Charles “Chic” Naumer: Technology for Do-Gooders

This post is part of an ongoing series about civic startups. What’s a civic startup? Find out. Code for America recently launched a civic startup accelerator to help promote and “turbo charge” civic startups. We’re accepting applications for the accelerator now through June 1, 2012. Apply:

Charles “Chic” Naumer is the Principal and Co-founder of CiviCore, a company dedicated to helping the needs of social sector organizations through information technology. We had a few questions for Charles about CiviCore. He was kind enough to answer them. Here is what he had to say:

What is CiviCore, and how did it get started (i.e. funding)?

CiviCore was funded by the founders.

How would you define a civic tech startup, and would you consider CiviCore
to have been a civic tech startup?

I would define a civic tech startup as one that is mission based, and the mission is focused on improving the community. By this definition, I would consider CiviCore a civic tech startup. The purpose for starting CiviCore was to build infrastructure that would support our community and the work of the larger social sector.

What is your business model? Who are your customers (i.e. government)? Has it changed/Do you foresee it changing?

Our business model is software as a service (SAAS). We charge for time to customize our software platform as well as a monthly hosting fee. It has been a successful business model for us and we don’t see it changing.

What challenges have you faced, particularly legal hurdles (ex. procurement, IP issues)?

We have not faced any legal hurdles. Our biggest struggle has been to build a model where we can customize our software to serve the distinct needs of our clients – while making it affordable.

Is there a story or word of advice for those who are interested in joining
the civic tech movement?

We often find that there are people who become interested in the field but last a very short time. So, if you think you are interested in joining the civic tech movement be sure that you are in it for the long haul. Short term commitments can leave nonprofits with “orphaned” software and a lot of frustration.

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