Coforma was founded with a mission in mind: to craft creative solutions and build technology products that help their government, nonprofit, and commercial partners improve the lives of the people they serve.
For Eduardo Ortiz, CEO and Founding Owner, and Ashleigh Axios, Chief Experience Officer and Co-Owner, Coforma also offered an opportunity to leverage hands-on experience working in the U.S. Digital Service and the Obama White House to better help the government from outside of the government.
And in the few short years since it was founded in 2017, Coforma has taken off, experiencing significant growth and helping countless people along the way.
We sat down with Eduardo and Ashleigh to learn about Coforma, their experience with building a disruptive start-up that helps reconstruct broken systems in an equitable manner, and the lessons they’ve learned along the way.
Can you tell us a bit about Coforma?
Coforma is an agency that creates technology products and services for government and non-government partners with a mission to help improve the lives of the people they serve.
We offer a wide variety of human-centered digital services that are tailored to help mission-aligned partners who focus on veterans affairs, immigration, healthcare, voting and civic engagement, access to justice equity, and more.
Our work involves all kinds of things, including guiding digital modernization and creating apps, websites, processes, and systems. It can also include anything from service design to graphic design and engineering.
Ultimately, we assemble talented, cross-functional teams that are impactful by design to co-create technology products and services that help people live better lives.
How did Coforma come to be?
Eduardo co-founded Coforma in 2017 with two other people he’d worked with at the US Digital Service.
Essentially, they saw an opportunity to help the government better by being outside of government, especially with a new administration coming into office.
So, they founded Coforma to really disrupt the status quo for how digital services were being designed, created, and delivered. Today, we’re co-owned by Eduardo and myself (Ashleigh Axios).
What has Coforma’s trajectory been since then?
In just four years, we’ve grown from three people to a team of 55 working to do incredible things through design.
One of the things that’s most unique—or was at the time and is becoming commonplace now—is that we’ve been a remote-first company from the beginning. And because of that, we’ve had access to more diverse talent pools, promoted more of a work-life balance, and provided better accessibility to accommodate people who need a more flexible work situation.
And as a service-disabled veteran-owned business, this is something near and dear to us.
What are the most rewarding aspects of your work?
The most rewarding aspect is having the chance to really make a big impact on many people through thoughtful partnerships.
There are projects we work on that impact how people access all kinds of things, from retirement benefits to healthcare to child care assistance. We’ve been able to be a part of providing a solution for people when they’re in a time of real need, and that’s been very special to be a part of.
The other thing that’s been really rewarding is that, since we started with such a small team, many of those people had a real hand in determining what kind of company we want to be and what we want to do. We’ve all had a lot of investment in the organization, and have helped define it together.
What advice would you give to a start-up going through rapid growth as Coforma did?
Know the “why” for the work you’re doing and keep strategies centered around and supporting that mission.
This sense of clear purpose has the potential to ground decisions like when to hire, partner, and invest in things necessary to see growth.
A company thoughtfully built around shared values will also have a cohesive and clear company culture, making tracking and supporting company health and prosperity that much easier.
What would you tell an entrepreneur starting a business intended to be disruptive or to find a new way of doing things?
Unfortunately, businesses disrupting an industry or environment will often adopt a hostile application of disruption, creating exploitative workplaces, teams, and phases of engagement for partners.
Success comes from disrupting the systems that are broken with intention, but also uniting and constructing through that process. It’s past time to do so in equitable, healthy ways.
What has your experience been with working at Launch Workplaces?
Being a remote-first business from the beginning, we’ve maintained an office at Launch where people can gather and connect when they’re in Washington DC.
The location is great but there are also really outstanding community spaces that are very welcoming. It’s a cool place to be. It’s inspiring to be around that start-up energy and to be around people doing really interesting things.
Want to learn more about Coforma?
Coforma values partnerships over consulting, and we regularly forge strategic alliances in the form of event sponsorships, panel presentations, teaming arrangements to deliver impactful solutions, and more. We love to hear from other leaders and contributors in this space and welcome folks to contact us at [email protected] or through our website at https://coforma.io/connect/.
And if you’d like to learn about our flexible office services or to book a tour of one of our Launch Workplaces locations, contact us today. Our team is here to help and answer any questions you might have.