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GovDelivery Acquires NuCivic for Open Data Addition to its Engagement Tools

The government Web traffic provider GovDelivery purchases the Drupal-based open data startup NüCivic to enhance its SaaS offerings.

A new acquisition by the government traffic driver GovDelivery hopes to marry open data with its suite of communication services.

On Dec. 17, the St. Paul, Minn., company GovDelivery announced it acquired the open data platform provider NüCivic — a deal strategized to complement its notification and engagement platform that relies heavily on email, text messaging and social media for its more than 1,000 government clients and network of more than 70 million users worldwide. While financial details were not disclosed, GovDelivery’s CEO and Co-founder Scott Burns said interest stemmed from open data’s rising pull in government and NüCivic’s development expertise in Drupal, an open source website content management system embraced by many city and state departments.

“We were just extraordinarily impressed with Andrew and his team’s vision for taking the use of Drupal to the next level by building powerful applications on top of it that governments could take advantage of for managing open data and collaboration,” Burns said.

Despite the ownership change, NüCivic will keep its leadership and continue services under former CEO Andrew Hoppin. Through the partnership, intentions are to expand the company’s presence in the public sector with NuCivic’s trademark suite of SaaS products, as the company is known for its open data management tools and platforms for app stores and civic hackathons.

Hoppin said the company had initially considered raising capital to grow business independently, but after talks with Burns, it was clear expansion would be quickened with access to GovDelivery’s clients, more than 100 of which have sites already built with Drupal. In addition, he said GovDelivery’s background in procurement made the offer mutually beneficial.

“Growing a big-, significant-scale business in the public sector is hard, it’s a complicated thing, you have to know your way around procurement and you have to know how to deal with the fact governments sometimes take a good long while to pay your bills,” Hoppin said. “GovDelivery has such a phenomenal track record of building a fantastic business and serving governments at scale.”

Burns said another strategic benefit to its citizen engagement services comes through retention. Previously, the functions of GovDelivery were isolated to driving traffic to government websites — such clients including notable organizations such as the IRS, FEMA and U.S. Small Business Administration. Now, through the open data services, the company has an additional measure of control to retain traffic after it arrives.

“After we drive traffic back into a website, we can make sure that experience is really positive and robust and more integrated into what we do,” Burns said.

Jason Shueh is a former staff writer for Government Technology magazine.