ArchiveSocial

e.Republic expands model to venture capitalism, funds first startup

Government media and events company e.Republic is expanding its business operations to include funding civic-focused startups, in hopes of leveraging its Rolodex of government officials to help serve as a channel for sales and marketing to those ventures it supports.

e.Republic’s first beneficiary of the new strategy is ArchiveSocial, a social media archiving service that targets government agencies to help meet records retention policies. The company also makes the archives searchable to the public, as it has done for cities like North Carolina and Austin.

“Too often, new companies with great solutions to public-sector problems don’t have the resources, know-how and reach to truly scale,” e.Republic CEO Dennis McKenna said in a press release announcing the $1 million round of funding that includes capital and marketing services. “We’re launching e.Republic Ventures to help companies with exciting public-sector solutions overcome these hurdles and win in the government market.”

According McKenna, on the e.Republic Labs website, e.Republic Ventures is “an accelerator to assist select early-stage companies go to market with their game-changing solutions.”

e.Republic was founded 30 years ago by McKenna and operates a number of media properties, including Government Technology and Governing, as well as the research and consulting services operations Center for Digital Government. It also hosts numerous local events annually that connect government officials with sponsoring vendors.

The announcement of the direction corresponded with the appointment of Dustin Haisler as e.Republic chief innovation officer and head of e.Republic Labs. Haisler joined eRepublic in April.

Given that the challenge for most early-stage government and civic-focused startups is gaining credibility within government and then breaking through procurement red tape, e.Republic’s new direction should prove useful and lucrative for those companies it supports.

ArchiveSocial helps keep government social media on the record books

ArchiveSocial

GovFresh highlights the products and start-ups powering the civic revolution. Learn how you can get featured.

What

ArchiveSocial

Give us the 140-character elevator pitch.

ArchiveSocial enables public sector organizations to embrace social media by minimizing risk and eliminating compliance barriers.

What problem does ArchiveSocial solve for government?

Laws requiring “freedom of information”, and hence record retention, are critical for government transparency. Governments at all levels are struggling with social media records, and most are non-compliant. It is often cited as a top 5 technology issue, and many public entities are limiting usage or refraining from social media entirely.

ArchiveSocial eliminates the compliance risk that is (a) preventing some government agencies, especially at the municipal level, from having any social media presence, and (b) preventing those agencies that do have social media accounts from fully engaging with citizens and not just using these platforms as one-way communications tools.

Citizens benefit from increased engagement with their government, and the promise of government transparency (i.e. freedom of information) being fulfilled.

What’s the story behind starting ArchiveSocial?

In 2011, Anil Chawla was developing consumer social media applications when he stumbled upon the idea for ArchiveSocial. It was clear that social media had become an “official” communication channel for most businesses and government agencies, but that these organizations were struggling with record keeping.

He originally intended ArchiveSocial for private businesses in regulated industries, but while talking to a friend at a brewery, heard that some government colleagues were copying and pasting tweets in order to satisfy open records requirements. As it often happens with beer, he had a eureka moment: retention of social media records was becoming a major pain-point across the public sector, and ArchiveSocial had exactly the right technology to solve it.

ArchiveSocial started a pilot archive with the North Carolina State Archives — a leader in digital preservation efforts — in early 2012, and soon after we began reaching out to municipal governments. Within a year, ArchiveSocial had acquired state & local government customers across more than a dozen US states and was archiving social media for federal agencies such as U.S. National Archives. We also worked with government partners such as North Carolina, South Carolina and the City of Austin to launch Open Archives of their social media records. The strong need for our technology, and the overwhelmingly positive response in government, inspired us to focus on the public sector and ultimately led us to joining the Code for America accelerator this year.

What are its key features?

ArchiveSocial is a robust social media archiving solution that goes well beyond a simple data capture to ensure that records are maintained in a forensically sound fashion. It archives additional content related to the record such as high-resolution photos and background images. It preserves relationships between records and ensures that the necessary context is maintained in the archive. Most importantly, ArchiveSocial is designed so that government agencies can easily locate and make sense of the records when they need them.

ArchiveSocial is a pure SaaS solution, and allows any sized organization to start archiving in minutes with zero IT deployment.

What are the costs, pricing plans?

Customers pay based on the number of records they produce in a month, starting at $49 per month for up to 100 records. We offer a free 30 day trial (no credit card required) on our website.

How can those interested connect with you?

Video