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February 2018

Seneca Systems Empowers Local Government with New Constituent Services Platform; Secures $3.5 Million Seed Financing

By | Press Release

Company Has Raised $5 Million to Date. First Software Built from Ground Up for Government Workers, Romulus, Is Used by Offices Across the United States and Is Now Generally Available

 

Redwood City, Calif. — February 27, 2018 — Seneca Systems, a provider of purpose-built software for government workers, announced today the public launch of Romulus, its flagship Constituent Services Platform. Romulus is already helping offices in Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Oakland, and others get more done, in less time, to greater constituent appreciation.

Government workers carry a heavy workload, in many cases splitting responsibility for hundreds of thousands of constituents with just one or two team members. This bandwidth challenge is not new, but it is being exacerbated by an increasing number of communication channels used by constituents conditioned to expect instant customer service. Designed so that nothing slips through the cracks despite the huge workload government workers carry, Romulus centralizes communications, streamlines service delivery, and reports on constituent sentiments and work performed—to rave reviews from offices using Romulus in production today.

“Traditionally, managing the flow of constituent service requests is an incredibly resource-intensive challenge, especially if you want to make sure every constituent is heard. Keeping track of requests from constituents across channels and the process of managing, tracking, and ensuring completion—not to mention an ability to look back and analyze results—can be faulty, in spite of your best efforts,” said Tressa Feher, Chief of Staff for James Cappleman, Alderman for Chicago’s 46th Ward. “Romulus offered an intuitive way to streamline these operations and we’ve been able to process thousands of constituent communications and save a quarter of our work week that would have been spent manually managing requests. Perhaps best of all, because we’re able to process requests more efficiently, our constituents are happier and more engaged.”

Funding to Accelerate Growth

Seneca also announced that it has secured $3.5 million in seed funding, bringing the total raised to date to more than $5 million. The funding round was led by Initialized Capital, with participation from Cowboy Ventures, Govtech Fund, and Y Combinator.

This financing establishes Seneca Systems as a pioneer in constituent services and sets the stage for mainstream adoption of Constituent Services Platforms (CSP) among forward-thinking government organizations. Further, it establishes Seneca Systems’ leadership in what many believe is the most important wave of local government technology for the next decade—the move to CSPs for ingesting and managing vast quantities of constituent communications and service requests.

“Every day, government workers do without the resources and appreciation their important work deserves. They have to deal with too much: communications arriving from too many channels, maze-like processes for fulfilling constituent requests, and a dangerous lack of visibility into operational efficiency.

For too long, the vendor community has responded with hard-to-use, hard-to-purchase private sector software,” said Nick DeMonner, co-founder and CEO at Seneca Systems. “Romulus is different; it’s designed specifically for government workers—and that’s why so many love it. This injection of capital, combined with accelerated adoption in a number of cities, will enable us to scale operations and deliver on our vision of helping government workers.”

“Seneca Systems’ early success illustrates a hunger among government workers for constituent services-focused software that addresses some of their most persistent and painful operational challenges,” said Garry Tan, Managing Partner at Initialized Capital. “Led by a dedicated team passionate about helping government workers and their communities, Seneca is poised to become a category leader in a burgeoning new space. We are excited to lead this round of funding and partner with the company as it grows.”

Seneca Systems will use the funding to drive further government adoption of its cloud-based software; promote the CSP market; expand its services and support capabilities; and scale its field and engineering organizations.

Constituent Services Platforms: Technology For 21st Century Government

Industry analysts differ on the total size of the nascent constituent services market, but they agree that with more than 35,000 municipalities in the United States alone, it’s significant and growing rapidly. Service requests arrive via an ever-increasing number of channels, from social media, email, web forms, forums, apps, phone, walk-ins, to SMS. Managing communications and delivering on the services requested is a huge task for government workers, who are under increasing pressure to act quickly despite no significant increase in resources and support.

“The tension between government worker bandwidth and the constant need to provide service to constituents is not new, but in the on-demand era of Amazon Prime, Netflix, and Seamless, the ‘consumer constituent’ now places ever-higher expectations on the government, its responsiveness, delivery time, and effectiveness at providing service. Yet, even as government workers do their best to ensure constituents are happy, the software industry hasn’t evolved to help them. Sadly, this results in too many constituents feeling dissatisfied or frustrated with their local government leaders,” said Kirk Talbott, Executive Director, Smart City Program in a major East Coast city.

Conventionally, government workers relied on pen and paper or spreadsheets to manually record requests and then pass each one to the appropriate department, leaving room for error or loss, and making it impossible to track through to completion. Some software, such as customer relationship management (CRMs), have been shoehorned to help government workers find relief from some of the most painful and resource-intensive tasks—but since these technologies were built for fundamentally different workflows, they end up incurring significant overhead and fail to meet government’s unique needs.

Romulus empowers government workers to:

  • Centralize, track, and facilitate every constituent interaction and request —  Romulus consolidates all communications into a single actionable feed, meaning that government departments can ensure that every issue and request receives attention.
  • Keep the workflow that they are used to — Romulus is designed to fit into government workers’ existing workflows and help them get more done; it doesn’t require governments to build new tools or for its workers to learn a new process.
  • Try with zero risk — Romulus is available to governments on a month-to-month basis without a contract, vastly reducing the time, cost, and lock-in associated with procurement and deployment of traditional technology solutions.

The market to date has failed to address the core problems that local government workers face every day as they meet the needs of their communities.

“We have been so impressed by Seneca’s mission to serve a large and vastly underserved market—local government workers—who have been forced to use pen and paper and legacy, inefficient, and hard-to-use software to do their jobs,” said Aileen Lee, Founder and Partner, Cowboy Ventures. “Seneca enables government workers to serve their constituents with modern, easy-to-use technology. In doing so, they’re validating a much-needed technology and helping customers from coast to coast. We’re thrilled to be a part of this round of financing and look forward to the company’s continued success.”

