Catalyzing Civic Tech in India

16th October 2019

Research Report

arrow down

It’s not often that you witness the creation of a sector, but that’s exactly what we have seen in the United States in the past decade. Starting with the naming of the first-ever Chief Technology Officer in the history of the United States in 2009, and continuing through efforts by philanthropy, government and the private sector, the civic tech sector in the US has grown from virtually non-existent to a billion-dollar industry.

What will it take for civic tech to get there in India? The civic challenges are certainly paramount, and there are entrepreneurs trying new things – an estimated 450-475 civic tech startups in India today. But much of the support for these innovators has still been philanthropic. The sector won’t become self-sustaining — as it has in the US — until venture investors understand that civic tech startups have scalable, sustainable business models, and provide the capital that the sector needs.

Along with CIIE.CO and Village Capital, in this report we’ll seek to help venture investors understand civic tech in India. We’ll define civic tech, and identify emerging subsectors and promising revenue models. Finally, we’ll explore appropriate funding strategies for investors to consider, since equity is not always the best option for startups solving complex civic problems. It’ll take more than investors, of course. We’ll also offer clear, actionable takeaways for government, philanthropy and entrepreneurs themselves to build out the sector. Civic tech finally has a chance to take off in India – but it will take a deep coordinated effort across sectors — entrepreneurs, investors, philanthropy and government.

Download the report here.