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Verra Mobility Goes Public, the Second Gov Tech Company to Do So in Two Months

The company provides traffic enforcement cameras and works closely with tolling authorities.

Verra Mobility, a transportation technology company with a historic focus on tolling payments and traffic enforcement cameras, has gone public.

As of last week, the company was listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange under the ticker VRRM. It’s actually the second government-serving tech company to announce that it was going public since the beginning of September — it followed an announcement that six gov tech companies were merging into GTY Holdings.

And like in the GTY Holdings deal, Verra Mobility followed the “blank check company” approach to going public. That is, the company didn’t have its own initial public offering. Rather, a special purpose acquisition company called Gores Holdings II was created and filed for an IPO a while ago, and that company then bought Verra, making it a public company.

“Think of it as a reverse IPO, to some extent,” said Verra CEO David Roberts.

The company is a large one — it counted about $350 million in adjusted revenue in 2017 — but its name might not ring a bell. That’s because, up until June 2018, it was known as American Traffic Solutions. Under that brand, it built big market positions in its respective areas of work and integrated its technology with all but a couple tolling authorities in the U.S.

Though the majority of its business is in the private sector, Verra’s government work includes red light cameras, speeding cameras and handheld radar guns for law enforcement.

It’s using that existing relationship network to launch a new app for drivers, called Peasy, that lets users pay for tolls without needing to do anything as long as the tolling checkpoint they’re passing through uses license plate-reading cameras.

Drivers take a picture of their license plate and then give the app a credit card. Then, if they pass through a camera-equipped tolling station, the tolling authority will read the driver’s license plate, find it in Verra’s database and charge the card on file. Because the company has already integrated with most tolling authorities, that means it should work in most places.

That’s in addition to the company’s established work with transponders. Roberts framed Peasy as complementary.

“People will say, ‘Hey, I don’t want to use a transponder’ or ‘I want to pay as I go instead of pre-pay,’” he said. “This gives them the option to do that.”

Roberts also sees Peasy — which is free to download, but charges a subscription for use — as an early-stage app. Where the company has mostly worked with governments and commercial fleets in the past, he said Peasy is its entry into the direct-to-consumer market. Verra might use the app to start integrating with Department of Motor Vehicle processes, or it might look into how it can use the app for parking or fuel.

“There’s an opportunity to become a consolidated place for drivers and vehicles and to make things as easy as possible,” Roberts said.

Editor's note: This story was corrected to clarify Roberts' description of Peasy, as well as the timeline of GTY Holdings' merger deal.

Ben Miller is the associate editor of data and business for Government Technology. His reporting experience includes breaking news, business, community features and technical subjects. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in journalism from the Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno, and lives in Sacramento, Calif.