Smart cities still struggle to understand, use oceans of data
June 26, 2017
Technology leaders from several cities say they're concerned with staff education and privacy as their smart city efforts increasingly rely on new streams of data.
The software company's growth indicates a sustained interest among governments in using technology to improve performance and accountability.
Colin Wood is the managing editor of StateScoop. Before that, he was a staff writer for Government Technology magazine. Before that, he taught Engl...
Government transparency and performance management software company OpenGov announced Tuesday the acquisition of $30 million in Series C funding, making for a total of $75 million raised by the company since its founding in 2012.
The new round of funding was led by the Emerson Collective, a social impact organization established by Laurene Powell Jobs. OpenGov, which now works with more than 1,500 government entities in the U.S., reports it has doubled its customer base since last year. The Silicon Valley company's growth rides a rising trend in the public-sector technology space toward increased civic engagement, government transparency and open data.
The company will use the funding to continue supporting products like its Smart Government Cloud, said Michael Schanker, head of marketing at OpenGov.
"It's more engineering and more sales and marketing, and just investing back in the business so that we con continue to grow our footprint for our customers," Schanker said.
OpenGov's growth can be tied to an increased interest among governments to monitor performance and budget. West Virginia State Auditor J.B. McCuskey announced a partnership with OpenGov this month to remediate the state's $497 million budget deficit.
"We really see the future of this space as government performance management," Schanker said. "What all these governments are trying to do — open data, budgeting, operational intelligence, civic engagement — they're all just pieces of a puzzle, which is, 'How do we get government to operate in a more effective and accountable manner?' … That's really what our customers have been asking us for."
OpenGov's largest competitor in the open data market is Socrata, a Seattle-based company founded in 2007 that laid off more than 20 employees last year as part of a change in strategy to target larger government entities.
Despite cutbacks, in the past four years, the company reports tenfold growth, serving now more than 1,300 government customers. In three rounds of funding, Socrata has raised $55 million.
In an email to StateScoop, Socrata founder and CEO Kevin Merritt confirmed that his company continues to grow.
"There is an unmistakable transformation taking place in government," Merritt said. "They are beginning to leverage an asset they already have in abundance — data — to not only improve transparency and accountability, but also to improve operational efficiency and program outcomes."