Fixing a Hole — and Much More

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See " /files//#">.lickFix’s online problem-solving clearinghouse hits the big time

Ben Berkowitz is a fixer. For the past four years, he has been the mastermind behind fixed potholes, cleared roads, restored power and cleaned up properties. His efforts started in New Haven, but they now reach across the country, his innovative See " /files//#">.lickFix application being used on smart phones by people in cities such as Raleigh, N. " /files//#">. "/books/buyxanaxonline//">xanax generic Washington, D. " /files//#">., Houston and Minneapolis.

A few years back, Berkowitz was frustrated from trying to reach someone at New Haven " /files//#">.ity Hall who cared enough about graffiti on his neighbor’s house to remove it. He took that frustration and ran with it, creating See " /files//#">.lickFix, an online clearinghouse for citizens to report problems in their towns and "site//#visit_us">visit us. Not only are the problems reported, they’re being fixed.

And that’s translating into growth.

“The company has started to grow a large government client base and has built in more features that are government-friendly,” Berkowitz says. His customers are municipalities, counties, states and utilities that tie SeeClickFix into their work-order management systems. New Haven, for example, has a work order system called CityWorks that uses SeeClickFix.

“When you go to SeeClickFix and report a pothole from your mobile application, it goes right into the CityWorks system and generates a work order automatically,” Berkowitz explains.

“We’ve really built our government client base and built new features for those government clients,” he says. “We’ve built that system out with data visualization and analytics for getting a big picture of what’s going on in a city. It also gives cities a way to assign issues to employees.”

He says the mobile applications for smart phones have also really taken off.

“In Washington, D.C., they advertise the application we built for them on the parking meters,” he says. “

SeeClickFix has 15 employees including seven engineers, and the innovations are growing.

“We’re always looking to improve the user experience on the site,” he says. SeeClickFix is working on a social question-and-answer platform. “Someone who wants to know what time the library opens can ask and be answered right there,” Berkowitz says.

“We’re also working on an end-user component — where people can come to get issues funding to get fixed,” he says. “In front of our office, SeeClickFix users funded cardboard benches for bus stops on Chapel Street to help bus patrons. Citizens helped fund a new dog park in Wooster Square.”

Berkowitz credits support from New Haven city government for his success.

“I think the city has been very helpful. It is a progressive government and they are willing to be first in trying new things,” Berkowitz says. “The city of New Haven has been absolutely awesome for incubating a business. We have had no problem finding engineering talent, where our friends in New York City and Boston are fighting tooth-and-nail to pull in developers.”

As far as doing business in Connecticut, Berkowitz says, “Under [Gov. Dannel P.] Malloy, there have been a number of business-friendly strategies that have been very helpful — different types of tax credits for hiring and other things that have directly impacted how we hire more aggressively.” He notes he is not politically biased and speaks strictly on policy.

“Here in New Haven the quality of life is great,” Berkowitz says. “It’s got the grit of the real world, which I really appreciate. And here we are, solving real problems.”

Should Connecticut Give Special Incentives to Individual Companies?

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