Damola Ogundipe, co-founder and CEO of Civic Eagle, does not skimp on anything. From constant analysis, to machine learning, to investment, Damola and his team have worked to create a powerful tool, Enview, that discovers, analyzes, and manages state and federal legislation. And they’ve done it with diverse talent that is modeling inclusivity and paving the way for Black and POC founders.
Throughout national challenges such as COVID, and meeting the moment during upsurged civil rights advocacy today, the goal has always been to improve the impact of socially good advocacy work. Damola speaks on how the team at Civic Eagle has done that:
What was your response to COVID-19?
We found that a lot of organizations were scrambling to figure out what legislation was being put out and figuring out how to handle that. It was a chaotic couple of weeks. We found two primary ways to provide the best value.
First, by providing information on each state’s response, what legislation was being introduced, what language was being used, and what was moving and what was not. These bills are impacting multiple areas, like public health, equity, and economic recovery, so we thought it was important to let our customers and other advocacy groups know what was going on. We analyzed every bill that referenced the pandemic and focused on states and spaces that people asked for.
Second, we made it free for new organizations that needed the product, such as advocacy groups. We knew that this was an important moment we needed to show up for.
How has that impacted Civic Eagle?
We have seen a 300% increase in website views and demo requests. There’s a lot of interest in and demand for our tool — organizations are interested in their state legislation. In the federal government alone, 400+ bills have been introduced pertaining to the pandemic, with an average of every state having 45.
How has use changed today with more focus on criminal justice reform?
The thread between criminal justice reform and COVID is the need for coalition building and partnership. Our platform allows organizations to collaborate, to share information and analysis, and that all happens within the platform.
We are working on doing the same thing we did with COVID with police reform. We have always been focused on helping organizations share within the same platform – and we’ve seen an increase in the time users spend in the Team workspace.
What type of resources does Civic Eagle provide to the public?
Right now, we have our newsletter, which people are very interested in. We are working on additional ways to provide value to the public without having to change the direction and build of the platform.
As we are understanding more and more in our day-to-day organizing, and as the momentum and focus towards policy and legislation in our country shifts, we follow the organizations that are already doing this work. They’re going to need the best support. And our number one strength is knowing that tech is the way we organize and that organizations need the best tech. We work to provide the best armor for when they go to battle.
On the Civic Eagle team:
Our make-up is always important to get people to understand what we’re doing. We’re a three-person founding team: I’m a Nigerian immigrant raised in Minnesota; Shawntera is a Black woman from Ohio who later moved to Minnesota; and Yemi is a first-gen [American] from New York. Two-thirds of our founding team are Minnesotan and all three are black. All three of us have a policy background. And, we really care and understand the importance and impact of public policy. We understand and are passionate about the work – this isn’t just a start-up.
How has that changed how people work with Civic Eagle?
Generally – before the last 10 days – nobody gave a damn about supporting us on the basis of being a black founding team. There was a kinship with some organizations that do voter equity work, but the majority of our customers don’t look like us. I don’t think anybody looked at our team and said to themselves “we gotta invest in them.” We’ve had to let our product and it’s value speak to the talent of our team.
Now, that’s changed. Over the last couple of weeks, everyone is looking to support black founders and diverse teams. From advocacy groups to corporations to investors, so that’s been interesting. We have an 11-person team, and not a single white, cis-gender male is on it. That’s not on purpose – but people look for jobs and teams they like to know they’re included in, and I think that that’s speaking to a lot of other people right now in this moment.
Does the diversity of your team impact your tool?
We’ve raised $3.1 million and have had a 15% growth month-over-month without a white, cis-male. We walk the walk on inclusivity of a diverse team in technology.
Organizations that are benefiting the most are advocacy groups and corporations – well really, everyone benefits. As we grow, we’re doing our part in the job to create an inclusive and diverse environment. We’re showing other people, investors, and CEOs that you can have an incredibly inclusive and diverse team and create incredibly scalable, influential technology the right way.