The Emergence of Civic Tech: Investments in a Growing Field

What does the Civic Tech landscape look like?



The Emergence of Civic Tech: Investments in a Growing Field” PDF report on

Pulling back the curtain on civic tech” by Jon Sotsky on Knight Blog

Strange bedfellows or yin and yang” by Stacy Donohue on KnightBlog

New tools produce better understanding of investments in civic tech” by Sean Gourley on KnightBlog

Knight Foundation’s civic tech report: why it matters” by Tom Steinberg on KnightBlog

News Release: “Report: More than $430 million invested in tech organizations focused on advancing citizen engagement and open government since 2011”  

Civic tech report helps ID opportunities in the field” by Keya Dannenbaum on KnightBlog

Urban neighborhoods take small steps into ‘civic tech‘” by Patrick Barry on KnightBlog


Civic Tech Directory.xslx,” a landscape list of civic technology projects by Jon Sotsky


Join Knight’s Civic Tech e-mail list on Mailchimp

At Knight Foundation, we strive to support informed and engaged communities. With the proliferation of technology in everyday life over the past decade, Knight has increasingly funded new technologies designed to improve the health and vitality of cities. Since 2010, Knight has invested more than $25 million in such projects, ranging from government data access platforms to new tools for community planning to online neighborhood forums.

Over the past two years, we’ve witnessed through our work a groundswell of interest at the nexus of technology, civic innovation, open government and resident engagement. Though the terminology may vary, more and more funders, investors and practitioners have joined this emerging “civic tech” field. We began to wonder: How can practitioners supporting civic tech form stronger connections, and how can we gather better insights into the trends in the field?

Knight embarked on an analysis earlier this year to examine clusters of innovation and investment within the field of civic tech. Rather than performing a run-of-the-mill landscape review with stakeholder interviews, we decided to experiment with a new set of research tools. We partnered with Quid, a firm that specializes in data analytics and network analysis, to map the field of civic tech through semantic analysis and private and philanthropic investment data.

This report summarizes key findings and implications from the analysis. We hope this experiment will be valuable to those interested in the field of civic tech as well as organizations looking to advance the use of big data in the social sector. This study is a first foray into analyzing the civic tech landscape but is certainly not an exhaustive analysis. We look forward to continued partnerships with others to advance learning and practice in this field.