This issue marks the third iteration of the GovTech100 — a representative list of 100 technology companies whose solutions are aimed at state and local government, a market with estimated tech spending of more than $100 billion last year. As we’ve gotten deeper into our coverage of the growing ecosystem of companies offering innovative tech solutions to solve real government problems, there are clear signs the market is maturing. New ideas continue to make their way onto the scene, and the deals and investments are growing, signaling the viability of a government-only (or government-first) business model.
A quick look through the companies that make up this year’s GovTech100 reveals a number of themes. While it’s not surprising that five companies have “gov” in their names, it does lay plain their focus on the public sector, eliminating any ambiguity as to their target audience. Four out of five companies with gov in their names were formed in this decade, most in the latter half. While unscientific, it stands to reason that, before then, most companies wouldn’t brand themselves as government-only enterprises. The outlier, NEOGOV, was formed in 1999, and its HR software is used by more than 1,500 customers in state and local government and education.
The words “open” and “data” show up in a handful of company names on the list. OpenDataSoft checks both boxes, and in a win for truth in advertising, offers an open data hub serving both citizens and the public sector. The widespread use of both words, and so many related terms, in company monikers is reflective of where government priorities lie in 2018. Good government is guided by open, transparent operations. And the most effectively run public organizations are supported by usable, timely data that can be harnessed by those inside and outside of government for the most possible good.
The most prominent words to show up in GT100 company names are “city” and “civic.” This undeniable fact suggests that the civic tech movement we’ve been covering for several years has given rise to this new market category of gov tech, and that many solutions are borne out of tech- or just plain civic-minded citizens connecting in new ways with local governments and identifying areas where they can help. And more than help, they’re finding ways to productively engage with their communities and create viable businesses that can scale to jurisdictions around their state and across the country.
It’s not a homogeneous list, to be sure. But taken all together, it’s a revealing look at what’s trending and what’s gaining ground in the emerging government-focused tech marketplace. Read our story Raising the Profile for insights and analysis on the year that was in the gov tech market. Also, see who made this year’s list and let us know what you think. The complete list and an interactive funding map are online at govtech.com/100.
Government Technology editor Noelle Knell has more than 15 years of writing and editing experience, covering public projects, transportation, business and technology. A California native, she has worked in both state and local government, and is a graduate of the University of California, Davis, with majors in political science and American history. She can be reached via email and on Twitter.