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Inside Socrata's headquarters in Pioneer Square
Inside Socrata’s headquarters in Pioneer Square

Seattle startup Socrata is surging ahead after landing $30 million in fresh capital, according to an SEC filing. The filing — which lists Jai Das of Sapphire Ventures (formerly SAP Ventures) and Scott Maxwell of OpenView Venture Partners as directors — indicates that the company could raise a total of $35 million.

Kevin Merritt
Kevin Merritt

Socrata landed $18 million from OpenView Venture Partners, Morgenthaler Ventures and Frazier Technology Partners last year. At the time of that deal, the company employed just 48 people.

But the company, which is developing cloud-based offerings for open government that help drive transparency and greater civic engagement, has undergone a hiring boom in the past few months. The company now employs 140 people at its Pioneer Square offices, and it’s looking for bigger space.

Socrata CEO Kevin Merritt said the financing closed a few weeks ago, and that company plans to make a formal announcement about the venture round next Tuesday. The filing does not list a valuation on the company.

Originally started as the online database Blist, Merritt changed the company’s name to Socrata in 2009, completing a pivot into the open government niche. The transformation has worked, with Socrata’s software now being used by more than 200 customers in the open government realm. The cloud-based tools help unlock data that was typically challenging for government workers to locate. Customers include the cities of New York, Chicago, and San Francisco, as well as U.S. Health and Human Services and the World Bank.

Socrata also recently expanded to Europe, inking deals with four cities in Spain.

“Open data adoption and usage is exploding in governments – big and small – all over the world,” Merritt said at the time of the press announcement. “Open data has gone mainstream. It’s a viral movement that’s now unstoppable. And, as the lifeblood of connected global networks, it’s improving the lives of people on just about every continent.”

According to a report by Socrata last month, governments that utilize open data initiatives see increases in economic development, business formation and jobs. Fifty nine percent of respondents also said that the open government efforts have helped to boost tax revenues.

Merritt founded Socrata in 2007. He previously started email archiving service MessageRite, which was sold to FrontBridge Technologies in 2004. One year later Microsoft acquired FrontBridge, and Merritt worked at Microsoft for two years.

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