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Granicus Buys Citizen Engagement Tech Firm Rock Solid

The deal reflects the growing tendency in the gov tech space toward integrated platforms, according to Granicus CEO Mark Hynes. Both companies have been expanding recently via other acquisitions.

Two more major players in the government technology space have combined forces, with Granicus agreeing to acquire Rock Solid Technologies, which sells citizen engagement tools.

This marks the 11th acquisition for Granicus, whose software helps governments better serve citizens, said CEO Mark Hynes in an interview focused on this latest deal in the gov tech space.

As he put it to Government Technology, both companies, pursuing what he called a “platform integration strategy,” recognized that there existed an “incredible alignment of our missions.”

“By putting these companies together, we will accelerate our missions — our combined mission,” Hynes said.

Granicus did not disclose how much it is paying for Rock Solid.

Rock Solid launched in 1994, currently has offices in Texas and Puerto Rico and sells technology for such tasks as legislative management, public records requests and citizen relationships.

Granicus, founded in 1999 and headquartered in Denver, focuses on citizen engagement and boasts that it connects more than 500,000 government professionals with 300 million opt-in subscribers. One of its more recent acquisitions before Rock Solid involved public records and compliance workflows.

Eventually, the Rock Solid brand will give way to the Granicus brand as the more than 300 Rock Solid employees join the 1,200-strong Granicus team, Hynes said.

The deal reflects the growing push to bring what amounts to more one-stop tech shopping and service to state and local government — such features already being relatively common in e-commerce and other areas of the economy, meaning that both citizens and public agency workers alike are becoming increasingly used to those integrated platforms.

“Integrated platforms are what technology buyers want,” Hynes told Government Technology. “It shouldn’t be incumbent on government IT buyers to have to solve the integration problem. Why shouldn’t we centralize that concept? You shouldn’t have to go to 15 vendors to have a tech leader.”

In touting this deal, Granicus pointed to the “significant advances” made by Rock Solid in its 311 service request management and public meeting management tech. Granicus also noted that Rock Solid’s May announcement that it was buying livestreaming tech provider Swagit gives the combined company the ability to offer full-service video production to local governments — a need highlighted during the social distancing and lockdown restrictions of the pandemic.

The new deal also illustrates the power of scale in the gov tech business. As Hynes explained, Granicus now powers about 30 billion digital interactions across the globe annually, and has some 6,000 customers — which will only increase with the acquisition of Rock Solid.

“We get to see what is working, and what is working in some parts of the globe versus other parts of the globe, what messages are working and what messages are not working,” he said. “We will be able to measure it, quantify it. The public sector has never had this access before.”

Shea & Company acted as financial adviser to Granicus, with William Blair advising Rock Solid Technologies.

The deal would appear to be a win for Strattam Capital, which bought a majority stake in Rock Solid about three years ago.
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.