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Kofile Acquires SeamlessDocs to Digitize Government Services

With the addition of software and expertise from SeamlessDocs, the Dallas-based company is competing in the digital services market alongside gov tech giants like Accela, Tyler Technologies and Oracle.

Add Kofile and SeamlessDocs to the growing list of companies redoubling their investments in digital government services, as Kofile announced today that it’s acquiring the online services platform in order to combine their expertise in modernizing paper-based processes.

Citing an increased demand for online alternatives to in-person government services and paperwork, a news release today said the integration of Kofile and SeamlessDocs will produce a suite of applications for searching and requesting records, recording and e-filing documents, processing permits and licenses, and managing employees and vendors.

Founded in 2009 and headquartered in Dallas, Kofile counts more than 3,000 local governments as customers and was bought by the investment firm Audax Private Equity in January. Kofile President and CEO Michael Crosno told Government Technology that Audax has a buy-and-build strategy, meaning it buys companies with an established platform and then seeks other companies to acquire and incorporate into it. Crosno said Kofile, which was built on the premise of digitizing and preserving documents, has heard from customers who wanted not only digitized documents but the services and processes that go with them. After looking at parks and recreation applications, permitting and licensing companies, work management software and other gov tech entities, Kofile gravitated toward SeamlessDocs, Crosno said, because it provided “the missing link” in the company’s go-to-market strategy.

“SeamlessDocs is fantastic at building applications that are process-centric and workflow-centric,” he said. “We were never as strong in that … We have built applications. We didn’t have the engine to build them in a citizen-engaging way.”

SeamlessDocs CEO Jonathon Ende said his company has helped government customers create more than 1,000 forms for COVID-related use cases and seen at least a tenfold increase in daily active users on their websites since the pandemic hit. He said the digitization of government services is happening in two categories: bringing existing processes, such as marriage licenses or FOIA requests, online; and bringing new use cases online, such as CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act grants.

“Not only do we have hundreds of government partners coming to us and saying, ‘Hey, we need a solution for X,’ we also have new partners coming to say ‘we need solutions for Y and Z,’” Ende said. “We had to make a decision. Did we want to raise more money and do it ourselves … or do we find a partner?”

They found a partner, not least of all because they needed help to be competitive in a saturated market. Many of the sector’s largest players, such as Accela, Tyler Technologies, CentralSquare Technologies, Granicus, Oracle and Salesforce have all invested in software to help governments stand up digital services in a hurry, citing many of the same reasons and customer demands. Crosno said Kofile has a leg up because of its years of focused experience and the size of its distribution network; Ende said the new partnership will make Kofile a one-stop shop for most customers through a combination of DIY applications and customer support. The one thing he’s certain of is that the digital transformation now underway in the gov tech market is a one-way trip.

“This is not a temporary thing … this new rapid adoption curve that’s happened in government,” Ende said. “Online adoption has increased exponentially in the last six months, and that’s not going anywhere. It’s not like all of a sudden we’re going to have less Zoom calls in six months.”

Andrew Westrope is managing editor of the Center for Digital Education. Before that, he was a staff writer for Government Technology, and previously was a reporter and editor at community newspapers. He has a bachelor’s degree in physiology from Michigan State University and lives in Northern California.