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Mark43 Raises $101M to Expand Police Tech Products

Even amid calls to "defund the police," agencies are buying new technology, boosting efficiency and enabling new types of reporting. Mark43 aims to be a major global player in this industry.

Mark 43 product shot
Mark43
Mark43, an eight-year-old company that sells subscription software to law enforcement agencies around the world, has raised $101 million in a Series E funding round. The new capital is the latest in a series of big investments in government technology firms in recent months.

The New York City-based firm will use the funds to develop more cloud-based products and expand internationally — including opening an office in the United Kingdom in a drive to gain more business there as local law enforcement agencies replace or augment their legacy tech systems, said Mark43 CEO and co-founder Scott Crouch.

To date, the company has raised $257 million.

This latest funding round was led by The Spruce House Partnership and Tiger Global Management. The Radcliff Companies, as well as former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and former Lord Mayor of Sydney Lucy Turnbull — Malcolm’s wife — also participated in the round. Their participation reflects the use of Mark43 technology by the New South Wales Police Force, which is headquartered in Sydney and employs about 18,000.

CRACKING THE MARKET


To Crouch, this newest funding round signals that Mark43 stands as an emerging global player when it comes to law enforcement technology, an area that includes the likes of IBM and other major companies.

"Government is hard to crack into for a startup,” he said. “Now we are branching out to Canada and the U.K. and deepening our investment in the United States.”

Mark43 has some 120 U.S. clients, up from about 60 two years ago, and provides technology to such major departments as Atlanta, Austin, San Antonio, Seattle and Washington, D.C. The SaaS software sold by Mark43 supports a variety of use cases.

Crouch pointed to a digital system for specialized behavioral crisis reports in Seattle as an example of a relatively recent deployment. In general, Mark43 aims to bring new efficiencies to departments — including smaller ones, some of which are offered discounts on the company’s record management software — as well as end-to-end workflow.

Law enforcement clients tend to pay their Mark43 subscription fees via operational budgets instead of grants or other revenue sources, Crouch said — a process that underscores how important such technology can be to the core mission of police agencies.


In fact, evidence points to increased spending for such software even amid pandemic spending cuts and the broad “defund the police” movement in the U.S. that calls for government to shift some of law enforcement's responsibilities to other agencies. According to a January report from market research firm Homeland Security Research, for instance, revenue for the general law enforcement software industry will grow at a compound annual growth rate of about 10 percent between 2019 and 2026.

“The use of advanced software, such as crime analytics and predictive policing and digital and mobile forensics by law enforcement agencies is on the rise, mostly because the world is becoming more digital and connected, and police forces are expected to be able to work from the office and the street seamlessly,” the research firm stated in a summary of its findings. “This is creating new opportunities, not only for the modernization of legacy systems such as (computer-aided dispatch) and (record management systems), but also for the implementation of new and advanced capabilities such as body-worn cameras, forensic case management, crime analytics, predictive policing, digital evidence management and digital and mobile forensics.”

That growth might seem to be threatened by efforts to cut police funding, but the future remains muddled. For one, many cities are still engaged in budget fights over police spending, with some politicians apparently stepping back from previous promises to enact those cuts. As well, precise reports on actual local, regional and state police budgets lag as much as two or three years.

That said, early signs point to few major cuts in budgets for those agencies, at least for now. According to the latest research from the Urban Institute, a social policy and economic think tank based in Washington, D.C., state and local governments in 2018 spent $119 billion on police. Data from the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, in fact, offer evidence of increased police spending by local and state governments.

Many police agencies, however, are preparing for cuts, which could eventually impact technology budgets. A survey from the nonpartisan Police Executive Research Forum that was conducted about a year ago — at the height of the pandemic and during increasing calls to “defund the police” — found that about half of the 258 departments surveyed were expecting budget cuts.

No matter what happens with police spending, though, the Mark43 funding news reflects another big investment in government technology.

In May, CivicPlus, which builds websites for local governments, sold a $290 million majority stake to venture capital and private equity firm Insight Partners. Around the same time, transportation technology startup Passport raised $90 million — bringing its total funding in four years to about $200 million, helping the company further boost its digital parking, micromobility and related efforts. And earlier this year, RapidSOS, whose software delivers geographic and medical data to emergency responders, raised $85 million in a Series C funding round.
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 New Orleans.
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