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Collective Liberty's Startup Story

Collective Liberty makes a mission-driven impact with CivStart's support

The Challenge

Date: 

September 1, 2022

Tagged: 

Collective Liberty, a mission-driven govtech nonprofit, needed education on government contracting and go-to-market support in order to make a larger impact.

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The Project

Collective Liberty joined CivStart’s Accelerator. Through CivStart, Collective Liberty refined its approach, learned to pursue local government contracts, shifted its business model, and established key connections for strategic partnerships.

Key Takeaways

  • Government Contract Education: CivStart's unique emphasis on government contract education provided invaluable knowledge, setting CivStart apart from other accelerators.

  • Paid Partnerships/Collaboration: CivStart guided Collective Liberty in mapping out and pursuing revenue strategies beyond competitive grant processes, such as more local partnerships and collaborations with other companies.

  • Business Model Innovation: CivStart played a crucial role in reshaping Collective Liberty's business model. The focus shifted to selling data to aggregators, utilizing APIs for data sales, and creating a sustainable revenue stream.

CivStart’s program helped better understand what we had and the value of what we had.

Rochelle Keyhan, Founder & CEO, Collective Liberty

Collective Liberty

Collective Liberty's innovative technologies produce efficient insights needed by law enforcement and other agencies to prosecute human traffickers and help protect and liberate survivors. Learn more at collectiveliberty.org

The Project in Detail

In 2021, Rochelle of Collective Liberty entered the CivStart Accelerator, having just closed her second significant government project. CivStart's guidance on mapping out and pursuing local grants and contracts, coupled with connections to national associations, became instrumental in reformulating the organization's strategy. Learning and practicing effective pitching and sales strategies with CivStart staff was key to expanding their reach. CivStart's support focused on government contract education, local grant pursuit, business model innovation, and strategic partnerships.

One significant leadership lesson Rochelle learned was that as a non-tech CEO, she didn't have to manage the technical components herself. CivStart supported her in finding resources and partners for tech implementation.


CivStart also played a pivotal role in reshaping Collective Liberty's business model. While the product design remained constant, the business model underwent significant changes, including thinking outside the box about selling certain data and exploring APIs for data sales. CivStart's guidance enabled Rochelle to see the value in their product and generate revenue to sustain their social good work.


Collective Liberty's aspiration to expand their work with a statewide criminal justice system was supported by CivStart's connections to AWS’ govtech and public safety sales team. Although Collective Liberty wasn't ready for that scope at the time, the experience laid the groundwork for future endeavors.


Finally, meeting fellow govtech-specific founders during the program was invaluable. The tailored focus on govtech with other startups, a unique aspect of CivStart, provided a supportive environment that was lacking in other accelerators.

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.

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