By Alexandra Bjerg.

In cities around the nation and across California, the civic tech industry is having a dramatic and immediate impact on citizens’ lives by helping government work better. This vibrant sector is not only creating jobs, but also leveraging technology to foster greater transparency and accountability, increase civic engagement, and help government provide better services.

The value is evident to governments, but investors too have started to take notice. In fact, last week, California-based Accela, maker of civic engagement software for governments, announced it had closed $143.5 million in new funding– the largest investment in a civic tech startup ever.

Many of these companies are built on government data. OpenCounter, for example, makes it easier for citizens to start a business by harnessing government data to build tools that governments can use to help streamline the process.

How can governments encourage civic startups? Watch the video to above to hear Peter Koht, co-founder of OpenCounter, share his thoughts on ways governments can incentivize developers to use open data.

As an engaged Californian, you too probably have ideas on how government can unlock the power of open data. Well, we want to hear them. Please take a moment to complete our brief questionnaire and let us know how you think state and local agencies could better use data to save money, improve results and strengthen our democracy.

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Originally posted at CA Fwd.