Google | October 23, 2020
Google Cloud announced today that it has secured a Framework Agreement for Secure Cloud from the Canadian federal government. This agreement now enables Google Cloud to directly sell innovative cloud platform and collaboration technologies to federal agencies, helping them digitally transform and better serve their communities and constituents. To secure this framework, Google Cloud was assessed by the Canadian federal government against all relevant security, privacy, and usability standards. While Google Cloud already works with several Canadian federal government agencies, the new agreement will permit Google Cloud to better support a wide range of federal departments, agencies, and crown corporations.
Granicus | August 26, 2021
Granicus, the leading provider of cloud-based digital experience solutions for the public sector, today announced the acquisition of GovQA, the nation’s leading provider of public records and compliance workflow solutions for government.
With the addition of GovQA, Granicus continues to extend the capabilities of its Civic Engagement Platform, helping government officials deliver consistent, unified digital experiences to their communities while automating, streamlining and transforming internal process workflows.
“Governments are experiencing a massive influx of records requests filed by the public, corporations, and media; with some seeing a 500% increase in requests and even greater increases in the resources needed to fulfill these requests compared to only a few years ago,” said Mark Hynes, CEO of Granicus. “These trends have correlated with the public’s interest in pandemic response, an increase in social tensions and an overall erosion of government trust. Local and State government agencies have the opportunity to re-shape the trust narrative by embracing digital civic engagement and experience solutions that consistently demonstrate government transparency, efficiency, responsiveness, equity, empathy and reliance on truth. GovQA is an important and powerful addition to the Granicus platform that amplifies our customers’ ability to support healthy communities through deeper transparency, engagement and connection, while ensuring they remain compliant with their state’s unique regulations.”
Access to public records is a vital pillar in the foundation of government trust. In many cases, fulfillment controls, processes and timeline compliance rules are mandated by local, state and federal regulations—such as the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)—to drive consistency, reliability and faith in the process. But request fulfillment can be incredibly fragmented, complex and time-consuming for government officials—making their ability to remain compliant and meet public expectations a serious challenge, with the introduction of new data streams such as police body camera footage, social media posts, and smart cities technologies only making it more difficult. According to GovQA’s recent research, public records fulfillment and compliance complexity has increased 150% over the last three years alone.
“Governments today are inundated with information requests. As volume continues to skyrocket, and requests become increasingly complex, traditional public records processes are no longer able to satisfy these demands,” said Tim Callahan, CEO of GovQA. “The stakes for governments are way too high to do this poorly or below standards; it’s why hundreds of government agencies have turned to GovQA to help them drive the efficiency and compliance required in today’s environment. And now, as part of Granicus, public records request management can more seamlessly be integrated into a government’s overall digital approach to community transparency, engagement, communications and workflow management.”
GovQA has a proven track record of transforming public records management to make government processes simpler, easier and more transparent. To date, they’ve completed millions of information requests for nearly 800 government customers. With their public request compliance automation solution, GovQA offers:
Enhanced efficiency: Information requests have grown significantly in recent years, and many governments have yet to invest in purpose-built automation solutions to help manage the influx —forcing them to rely on manual processes, spreadsheets or other tools ill-equipped to support increased volumes and compliance requirements. As a result, requests can take weeks or months to fulfill, creating a poor community experience and putting agencies at risk of compliance failures. GovQA overhauls and automates these processes, creating a fast, intuitive workflow that saves government personnel valuable time, ensures they remain in compliance, and delivers a positive community experience.
Redundant request matching: GovQA’s software provides patented tools to quickly identify redundant requests, enabling residents to get fast access to the information they requested without requiring government personnel to unnecessarily duplicate time-consuming work.
Risk mitigation: Governments have a legal responsibility to provide access to public information while protecting certain personal, private information. Through increased workflow automation, proprietary private information redaction technologies, and a digital audit trail, GovQA makes it possible for governments to remain compliant with public record laws while delivering on public requests at speed.
Flexible customization: GovQA offers highly-configurable, no-code technology that enables government personnel to create custom workflows built for their unique needs. Agencies can securely collect and control time sensitive information within, across and outside government boundaries—eliminating silos, increasing efficiency, ensuring compliance and reducing the most common record request redundancies.
Cost recovery: Many regulations governing public requests allow for agencies to charge fees to help cover the high costs of request fulfillment; GovQA with Granicus supports a variety of charge models and payment processing capabilities for funds capture.
In combination with Granicus’ Civic Engagement Platform, GovQA accelerates Granicus' vision for intelligent, connected digital government experiences for both government agencies and officials, and the communities they serve.
Today, more than 5,500 governments worldwide partner with Granicus to power their digital communications, public participation, online services, and agenda & public records management, all from a single cloud platform purpose-built for today's modern government.
Shea & Company served as the exclusive financial advisor for GovQA.
Granicus connects governments with the people they serve by providing the first and only civic engagement platform for the public sector. Over 5,500 government agencies, including 850 state departments, and more than 250 million citizen subscribers power an unmatched Subscriber Network that turns government missions into quantifiable results. With comprehensive cloud-based solutions for communications, government website design, meeting and agenda management software, records management, and digital services, Granicus empowers stronger relationships between government and residents across the U.S., U.K., Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. By simplifying interactions with residents, while disseminating critical information, Granicus brings governments closer to the people they serve—driving meaningful change for communities around the globe.
