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Qwally's Startup Story

A journey from startup to scale with CivStart's support

The Challenge

Date: 

September 1, 2022

Tagged: 

Qwally, a small startup, faced the challenge of establishing itself in the competitive GovTech space, navigating contracts, and finding opportunities for growth.

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The Project

Qwally joined the CivStart Accelerator. Over the next two years, they went from one to 10 customers, 10X-ing their ARR along the way and hiring two additional staff.

Key Takeaways

Financial Growth: Achieved remarkable financial growth, with Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR) increasing from $30k to $430k, representing a tenfold increase.

Client Expansion: Successfully onboarded ten customers, expanding their reach and impact in the GovTech space.

Pilot Contracts: Secured pivotal pilot contracts with Manor, Rochester, and Wichita with CivStart’s support, exposing Qwally to new opportunities and partnerships.

CivStart Facilitation: CivStart played a crucial role in facilitating awareness of opportunities, both directly and indirectly, through partners, mentors, and community engagement.

"There are lots of little ways CivStart helps facilitate awareness of opportunities, directly and indirectly, and that’s super advantageous."

Chris Offensend, CEO & Co-Founder, Qwally

Qwally

Qwally provides the tools and insights for governments to break down barriers for local businesses. Learn more at qwal.ly

The Project in Detail

Qwally joined CivStart with good early traction. Chirs, CEO & Co-Founder of Qwally, had developed a pilot into a full contract in Mobile, AL and had landed a pilot in Kansas City, MO. With a modest team of three and a bit of funding, they navigated the challenges of establishing a foothold in the GovTech space. Importantly, these early wins provided validation for their innovative solution.


Pivotal to Qwally's growth were opportunities created by CivStart that led to pilot contracts with Manor, TX, Rochester, NY, and Wichita, KS. These contracts not only expanded their client base but also exposed them to other regional local governments and validated their model for future funding rounds. CivStart's support, whether through direct connections or secondary introductions via partners and mentors, played a vital role in broadening Qwally's horizons.


Connecting with other founders within the CivStart network also proved valuable. Learning best practices, navigating the unique challenges of the GovTech space, and sharing experiences with peers in a close-knit community contributed to Chris’ understandings of the possibilities and constraints of this market. GovTalks, in which local government officials speak in a casual and honest way with startup founders,  emerged as consistent winners for Qwally, offering insights into government processes and fostering relationships that sometimes translated into high-quality leads. Chris used every opportunity to speak or work with local leaders to further refine their focus and strategy based on valuable insights.


Finally, attending conferences and events supported by CivStart provided Qwally with on-the-ground support, crucial introductions, and amplified their presence in the minds of key government officials. Mentorships and CivStart’s media amplifications during pilot program launches in Manor and Wichita added layers of support beyond what a single startup could achieve independently.

As Qwally continues to scale, the lessons learned, connections made, and support received through CivStart continue to support them into CivStart’s Alumni program.

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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