Just when you thought politics couldn’t become anymore nuanced, there’s Civic Eagle, a tech startup founded by four African Americans that uses artificial intelligence to aid nonprofit and for-profit organizations with policy and advocacy campaigns.
Based in St. Paul, Minnesota, and Atlanta, Civic Eagle offers a SaaS platform to make policy campaigns in a $35 billion market more successful, less time consuming and cheaper by tracking policy, identifying legislative and regulatory risks, improving member management and identifying community stakeholders. The company is a member of Comcast’s accelerator, the Farm at the Battery in SunTrust Park, and its founders are currently debating on where to plant their home-base, according to Co-founder and CEO Damola Ogundipe.
“We’re really interested in the southeast tech ecosystem, so we’re waiting to make that decision till July on where our ‘headquarters’ will be,” he said.
“Our experiences as African Americans founders are just not the same as the experience of a white, male founder. It’s just not.
Ogundipe, who previously worked as a finance and management consultant, said he’s always had a passion for public policy and found a way to implement technology and innovation to solve a major problem in the political sector with his co-founders. Civic Eagle has found that less than 20 percent of the time, an advocacy campaign actually results in the desired outcome, which is where their tech comes in.
“I wanted to figure out ways to bring technology and business and politics together in a way that could help solve issues and make the world a little bit better,” he said.
Earlier this month, Ogundipe was named as a Camelback Ventures 2018 Fellow, which hopes to address the inequities of entrepreneurship by providing coaching, capital and customer connections to underrepresented entrepreneurs. He said the help from Camelback Ventures is an exciting win for Civic Eagle, because not only does the organization provide venture capital to their business, but helps connect them to the right leaders who can guide them through the entrepreneurial journey as minority founders.
“Our experiences as African Americans founders are just not the same as the experience of a white, male founder,” he said. “It’s just not. Because of that, it requires us to be more intentional in the programming of these things and the leaders that we get to learn from and Camelback Ventures provides that programing that can help us really understand how to do what we’re trying to do and how to accomplish our goals.”
In addition to the Camelback Ventures wind, Civic Eagle was also recently backed by Higher Ground Labs, a political technology fund, incubator and accelerator with a focus on scoring Democratic wins, from local to federal elections. Higher Ground Labs will provide capital and customer connections to Civic Eagle, Ogundipe said.
Though Civic Eagle is a nonpartisan company and works with several different types of organizations that are mission driven and issue based, the founders saw an opportunity to help where their services were needed, he said.
“We believe our products can help those progressive organizations, but we didn’t create our technology for progressive organizations,” he said.