GovQA is the leading provider of cloud-based SaaS automated workflow solutions for government compliance. Customers use our software to more easily process and manage public records and information requests. GovQA combines trusted tools and security, proven government expertise, and a scalable platform that enables cities, counties, and state agencies to securely collect and control time-sensitive information. GovQA’s proprietary Peers in Public Records (PiPR) Index is the only index that tracks trends in public records for state and local governments.
Academy of Robotics | March 16, 2022
Academy of Robotics, a high-growth British autonomous vehicle and robotic technology company, announces it has launched its pre-series A fundraising which will be accessible to all individuals. The fundraise will provide an opportunity for professional and retail investors to participate in pioneering autonomous technology that has a proven application in last-mile logistics and to invest in a company which already has a fully-licensed, custom-built autonomous vehicle (AV) on the roads in the UK.
Academy of Robotics developed its first AV, the Kar-go Delivery Bot, using proceeds from an initial crowdfunding round in 2017. The company successfully proved its complete self-driving delivery technology in road trials with the Royal Air Force (RAF) in September 2021. The trials focused on last-mile airbase logistics, supporting RAF personnel by using the Kar-go Delivery Bot to run delivery errands around the UK's largest airbase at Brize Norton, Oxfordshire.
As part of the company's current £20 million investment round, Academy of Robotics has already secured a £1 million investment and, in April 2021, it received a further £1 million in match-funding through the UK government's Future Fund scheme. The scheme (which has now closed for applications) aims to support UK-based companies, subject to at least equal match-funding from private investors.
With the first £2 million secured, the company has now allocated at least £1 million of its total £20 million pre-series A fundraise to retail investors using Crowdcube's nominee service. Academy of Robotics is the first British autonomous vehicle company to launch a pre-series A fundraise on Crowdcube at this stage of proven development, based on data provided by Beauhurst and Crowdcube.
The pre-series A funding will be used to scale-up production of its electric AV technology, which will facilitate opportunities for retail investors to directly benefit from the company's growth and accelerated expansion. This includes Academy of Robotics opening a new factory and test-track facility in a rural location in the East of England, which will create at least 100 new jobs by 2023, including skilled work and technological development opportunities.
Having achieved so much since our last fundraise, we are excited to launch our next round, offering the community of individual investors a chance to participate in the high-growth autonomous vehicle and robotic technology space in the UK. As we support the UK competing for its rightful share of the global AV sector, we can, at the same time, alleviate some of society's challenges, including supply chain pressures and air pollution.”
William Sachiti, CEO and Founder of Academy of Robotics
"The UK government's Future Fund investment has provided us with a valuable funding injection following a challenging couple of years for high-growth technology start-ups, which will allow us to make the critical investments we need to scale to the next level at pace and stay ahead in this highly competitive, fast-moving autonomous vehicle space."
Kar-go was first manufactured in partnership with a classic-car specialist in West Sussex and in collaboration with a British former F1 car designer. This demonstrates the talent that exists within the British automotive industry and its willingness to combine with British expertise in AI technology.
Minister for Investment Lord Grimstone said: "The UK is a world leader in the development of automated vehicles and we are working closely with industry to ensure we remain one of the best locations in the world for automotive innovation, providing jobs across the country. Today's announcement demonstrates our commitment to encouraging the growth of high potential British technology companies, and I look forward to seeing Academy of Robotics go from strength to strength as we build back better."
William Sachiti commented: "The UK has been a great environment to develop our innovative, autonomous robotic technology. The supportive regulatory environment means that with the approval of one body – the DVLA – we can test our vehicles across the UK, which has seen us already successfully trialling Kar-go in diverse, real-life road conditions. The UK's well-established crowdfunding scene means we have largely developed as a community-funded enterprise, which is so important for responsible innovation in the AV sector rather than face pressures to 'move fast and break things'."
Alongside its core focus on last mile logistics, Academy of Robotics recognises other use cases where its vision and robotic technology can solve wider challenges for the UK, if not globally.
The Kar-go Delivery Bots have been certified as roadworthy by the DVLA. Having commenced trials on UK roads (in Hounslow) in November 2020, Academy of Robotics has since expanded its trials to include Surrey and South London. In the first Hounslow road trials, the company used its contact-free self-driving technology to deliver medicines during the pandemic and Academy of Robotics is now working on further developments in medical logistics.
About the Future Fund
The Future Fund was established to support the UK's innovative businesses currently affected by Covid-19. These businesses have been unable to access other government business support programmes, such as CBILS, because they are either pre-revenue or pre-profit and typically rely on equity investment. The Future Fund, now closed to new applications, provides eligible companies with convertible loans, on the condition that private investors at least match the government's commitment. The convertible loans are designed to convert into equity at the next qualifying funding round. The Future Fund is developed by the government and delivered by the British Business Bank.
About Academy of Robotics
Academy of Robotics is a technology company which specialises in R&D to create technology to perform or simplify complex tasks. Combining the best techniques from machine learning and mechatronics, Academy of Robotics builds powerful self-adapting machines and task specific artificially intelligent software.
The team of leading engineers, scientists, and researchers were the first company to build and deploy a custom-built self-driving car and operating system on the roads in the UK. The project is known as Kar-go.
CEO, serial entrepreneur, William Sachiti set up the company in 2017 together with Dr. Elio Tuci as well as lead engineer Dr Aparajit Narayan when they met at Aberystwyth University, the home of the team who developed the intelligent vision system for the autonomous Mars rover. Prior to enrolling at Aberystwyth, William Sachiti had already successfully exited two businesses to major brands, including Secret Escapes. William was named "Disruptor of the Year" in the Great British Entrepreneur Awards this year.