In late March 2020, as snow fell outside his home in Calgary, Derrick Koenig received news that only two other Canadian companies had ever received: His company, BoxofDocs, had been accepted into the spring cohort at Berkeley SkyDeck.
Koenig would be joining 23 other startups in the prestigious accelerator program. Typically he’d be getting ready to move to Berkeley for the six-month term, but with news of acceptance came another update. Due to the coronavirus, Berkeley SkyDeck would be operating entirely online for the coming months, while California remained under shelter in place orders.
The news meant SkyDeck participants would be working remotely with advisors and investors, a shift from previous programs. But online collaboration isn’t new territory for Koenig and the BoxofDocs team. In fact, it’s why their product exists.
As Govlaunch works to build the global wiki for local government innovation, we’re highlighting a series of Disruptive technologies — innovative companies who aspire to bring local governments cutting-edge products, which have the potential to fundamentally change the way local governments operate and innovate. We chatted with Koenig to talk about how BoxofDocs is revolutionizing the way government workers find and use day-to-day documents.
Stop Reinventing the Wheel
Among local governments, the desire to share has always been there. The tools have not.
This is a big pain point when it comes to government documents. When one city wants insights from another, the ask is usually carried out via phone calls, emails, or Google searches.
Between flooded inboxes, phone tag, and pages upon pages of web results, a simple search for a reference document can turn into an hours-long quest. Often, municipalities end up just starting from scratch, causing governments around the world to invest time and resources creating something that their neighbors may already have and be willing to share.
Enter Derrick Koenig and BoxofDocs. Backed by a team with deep experience in municipal government and public administration, Koenig set out to apply the sharing economy to local government files.
At first, the team focused on coming up with a way to create capital project design packages — essentially templates — that could be shared across governments. After six months of idea iteration, Koenig knew he was onto something: