With upcoming move to Austin, Esper preps to make state governments more tech-savvy

by Kelly O'Halloran
April 24, 2018
esper govtech
photo via shutterstock.

You’d think state governments would have some type of digital system in place to record data throughout the regulatory process, right?

While serving as president of the nonprofit, Argive, a San Francisco-based organization that provides free tech resources to government bodies, Maleka Momand realized that’s not quite the case.

“There isn’t a lot of tech infrastructure in place to capture data around regulation, and there’s no workflow tools for government to manage these processes,” said Momand, who today is the co-founder of a govtech startup called Esper. “Often these processes are very complex and include nine-step, back-and-forth processes that are being managed over email, Excel spreadsheets and even hard copies, in some cases.”

Through Esper, Momand and co-founders Joe Lonsdale,  Lilli Oetting and Jason Mirra hope to fix that. The company launched from San Francisco earlier this year — and is relocating to Austin early this summer.

The move, she said, is motivated by the city’s rich tech sector and pool of civic-minded citizens. 

Traditionally, Silicon Valley has been considered the hub for technology, but more and more we’re seeing the technology community in Austin is realized here, and we’re excited to join it and contribute.” 

“Traditionally, Silicon Valley has been considered the hub for technology, but more and more we’re seeing the technology community in Austin is realized here, and we’re excited to join it and contribute.”

Esper’s platform integrates a jurisdiction’s regulatory data and organizes it in a visually friendly dashboard based on department, upcoming expirations and repeals. Once the data is imported, government employees can work together across the system to research, revise and benchmark policy rules against other state and federal laws. Esper then tracks and highlights each update along the way.

Once a regulation is finalized, Esper continues to collect data and draw insights to help lawmakers determine whether their policies are achieving the intended outcomes.

“We realized we needed to create a system of record, a digital way to capture all of this data to begin recording it and extracting insights from it so that it can help the government and public become knowledgeable about regulation,” said Momand. “This will make it easier for governments to see five to 10 years down the line if policies are really working.”

While the platform supports city, state and federal jurisdictions, Esper is primarily focused on supporting governments at the state level.

The team plans to expand its team from five core members to nearly 10. The plan is to bring on three to five engineers, one to two designers and one to two customer support reps.

“We’ll be looking for candidates who are mission driven and who can empathize with our government users,” said Momand. 

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