With the launch of Romulus, Seneca Systems aims to not only meet the needs of government workers, but lay the groundwork for further investment by vendors in new technologies that do the same. By doing so, the Seneca team hopes to take government technology from underserved to served by the best.

“Seneca Systems strengthens the crucial bond between government and its people,” said Ron Bouganim, Managing Partner of the Govtech Fund. “In doing so, we expect it to kick off a new wave of interest in government technology by customers, investors, and beyond. We’re excited to be a part of Seneca System’s growth as they continue to evolve the role of government in today’s communities.”

About Initialized Capital

Initialized Capital is an early-stage venture firm based in San Francisco that has $250 million under management and was among the earliest backers of Coinbase, Instacart and Patreon, among dozens of other startups. It was founded by Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian and longtime Y Combinator partner Garry Tan.

About Seneca Systems

Seneca Systems is the software startup on a mission to strengthen the vital bond between governments and people. The company is pioneering constituent service-centered software for government with Romulus, its flagship Constituent Services Platform (CSP). Romulus centralizes constituent communications, streamlines service requests, and provides insights into constituent sentiments and work performed. Customers across the country depend on Romulus, including offices in Chicago, Houston, Miami, San Rafael, and many more. Founded in Silicon Valley in 2014, Seneca Systems is backed by leading venture firms, including Cowboy Ventures, the Govtech Fund, Initialized Capital, and Y Combinator. Learn more at www.senecagov.com.

Contact info:

Aaron Endre

Press@senecagov.com

Meet Romulus, Government’s First Constituent Services Platform

By | Demo | No Comments

Romulus is the leader in constituent services, and the end of hard-to-use, hard-to-implement, and hard-to-purchase private sector software retrofitted for government.  It’s a software platform that government workers use to do more with less overhead, and to more constituent applause. Romulus centralizes constituent communications, streamlines service management, and reports on constituent trends and work performed. Watch the demo video to learn more, and contact Seneca to learn more.

We’re Seneca. Nice to meet you!

By | Featured

Hello, world. We’re Seneca Systems. It’s nice to meet you!

3 years ago, inspired by the amazing work that local governments do, we set out to identify their hair-on-fire problem and address it.

Today, we’re nationally launching our Constituent Services Platform, Romulus—and we’re pretty sure it does just that. I’m here to share why this problem is important, and how we’re helping cities address it.

Every day in cities everywhere, government workers are serving constituents without the resources—and appreciation—their important work deserves. That government workers are overworked and underserved is not a secret, but a few recent developments have made these challenges even tougher.

First, the number of ways that constituents have to get in touch with government has exploded. No longer limited to in-person visits and phone calls, constituents are texting, emailing, Facebooking, Twitter DMing, and more—creating a tidal wave of communications to address. Second, modern “consumer constituents” have ever-higher expectations of response times and service delivery, used as they are to Amazon Prime, Netflix, and Seamless—but government workers have the same old tools available to meet these expectations: pens, Post-Its, and spreadsheets.

Without tools to support them, teams have to work unimaginably hard to manage communications across dozens of channels, navigate maze-like processes for fulfilling constituent requests, and continue on with virtually no visibility into constituent opinions on major issues and any of the work they’ve performed.

The result is a set of dedicated, capable, and organized government workers—who, despite these qualities developed in strenuous circumstances, still end up with disappointed and aggravated constituents.

Software can help these workers! But the vendor community has responded with hard-to-use, hard-to-implement, and hard-to-purchase software sold on long-term contracts that create a lot of risk for cities who buy them. Many of these technologies also retrofit private sector software to fit the government workflow rather than building something from the ground up.

And so, Romulus was born. Constituent Services Platforms are software that government workers use to do more with less overhead, and to more constituent applause. Romulus centralizes all constituent communications into Inbox, a single view for phone calls, emails, social media messages, walk-ins, web forms, and more (it even enables text messaging!). It organizes Service Requests across departments as they are processed. It tracks Community Issues, offering insight into constituent comments on major issues in their communities. And once work is done, Analytics illuminates unseen trends, victories, and issues for government workers and leadership.

Nearly 30 cities leverage Romulus to manage their day-to-day constituent work, using it in Departments of Public Works, City Councils, Parks and Recreation, Mayoral offices, Police Departments, City Manager offices, and more. And because these are real, paying customers they’ve tested Romulus to its limits, giving critical feedback and playing a huge role in building a Constituent Services Platform that not only works, but actually helps them put the fire in their hair out. We’re grateful to these leading cities for investing in our relationship and for delivering such amazing constituent services. Without them, we wouldn’t be ready to rock with Romulus rolling out in cities across the country.

Their willingness to let us into the trenches with them has had a special side effect: Attracting some of the best and brightest talent Silicon Valley has to offer. The Senecan team today is small but mighty, and is dedicated to taking government from underserved to “served by the best”. It’s this team and their passion that attracted our standout investors, who just joined us in our $3.5 million Series Seed. With this capital, and with the amazing cities using Romulus every day, we are ready to take on 2018.

We have a message to the dedicated government folks out there hustling: we’re here to serve. We can’t wait to meet each and every one of you.

Best,
Nick

Meet our friends in Chicago.

By | Case Study | No Comments

Alderman James Cappleman represents the 46th Ward of the City of Chicago (“Ward 46”), anchored by a powerhouse team led by Chief of Staff Tressa Feher. Ward 46 is a diverse and bustling district that covers parts of the Uptown Historic District, Buena Park, and Lakeview…

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