In today’s episode of Category Visionaries, we speak with Alex Kouts, CEO of Indigov, a civic relations platform that’s raised over $38 Million in funding, about why innovation in the way we interact with state institutions might just be the key to preserving our democracy. We might not agree about exactly how it should function, but most people agree that democratic institutions are one of our greatest collective achievements, and something worth preserving. By automating, organizing, categorizing and analyzing citizen-state communications across a whole range of platforms, Indigov is determined to rebuild the human aspect of the democratic experience and help us all play a more central role in the big decisions that affect our lives.

We also speak about why Silicon Valley has traditionally been averse to state-involved business models, but why it remains a global capital of value creation mythology, how Alex’ approach to building a business always starts with getting into a very serious problem, and the role of big lobbying firms in swamping the communication landscape of contemporary politics. Dealing with such sensitive and potentially politically-charged material, Indigov has had to deploy an enhanced level of due diligence on potential investors, but have continued to expand as a revenue-generating company over the years. With the critical momentum now building behind them, they are ready to revolutionize the way all of us relate with our government.

Topics Discussed:

  • Alex’s career building tech businesses, and why the search for a real problem led him to launch a civic engagement platform
  • Why initially investors were skeptical of any proposal involving the government, and how building momentum in silicon valley takes patience and effort
  • Why the way public officials manage their digital communications is so problematic, and how a few relatively simple solutions can make all the difference
  • How big private lobbying firms swamp the civil space, drowning out independent voices with sheer weight of numbers
  • The current state of civil engagement techniques, and why they would be unacceptable in the private sector
  • Why Indigov has to rely on additional levels of investor diligence before accepting funds from potentially problematic source

Favorite book: 

The Lessons of History

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