The startup, founded in 2011 with an eye toward preserving the volumes of communications flowing through public- and private-sector social media platforms, has attracted a large investment from Level Equity.
Note: The parent company of Government Technology is an early-stage investor in ArchiveSocial through e.Republic Ventures.
Eight years ago, Anil Chawla was a successful engineer with a social media fascination. Early on, Chawla saw a new wave of opportunity and potential disruption forming around the public sector’s use of social media. As government agencies began to rapidly adopt social media for citizen engagement and communication purposes, Chawla saw a disconnect between two different worlds — emerging social media platforms and existing public records laws.
“The most important service that government provides is information, and ensuring that information is both flowing out to the public as well as to government is vital,” Chawla recalled.
Social media was a new form of information, but unlike email or websites, it was a record no agency had control of. In response, Chawla founded ArchiveSocial in 2011 to help government agencies archive, maintain and build transparency around their social media records.
Over the years, ArchiveSocial celebrated a number of major successes from launching the first open archive of all social media records in North Carolina to becoming the platform behind President Obama’s social media records, further demonstrating that companies in the gov tech market could drive corporate success and social value.
“Despite the fact that that government is not seen as a great place to spawn a startup and that our competition was not highly focused on government, we went after what we perceived to be a real value add and need. The more that we work with government, the more that we recognize this as a great market to build a business, and that we are solving a real problem," Chawla said.
In the last 18 months, ArchiveSocial has doubled its customer base to more than 2,000 agencies across the United States. As with any industry, rapid growth also creates new opportunities and capital requirements for expansion.
As ArchiveSocial has matured, Chawla’s vision has been laser-focused on his customer base, and today the company announced a $53 million growth equity investment from Level Equity — a growth equity firm based in New York City. Chawla explained that the growth equity investment will enable ArchiveSocial to “double down on serving our customer base, being able to invest in our product, invest in the market education that we have historically provided, and be a much greater resource to the market when it comes to ensuring public records compliance and risk management.”
Numerous platforms have emerged in the gov tech market bringing new enterprise capabilities to websites, permitting and other customer-centric functions, and this investment is a clear validation that risk management is the next platform ecosystem to watch. It also demonstrates that startups play an important role in government innovation, so as Chawla says, “government can continue to focus on what matters most, which is informing, protecting and serving the public.”