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Tuesday, January 11, 2011 - By Ben Berkowitz - 1 comment
Omidyar Network and O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures Bring Neighborhoods and City Hall Closer Together with Investment in SeeClickFix
January 11, 2011, REDWOOD CITY, Calif. -- Omidyar Network and O’Reilly AlphaTech
Ventures (OATV) today announced an equity investment in SeeClickFix, the developer
of technologies that enable citizens to report and monitor non-emergency issues in their
local community. The investment reflects both organizations’ belief that technology can
scale programs that foster meaningful engagement among citizens, their local government
and others in the community. It is Omidyar Network’s first for-profit investment in its
Government Transparency investment area and OATV’s first investment in a Gov 2.0
Through its Government Transparency investment area, Omidyar Network invests in
organizations that use technology and media platforms to provide access to information and
tools necessary for citizens to participate in the governing process and hold governments to
account. Over the last two years, the firm has granted over $30M to organizations such as
Code for America, the Project On Government Oversight and the Sunlight Foundation.
“Omidyar Network is deeply committed to furthering the use of technology platforms to
engage citizens on issues of importance to them,” commented Stacy Donohue, director of
investments at Omidyar Network. “The SeeClickFix team has created a powerful platform
that can have significant, tangible social impact. They’ve created a scalable, low-cost way
to turn citizen frustration into participation and engagement while strengthening community
O’Reilly Media, a general partner of OATV, works to promote greater government openness
and citizen participation through its events, books and online. The Gov2.0 Summit,
co-presented by O’Reilly Media and UBM TechWeb, brings together the creators and
innovators, citizens and government leaders who are building ‘government as a platform.’
Tim O’Reilly, CEO and founder of O’Reilly Media, said: “Now is the time for government
to reinvent itself, to take the old idea of government 'for the people, by the people and of the
people' to a new level."
Mark P. Jacobsen, managing director at OATV, will join the SeeClickFix board of
directors. “SeeClickFix is poised to bridge citizens into governments which have traditionally
offered limited channels of communication,” said Jacobsen.
SeeClickFix provides online and mobile platforms that empower citizens, community groups,
media and local governments to care for and improve the country’s neighborhoods. It was
founded on the belief that citizens who take the time to report even minor issues and see
them fixed are likely to become more engaged in their local communities. Started in New
Haven, Connecticut in 2008, SeeClickFix now has millions of viewers and has logged tens of
thousands of reports. The service is accessible online, via Blackberry, iPhone and Android
mobile platforms and widgets found on media partner websites such as the Washington Post,
Gannett, SFGate, Philly.com and Boston.com.
“SeeClickFix has grown faster than we could have imagined and the platform’s ability
to connect neighbors and resolve local problems is benefitting communities of all socio-
economic backgrounds across the United States as well as some locations internationally,”
said SeeClickFix founder and CEO Ben Berkowitz. “In the past year, SeeClickFix has
seen more and more governments adopting the citizen platform as their primary online
engagement tool. The funding provided by OATV and Omidyar Network will enable us to
continue to capture the market we are helping to create. Capital will be used to enhance the
existing SeeClickFix smartphone and web platforms as well as increase sales and support to
our current and future media partners, government clients and users.”
About O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures
O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures (OATV) is a seed-stage venture capital fund located in San
Francisco. OATV is in the business of funding disruptors, innovators and hackers of the
status quo. OATV takes a cash efficient approach to seeding and growing businesses which
creates a natural alignment with the entrepreneurs it funds. In addition to capital, OATV
brings a depth of operational experience and industry relationships to amplify the efforts of
its portfolio companies.
About Omidyar Network
Omidyar Network is a philanthropic investment firm dedicated to harnessing the power
of markets to create opportunity for people to improve their lives. Established in 2004 by
eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife Pam, the organization invests in and helps scale
innovative organizations to catalyze economic and social change. To date, Omidyar Network
has committed more than $371 million to for-profit companies and nonprofit organizations
that foster economic advancement and encourage individual participation across multiple
investment areas, including microfinance, entrepreneurship, property rights, consumer
Internet, mobile technology and government transparency. To learn more about Omidyar
Network, please visit www.omidyar.com.
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