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Cloud Driven Solutions' (C.D.S.) CivStart Story

A product-focused founder gained valuable networking skills and key connections within the industry

The Challenge

C.D.S. was product-focused and needed to master the art of networking, both among local governments and within the broader civic tech community.


January 29, 2024

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The Project

C.D.S. joined the CivStart Accelerator. By the second year, armed with newfound confidence, the entrepreneur was not just navigating but thriving, thanks to the mentorships and key connections facilitated by CivStart.

Key Takeaways

  • Rapid Growth: AJ experienced both significant personal and startup growth. Learning how to network as a founder and rapidly scaling his solution as a result.

  • Crucial Mentorships: Mentorships played a crucial role in leveraging the knowledge of seasoned individuals, contributing to a complete pivot and explosive growth of the startup.

  • Networking Catalyst: In the first year, the experience at the State of GovTech was a bit overwhelming, but AJ was determined to learn and adapt. CivStart served as a catalyst for forming essential connections, leading to conversations about formal partnerships and major collaborations.

  • Confidence Boost: The experience helped transform a self-described "A/V nerd" into a startup leader, bridging the gap between industry professionals and local government representatives.

"If you build the perfect product but you aren’t telling anyone about it, it’s not going to help anyone."

AJ Thompson, Founder, Cloud Driven Solutions (C.D.S.)

Cloud Driven Solutions (C.D.S.)

Cloud Driven Solutions (C.D.S.) is redefining local government meeting management through agile functionality, vendor interconnectivity, and modern design. Learn more at

The Project in Detail

In the early stages, AJ, a self-described A/V nerd, embarked on the journey with CivStart to learn networking within local governments and the broader industry. The experience at the State of GovTech events marked a significant shift from feeling overwhelmed to confidently engaging with industry professionals and government representatives.

Mentorships played a pivotal role. These interactions not only provided guidance but also became an opportunity for AJ to share ideas and workshop strategies. The mentors, having walked a similar path, helped navigate challenges, including imposter syndrome, and validated crucial business strategies.

The connections formed through CivStart extended beyond mentorships. Engagements with founders from Kaizen and many other startups in CivStart's cohorts , conversations about formal partnerships, and valuable connections like e.republic underscored CivStart's network's density and effectiveness.

The success story goes beyond personal growth; it encompasses the startup's complete pivot, inspired by the entrepreneur's exposure to industry insights and feedback at CivStart events. GovTalks, a regular Accelerator webinar where startups get to hear first-hand from local government officials in a casual conversation, served as an inspiration for making personal connections to local officials. Other webinars inspired strategic partnerships, such as a benefit offered by CivStart in conjunction with the legal offices of Wilson-Sonsini to guide C.D.S.'s C-corp conversion, highlighted the tangible outcomes of CivStart's impact.

As the entrepreneur's journey continues, the lessons learned and connections made through CivStart lay the foundation for ongoing success and growth. This, along with our other Startup Stories serves as a testament to CivStart's role in shaping the future of civic innovation and entrepreneurship.


Graduated Government Leaders from CivStart's Innovation Programs


Tech for Gov Newsletter subscribers


Venture Capital raised for startups in our Accelerator


Years of Government Innovation Programs


Startups in CivStart's portfolio


Mentor Network Participants


Attendees at CivStart events


BIPOC + Women Founders


Media Mentions

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