CivStart’s Mentor Network, learn from experts across the govtech sector, receive unique access to support from established companies like Amazon Web Services (AWS), and get opportunities to present to, and learn from, the experience of public-sector leaders.

About CivStart

CivStart believes solving society’s biggest problems starts at the local level. Our mission is to build an honest and inclusive ecosystem of solutions that serve local governments and their communities. We guide and accelerate the adoption of cutting-edge technology solutions at the local level by connecting governments, startup companies, and corporate partners to steward good ideas and address the needs of local communities through a technology lens. We accomplish our mission in three broad ways: The Govtech Accelerator Program, Government Innovation Programs, and Thought Leadership. Learn more at


Nick Lyell | Chief Impact Officer, CivStart

(608) 234.2166

CivStart 2021 Startup Cohort

Read more about our current and former startups at

Emgage - Provides a powerful yet simple application platform that helps cities and counties automate their onboarding processes for vendors, employees, homeless services and constituent services.

Harout Katerjian, CEO - With 20+ years in enterprise and gov software development with orgs like IBM, US Airforce, Department of Education. A serial entrepreneur with over $18M raised.

FAIRTIQ - FAIRTIQ is a mobile ticketing application for transit based on check in, check out.

Dr. Gian-Mattia Schucan, Founder & CEO - Originally a physicist, Gian-Mattia Schucan has become an expert in transit ticketing. After completing his PhD at Oxford, he joined McKinsey & Co as an engagement manager. As a consultant he entered the field of public transit, that soon became a passion. Three years later he joined SBB, the Swiss Federal Railways, where he first served as a Head of Alliances and then for over five years as Head of Distribution and Services in the passenger division. In this role, he was responsible for SBB’s ticketing & retail network, with over 2,000 employees. In 2013, Gian-Mattia left SBB to establish his own consulting business that formed the foundation of FAIRTIQ in 2016. The company became the market leader in smart mobile ticketing in just two years. FAIRTIQ has been awarded numerous prizes, including the 2019 UITP Awards and the prestigious “Swiss Economic Award”.

GovSolver - We deliver benefits administration solutions and services public sector organizations need for today and tomorrow, transforming the annual enrollment experience into a year-round personalized journey.

Jon Shanahan, Founder, President, and CEO - Prior to founding Businessolver, Jon was vice president of consulting services at Holmes Murphy & Associates (HMA), a leading national insurance agency. Prior to his time at HMA, Jon was director of operations for a leading healthcare organization (HHS Inc., which was acquired by Gentiva Health Services Inc.) in Iowa. Jon’s educational background includes undergraduate studies in psychology and business at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, as well as graduate studies in industrial relations at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. In addition, he has also obtained a certificate in human resources-related law through Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, and the PHR designation from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), and is a licensed health and life producer.

JusticeText - JusticeText is a web platform that improves criminal justice outcomes for low-income Americans by expediting the review of body camera footage, interrogation videos, and other crucial audiovisual discovery.

Devshi Mehrotra, Founder & CEO - Devshi Mehrotra is the CEO and co-founder of JusticeText, an antiracist technology startup that helps public defenders identify crucial insights from body-camera footage and hold law enforcement accountable. She received her BS/MS in computer science from the University of Chicago and her MS in global affairs from Tsinghua University through the post-graduate Schwarzman Scholars fellowship. During her time in college, she was recognized by the Obama Foundation for her contributions to advancing gender and racial equality in STEM education across Chicago. Devshi has additionally led applied machine learning projects at Google Brain, Microsoft Research, Peking University, and Stanford Law. Her work at the intersection of tech and social good has led her to be recognized as a Forbes 30 Under 30 social entrepreneur, Westly Prize finalist, and Camelback Fellow.

Konveio - a contextual feedback platform that empowers city staff to better convey detailed information and collect constructive, concise and easy-to-manage input from stakeholders.

Chris Haller, Founder & CEO - Chris Haller is a civic tech entrepreneur and the founder and CEO of Konveio, a contextual feedback platform for government projects. For over 15 years, Chris Haller has been a leader in the digital citizen engagement space. He’s known for his work as the founder of Urban Interactive Studio, where he and his team created some of the trailblazing apps to collect stakeholder input online. He also created an online magazine to share best practices, news, and case studies around citizen-centered governance called EngagingCities. He holds a masters degree in urban planning from TU Berlin, Germany and is raising two sons with his wife in Denver, CO

ProofGov - Proof empowers governments to go paperless by streamlining approvals, digitizing forms, signing with a single-click, and improving data-driven decisions - all in one central software platform designed specifically for government.

Ben Sanders, Co-Founder & CEO - In high school, Ben job-shadowed his mayor and governor, then worked as a Page in the Canadian House of Representatives and even ran for Congress up North. He's also a 3-time tech founder having helped grow (digital menus in every Applebee's) and (world's largest ecommerce investor). Proof brings those passions (Gov + Tech) together in a powerful way.

