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After Raising $43M, Passport Jumps into Tolling and Eyes International Expansion

It's going to be a busy 2018 for Passport.

With $43 million in hand — among the largest fundraising rounds of a gov tech company this year — the transportation-oriented startup Passport has a lot of plans.

More specifically, the company wants to increase its staff from 100 to 150, open multiple international offices, push a new product and vet possible corporate acquisitions.

“We’re always gonna keep our head on a swivel and look for opportunities that accelerate our platform or our growth in a particular market,” said Chief Executive Officer and founder Bob Youakim.

The company offers cloud-based software for parking payment and permitting, transit ticketing and enforcement operations. Its revenue generation mostly comes from service charges and transaction fees. But it’s about to make a splash in a new field: tolling systems.

The company has been awarded a bid for the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, one of the largest tolling agencies in the country, and is now working to finalize the contract. It will start by pilot-testing a mobile toll payment solution before expanding it statewide. It will be Passport’s first tolling customer.

“We’re trying to get visitors that don’t come through with E-ZPass a more convenient way to handle electronic tolling,” Youakim said.

The company’s been growing fast. Launched in 2010, Passport claims about 450 customers. Roughly 80 percent of them are in the public sector. In the past three years, Youakim said, its revenue has grown 352 percent.

He said the company hit the market at a fortunate moment. The concurrent spread of cloud computing, smartphones and mobile payment gave Passport fertile soil it needed for growth.

“It was just ripe to help these agencies bring these solutions into the marketplace that, frankly, their constituents demanded,” Youakim said.

He plans on kicking the speed of that growth up a notch. As Passport increases its staff count 50 percent, it is also actively working to set up its first international offices in London and elsewhere. In the future it will look to Latin American countries such as Peru, Colombia and others.

“You can see common pressure points among agencies, even though they’re in different countries,” he said.

Though he declined to divulge details, Youakim said the company is vetting some potential acquisitions. It goes into that process with far more backing than it had after its first two fundraising rounds — before the Series C, it had raised about $15 million. Now the number is closer to $60 million.

And all $43 million in the C round came from one source: Bain Capital Ventures.

It’s one of the largest single funding rounds Government Technology has tracked among gov tech companies this year. For context, OpenGov — which has been very busy this year — raised a $30 million Series C round in May. When Shotspotter went public in June, it pulled in $35 million.

Passport’s previous investors include Grotech Ventures, MK Capital and Relevance Capital.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to remove information about unfinalized corporate activity.

Ben Miller is the associate editor of data and business for Government Technology. His reporting experience includes breaking news, business, community features and technical subjects. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in journalism from the Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno, and lives in Sacramento, Calif.