April 8, 2015
A revolution is at hand. Damola Ogundipe, CEO of Civic Eagle, is passionate about changing the way people engage in politics and communities, and he says that what he is building is not just a business, but a revolution.
“Civic technology is a high growth and high (social) impact industry and we’re happy to be some of the innovators creating technology tools and solutions that have both commercial viability and social impact; it’s really starting to take off and more people are paying attention. These new tools get people thinking more critically and encourages collaboration around civic issues,” Ogundipe told us.
Civic Eagle is a social/mobile solution for the public, for civic leaders, and for students to enable civic participation at all levels. With the app, users are able to merge social and civic to become more engaged citizens. This, in turn, aims to simplify the process of contacting elected representatives, participating in active legislation, and become educated on topics that help aid the full civic experience. We all know that politics can be a challenging place to stay motivated, so we asked the Civic Eagle team to share some tips that work for this St. Paul, MN based startup.
What Keeps the Team Pushing Forward in Moments of Doubt?
“We get excited about bringing about meaningful change and that is all the motivation we need to push past the difficult moments of building a startup. We keep our progress moving with team meetings at least 4 times/week. We each have specific roles that allow us to utilize our individual strengths and talents, and collaborate through creative brainstorming. And we’ve bonded as more than just colleagues, but as friends, which keeps us motivated and accountable to one another.”
As a Leader, How Have You Learned from Your Own Team?
“I try to control too many things. Even when I ‘delegate’ I’m still more actively involved than I should be. My team has helped make sure that when I delegate, I back off and let everyone do their own thing. We have a great team that’s highly competent and intelligent, so I’ve learned to let them do what they do best and not get in the way. “
What Change Do You Hope Civic Eagle Will Help to Effect?
“A minimum of 80% voter turnout at the Federal, State, and Local levels of government in the United States.”
What is it like Starting Up in St. Paul?
“St. Paul is a great city for startups, but even more so for civic technology startups. Voter turnout at all levels of government almost always leads the nation. Because of the relatively high level of civic participation, it’s helped us test a lot of our ideas since the community and local government is so willing to work with us. The biggest disadvantage is IT’S SO COLD! Have you ever woken up frostbitten? Neither have I, but I worry about it every winter.”
What’s More Important to a Startup: Agility or Feedback?
“A lot of startup consultants may say that you must move quickly in order to stay ahead of competition in the market. And while we agree that being agile is important, we’ve found that we have to strike a balance between moving quickly and taking deliberate and calculated steps. We’ve realized the importance of understanding our users and we’ve spent a lot of time learning about their behavior, needs and desires. We’re far from getting a full, comprehensive picture of all of our primary users, however if we moved too quickly to get to market, we would have inadequately addressed the problem we are trying to solve.”
What’s with the Fanny Packs?
“If I had an extra $1000, to spend on marketing, I would buy more Civic Eagle fanny packs. I’m telling you, they are on the way back. If you see us at an event with a Civic Eagle fanny pack, don’t be afraid to ask for one.”
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