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Latest PE Cash Goes to Recreation and School Bus Safety

Private equity continues to make a big splash in gov tech, with BusPatrol and Brandt Information Systems the latest to receive investments. Both companies’ management will remain in place.

Closeup of the side of a yellow school bus.
Outdoor recreational management and AI-powered school bus safety — those are two of the latest areas of government technology that have attracted fresh capital from private equity.

Brandt Information Services, which sells services for hunting and fishing licenses, camping reservations and related tasks, has gained an equity investment from Providence Equity Partners, which specializes in communications, education and technology.

BusPatrol, meanwhile, has a new investment from Weatherford Capital, which is frequently involved with business-to-government companies. That follows a “significant investment” earlier this year from GI Partners, another private equity firm.

The amount of investment remained undisclosed for both deals.

They represent the latest move by private equity firms to gain more of the growing gov tech market — one of the main trends within the industry, which seems unlikely to abate anytime soon.

“The interest level with financial sponsors and strategic acquirers continues to grow, and with so many companies in the sector starting to get real scale, it makes for an exciting time,” Will Weatherford, managing partner of Weatherford Capital, told Government Technology via email.

A former speaker of the Florida House of Representatives, Weatherford will join the BusPatrol board, where he will serve with representatives of GI Partners and Fit Ventures. Current company management will remain.

BusPatrol was founded in 2017. Its technology, which includes cameras, software and artificial intelligence, helps school districts and police reduce and punish illegal passings of school buses, according to a Weatherford statement.

“The opportunity to partner with a company bringing cutting-edge technology to school districts nationwide that will bring enhanced safety and revenue to our schools was a no-brainer,” Weatherford said.

Brandt launched in 1985 and touts itself in a statement as “an all-in-one partner for outdoor recreational management needs.”

Recreation management is an increasingly attractive area of gov tech, at least judging by recent deals, including some involving industry giant Tyler Technologies.

NexPhase, a private equity firm that invested in Brandt in 2018, will “retain equity in the company,” according to the statement. CEO Travis Warren will continue in his job, as will managers.

“NexPhase has been a great partner for Brandt during an exciting period of growth and innovation,” Richard Wise, founder and board member of Brandt, said in the statement. “Today, we are excited to build on the momentum delivering unparalleled solutions and experiences for outdoor enthusiasts by bringing in Providence to help us get to the next level of service for our recreational government agency customers.”


GovTech Biz
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.