RiseKit - RiseKit helps local government agencies who want to lift families out of poverty and strengthen communities by making it easier for people from under-resources communities to discover, access, and realize the value of government investment and services in workforce system.

Matt Strauss, Co-Founder & CEO - Matt left the venture capital world to pursue his passion for solving social problems. Matt discovered this passion from volunteering where he was asked to mentor a handful of young people. While trying to connect his mentees to jobs and resources, Matt ultimately met with over 1,000 public and private sector leaders across his favorite city, Chicago. He hit a moment of volunteer and activism fatigue when he realized he couldn't mentor more Chicagoans. That's when he went on to create RiseKit.

Rheaply - Rheaply is the technology for connecting organizations with resources and catalyzing the circular economy. As the only market solution that combines an asset management system with an online marketplace, Rheaply’s Asset Exchange Manager (AxM)TM enables organizations to manage and transact physical assets more effectively, eliminating unnecessary waste and spend.

Dr Garry Cooper, Co-founder and CEO - He also serves on the boards of directors of P33 Chicago and 1871, the faculty of Northwestern University, and the investor team at LongJump Ventures, of which he is a founding partner. Previously, Dr. Cooper facilitated supply chain and performance improvement for enterprise businesses at Ernst &Young. As a result of his work, Dr. Cooper has received recognition on the Forbes Next 1000, Chicago magazine’s The New Power 30, and Crain’s 40 Under 40 lists, and as a Scholar at Google for Entrepreneurs. Dr. Cooper has published in high-impact, peer-reviewed international journals and holds a U.S. patent. He holds a PhD in neuroscience from Northwestern University, a certificate in management from the Kellogg School of Management, and a BS & BA in mathematics and chemistry from Indiana University.

Socialwyze - Socialwyze is a mobile app that helps governments and donors pay unemployed people to perform public benefit work.

Cody Merill, Founder & CEO - After serving as VP of Strategy at a medical laboratory software startup (New Orleans and San Francisco) and COO of a remote medicine startup (Dallas), he founded Socialwyze to simultaneously scale solutions to poverty, hunger, and climate change. He leads the team on strategy and key relationships while actively participating in product, finance, and business development initiatives. He relentlessly pursued the Socialwyze vision part time (1.5 years) and full time (1.5 years) before receiving funding from Mark Cuban and others in July 2020 and the Entrepreneur-In-Residence title from Trammell Crow’s Socialwyze is his life’s work, and he will NEVER give up on his dream of helping people out of poverty through the dignity of work.

Third Estate Analytics - Third Estate's algorithms and workflows help governments, NGOs, and others address neighborhood inequity (especially real estate valuation) through data informed, streamlined action.

Joseph Greco Trapp, Esq., Co-Founder and CEO - Graduating summa cum laude in 2016 from the University at Buffalo School of Law with a concentration in Finance and Development, Joe focused his studies on community and economic development, as well as disruptive financial technologies. While in law school, he clerked for United States Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of General Counsel and received a fellowship from the New York State Association for Affordable Housing for his work on community development using a specialized homeownership and debt forgiveness method inclusive of revenue optimization for municipalities.

Lily Keane, Co-Founder and CTO - As one of the early employees at EverQuote, Lily helped them gain traction in the insurance field. Deciding to put startup life on hold, she pursued completive rowing in an elite program focused on the Olympics. Upon returning to startup life, Lily took up the mantle as CTO of Third Estate Analytics and has helped make community data more accessible and understandable to those who wish to make a positive change in the world. Her focus, honed at the highest level of athletics, is apparent every day as she tackles the ever changing problems that arise when working with the chaos that is municipal data.

TruTriage - ​TruTriage offers a remote video-enabled nurse triage solution to 911 centers delivering solutions to reduce cost and ER overflow in small to medium-sized communities.

Ian Hamilton, Co-Founder & CEO - holds a Master’s of Business Administration from American University and a Bachelor’s of Science in Microbiology from The Pennsylvania State University. Has almost a decade of Sales Experience with increasing responsibility.

Brad Lieberman, Co-Founder & COO - has been in EMS and emergency healthcare for over 15 years and holds a Master's of Science in Nursing with a concentration in care coordination from Columbia University and a Juris Doctorate from Pace University specializing in small business law.

UpSquad - UpSquad is a custom community management and integrated events platform to efficiently manage programs and measure impact with data insights all in one place.

Derrick Reives, Co-Founder & CEO - obtained his master’s degree from MIT and has 20+ years of international Technology Product Management leadership – software, websites, mobile apps, hardware from Boston to Texas to Memphis.

Viva Translate - Organizations use Viva Translate’s web-based platform and clients use their own phones for effortlessly translated conversations.

Belinda Mo, Co-Founder & CEO - Engineering at Stanford, Design at Stanford's Legal Design Lab, Software engineering at Google. Passionate about immigrant rights, writing, and social impact.

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