GovDelivery expands government communications offering with Textizen acquisition

Textizen co-founder and then Code for America Fellow Michelle Lee post Textizen signs around Philadelphia. (Photo: Code for America

Textizen co-founder and then Code for America Fellow Michelle Lee posts Textizen signs around Philadelphia. (Photo: Code for America

(See disclosures related to this post)

Government communications platform GovDelivery announced today it has acquired the civic engagement text messaging service Textizen to “promote citizen action, engagement, and behavior change.”

Textizen enables governments to launch mobile campaigns soliciting input via text messages with administration, dashboard and visualization tools that allow for monitoring and subsequent engagement.

Textizen started as a 2012 Code for America project in Philadelphia and subsequently participated in the Code for America incubator program. It was also a Knight Foundation as a Knight News Challenge winner.

“The Textizen team has demonstrated that it can use interactive text messaging technology and creative problem solving to help improve government and engage citizens,” said GovDelivery CEO Scott Burns in a prepared statement. “Textizen’s capabilities allow us to help government succeed in the critical area of driving individuals to take action.”

GovDelivery has produced a government-focused text messaging guide and will host a webinar on August 19.

GovDelivery recently acquired open source software-as-a-service provider NuCivic in December to expand its government open data offerings.

An investment in the future of government technology

Full disclosure: I have a financial arrangement with the companies discussed in this post.

For the past 15 years, I’ve spent much of my professional life working with and in startups. It’s an environment I love. You have complete control over your destiny, and you win by blending the perfect amalgam of people, design, technology, strategy and execution all into one mission.

And, you hustle. You hustle hard, because you’re driven by a common mission and have the unified audacity to try and make it work.

Many, many times — more often than not — it doesn’t work. Startups are like restaurants. They fail frequently and not in the “fail forward” sense of the phrase. But, when they succeed and move to the next level — rapid customer or revenue growth, acquisition or initial public offering — the sense of entrepreneurial accomplishment and camaraderie is special.

With the announcement of GovDelivery’s acquisition of NuCivic, it feels much like that. I’ve been lucky enough to be privy to the inside operations and success of three government technology-focused startups, and this has been the most rewarding — the leadership, team, mission and the outcome.

For me personally, it’s been an honor to have worked closely with NuCivic CEO and co-founder Andrew Hoppin, and the entire NuCivic team.

I recently had the opportunity to spend a few hours talking one-on-one with GovDelivery CEO Scott Burns about the possibility of an acquisition, what it would mean for NuCivic and learn more about his business philosophy and him as a leader and person. After I left our meeting, it was clear this was the right move for both Scott and Andrew (and Andrew’s co-founder Sheldon Rampton), and the GovDelivery and NuCivic teams.

The GovDelivery-NuCivic acquisition represents a growing trend towards open source options in government that will soon be the norm. It’s a strong sign that civic technology sustainability is within the community’s reach. We see it in this instance, we see other companies in the industry following suit, and we’ll see it more and more, especially as innovators inside government continue to drive demand to open solutions that are best for the taxpayer and the citizen.

As Scott wrote, “We are glad to have them on board and know that they share our passion for serving government clients and the public.”

That passion, to build software that fully empowers government, is the glue that will continue to drive the NuCivic team.

There’s still a ton of heavy-lifting to make NuCivic the success envisioned, but this new phase is an inspiration for those of you who believe that the future of government technology, and delivery, is open.

For more on the acquisition and the future of NuCivic, see Andrew’s post here, Scott’s here, and the official press release here.

Gov 2.0 Radio: Growing GovLoop





Growing GovLoop: It was a big week for Gov 2.0 Radio co-host Steve Ressler, as his social network, GovLoop, joined G2C communications provider GovDelivery and Steve left the feds to manage the community full time. As GovLoop nears 20,000 members, we discuss how real collaboration between local, state and federal govies is catalyzing reform. Hear about new developments and initiatives on the network that’s helping make Gov 2.0 a reality. Joining the discussion will be Scott Burns of GovDelivery; Meghan Harvey, co-producer of Gov 2.0 Radio and new media producer for; and Gov 2.0 Radio co-host and GovTwit founder Steve Lunceford. More Gov 2.0 Radio »