IE 11 Not Supported

For optimal browsing, we recommend Chrome, Firefox or Safari browsers.

Citizen Engagement Firms Polco and Balancing Act Merge

The deal brings two relatively small companies together: a provider of government surveys with a seller of budget simulation tools for residents. The move follows a recent funding round for Polco.

Polco and Balancing Act have merged, bringing together two companies in the citizen engagement space of government technology.

No financial terms were disclosed.

Both companies are keeping their executive leadership and brands, though Balancing Act will operate under the Polco umbrella. Existing clients should generally see no contract changes, according to a fact sheet about the deal, though for some contracts — especially multiyear ones — “we may reach out to you to suggest some mutually agreeable changes."

Wisconsin-based Polco, which last made news when it raised $14 million in October, launched in 2015, employs 72 workers and sells survey tools for governments. The company has about 500 clients in local government.

Denver-based Balancing Act, meanwhile, sells budget and planning simulation tools that residents can use to gain more insight and voice in decisions made by their local governments. Its roots stretch back to 1998 and the company has six employees and more than 150 clients, according to the fact sheet.

The newly announced deal reflects the “increased need for civic engagement on a wide variety of things” — a need that became more apparent during the pandemic, Polco CEO Nick Mastronardi told Government Technology.

In promoting this deal and citizen-engagement technology in general, Polco points to a survey that found confidence in local government decreased 8 percent from 2020 to 2022. A general idea behind this deal, Mastronardi said, is to use the tools from Polco and Balancing Act to reverse that trend and strengthen community ties.

Mastronardi and Balancing Act President Chris Adams, who is staying with the new company, have known each other since 2015, Adams told Government Technology.

He described his company’s simulation tool not only as a way for residents to gain an “entry point to put themselves into the shoes of policymakers, and to make choices with imperfect options,” but also something that can help elected officials and local civic managers.

“At its highest use, it’s a leadership tool,” Adams said.
Thad Rueter writes about the business of government technology. He covered local and state governments for newspapers in the Chicago area and Florida, as well as e-commerce, digital payments and related topics for various publications. He lives in Wisconsin.