Superion, TriTech Software Systems and Aptean’s public-sector and health-care business are merging into one giant entity that will be one of the largest — if not the largest — companies focused explicitly on state and local government in North America.
The move, which will create a company with more than 30 core products spanning public safety software, health-care solutions and government administrative tools such as finance management and land use, comes as the result of private equity deals the three companies have entered into. Vista Equity Partners, which has invested in Superion and Aptean, will co-own the new company with Bain Capital, which owns TriTech.
Simon Angove, who has been CEO of Superion since April 2017, will lead the new company. He said he doesn’t expect the deal to officially close until August or September, and he’s not yet sure what name the new company will have.
Whatever it’s called, it will be massive. The three corporations bring in a total of about $400 million in revenue, 8,000 agency customers across the continent and about 2,000 employees.
Perhaps more important than the number of customers is the type of agency the three companies have served. Aptean has built up a large presence in Canada, where Superion and TriTech haven’t done as much work, while TriTech has a lot of high-population jurisdictions in the U.S. as customers and Superion has penetrated more of the middle and smaller markets.
"There's not as much overlap as you would think, and it's actually pretty complementary, the geographic coverage and the tiers,” Angove said. “That’s part of what made it so attractive."
That means that in some areas, like Atlanta and Houston, the core city will be a TriTech customer while the smaller suburbs and satellite cities use Superion. For that reason, the new company will be using existing functionality in its software to help those jurisdictions share data with one another.
Specifically, Angove said, that should help public safety functions like emergency response.
"If there's a critical EMS call that goes into Fulton County, [Ga.,] and the nearest resource is in Atlanta, we can make sure that we can bring down the response time and save somebody's life," Angove said.
He thinks that same ethos of regional cooperation could extend to crime-fighting as well — and the merger comes just as Superion is working on predictive policing software that's still in the prototype stage. Several other companies have offered some form of software for crime prediction in the past, where they use historical and current data to predict when and where crimes might happen.
The approach is, on the whole, controversial because of the potential it creates for feedback loops. If a police department is already biased toward over-patrolling a minority or low-income neighborhood, then naturally they would encounter more crime there. If an algorithm uses that historical crime data to predict future crime, it will think that neighborhood is at greater risk for crime — even if a different neighborhood has the same amount of crime that police simply aren’t observing.
Angove said the company is taking two approaches to try to mitigate those concerns. The first is emphasizing police presence in those neighborhoods instead of making arrests. The second is adding in more kinds of data, such as weather and events, to improve the algorithm.
"We're not just looking at historical arrest data, we're looking at a larger number of variables ... we've found we've had much better accuracy rates looking beyond arrests," he said.
The merger also comes as Superion seeks to move on from a series of customer data breaches in recent months. According to news reports, hackers targeted Superion systems in several states and were able to steal citizens’ financial information.
They all took place in jurisdictions where the customer chose to self-host their system and not use Superion, Angove said. The company has since worked to understand what happened and prevent similar actions in the future.
"We worked with them and forensic agencies to understand the vulnerabilities, and we have addressed those now," he said.
The company will also look to find opportunities to better integrate solutions within jurisdictions. For example, devices meant to identify active shooter situations could be tied in with emergency response systems and artificial intelligence tools could help governments generate reports based on data they keep on their platforms.
The Superion-TriTech-Aptean merger further cements Vista Equity Partners’ status as the biggest financial player in corporate gov tech deals today. Vista is the same firm responsible for the Granicus-GovDelivery merger in 2016 and a whole host of other merger and acquisition activity.
The companies aren't disclosing the terms of the deal.