Civic tech: Who's footing the bill?

Wed, 2013-12-11 06:00 -- Liz Enbysk

In a report titled The Emergence of Civic Tech: Investments in a Growing Field, the Knight Foundation determined that 100 businesses and nonprofit organizations involved in the push to share data between government and citizens received $431 million in investments between 2011 and 2013. The nonprofit Knight Foundation involved in journalism and the media and funds efforts that support informed and engaged communities.

"Over the past two years," the authors explain in the introduction, "we’ve witnessed through our work a groundswell of interest at the nexus of technology, civic innovation, open government and resident engagement. Though the terminology may vary, more and more funders, investors and practitioners have joined this emerging “civic tech” field. We began to wonder: How can practitioners supporting civic tech form stronger connections, and how can we gather better insights into the trends in the field?"

Among the research findings:

  • From 2008 to 2012, the field of civic tech grew at an annual rate of 23%

  • While the number of grant investments and private investments was relatively even, the vast majority of total capital supporting civic tech came from private investments (84%)

  • Four types of investors are involved in supporting civic tech projects— foundations, financial

    investors, corporate investors and individual (often angel) investors

The report concludes that examining the characteristics of open government organizations that are attracting private investment might help illuminate the viability of market-based initiatives in the space and be used to attract even more private capital.

Download the report >>