Following Explora Partners’ acquisition of BasicGov, Managing Partners Jake Dancyger and Cyrus Symoom have been appointed as the company’s new Co-CEOs.
Together, they envision big things for the company - and the focus remains on serving their customers. In fact, they have already increased this year’s investment in customer success, product development and partner management, and have announced a learning and development budget for all BasicGov staff.
“I think they will reinvigorate the focus of the company. They're taking the vision that was in place and are adding velocity to it -- with both investment and their personal drive. I think that's great for our employees and for the business,” explained Mike Togyi, President and Chief Strategy Officer at BasicGov.
While the BasicGov team has proven their ability to innovate and compete against even their largest competitors in the market, improving government efficiencies and challenges is no easy task. This is where Jake and Cyrus’ expertise on growth, scaling companies and business leadership comes in.
“The goal moving forward is accelerating upon our success; focusing on our customers while building out our sales and marketing efforts to make sure that governments get to see and experience the value of our product” said Mike.
Mike on his decision
With a decade of experience at BasicGov, Mike started at the company as VP of Sales and Marketing, and after 4 years, climbed the ranks to become CEO. Since then, he’s been growing the company in the public sector space until 18 months ago, when he recognized it was a good time to have new investment in the business.
“There has been significant aggregation of government technology solutions, and after years of effort from the team, we were well-positioned in the market to do some great things,” explained Mike. “It was a great time to find new investors and see if we could grow our business and product reach even further.”
Mike will continue to be a key leader in the organization in his new role as President and Chief Strategy Officer. While Mike believes that BasicGov will thrive under this new leadership, he also wants to ease customer’s minds about the future of the business amidst these changes -- that the new Co-CEOs are making a long-term commitment to both BasicGov and the market.
“I believe that Explora had many different options in terms of companies they could have acquired. What got them excited is the scale of the business that we do and the size of the customers,” explained Mike. “They have adopted the company’s mission and are in this for the long haul -- to build a winning business that will continue to grow rapidly, while improving government efficiency. I think that's a great thing for both our customers and our staff.”
Finally, new leadership causes changes in the organization, including adding the resources that are necessary to properly grow this company. Jake and Cyrus have entered with a plan that will fill a lot of gaps and will bolster BasicGov’s strength in the market.
Over the next 12 to 24 months, Mike says that there will be a cultural change. That means a new office, new way of working, and a whole new group of people to be working with.
“What Jake and Cyrus bring to the company are their entrepreneurial skills, passion for growth and a vision for the future. Combine that with the skills and the talent that's here already, I think that is a winning combo,” said Mike.
Mike is putting BasicGov in good hands. As Co-CEOs, Cyrus will oversee the sales and marketing, as well as the finance and HR functions, while Jake will take ownership of the product development, customer success, IT and legal functions.
Learn more about the new co-CEO team.
Born in Toronto, Jake was surrounded by entrepreneurs growing up -- it was only natural he became one himself.
Jake started online businesses throughout his studies at Queen’s University, and at numerous points throughout his career. He joined Accenture as a management consultant in the Strategy group, and progressed to grow the Internet of Things group at Accenture from 20 people to 300+ people.
Most recently, he worked at an artificial intelligence company, Element AI, which raised over $200M in venture funding during his tenure. He credits his entrepreneurial endeavours, management consulting experience and start-up experience as a solid foundation on which to build BasicGov.
Born in Houston and raised in Canada, Cyrus also went to Queen’s University and studied abroad in Singapore, which is where he and Jake met.
On his return home, Cyrus worked in the investment banking group of CIBC (Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce), one of the largest banks in Canada. Later in his career, he led the expansion of the Uber Eats business across 6 countries and 21 cities in North America and Latin America, as the business scaled from 100 to 5,000+ employees over his tenure. In his spare time, Cyrus partnered with four others to build Q4Q Brewing Company, a small Canadian craft beer company with distribution in Ontario and California.
Q&A: Meet the new Co-CEOs Jake and Cyrus
Jake and Cyrus give their take on the business opportunity and what BasicGov will look like under their ownership.
What are your goals and vision for the company?
Jake: We’re very energized to serve as the leading permitting and licensing software provider in North America. We have the ambition to make a significant impact on government technology globally.
Cyrus: We were fascinated by the fact that 40,000 different municipalities, states, counties, and government bodies across North America each use a different set of technology to drive their process. BasicGov has done an amazing job of making one of the strongest permitting and licensing solutions in the market.
Short-term, our goal is to get that story out to the world. Long-term, we’d love to become a thought partner in the public sector space to help influence and manage the future of permitting and licensing.
How will you be sharing your CEO responsibilities?
Cyrus: We definitely get this question a lot, but it’s always felt quite natural for Jake and me to divide roles based on our experience. With Jake’s prior work for Element AI and Accenture, we feel it makes sense for him to work very closely with our customers and what we build for them, including thinking through product roadmap, product strategy, and how to address customer pain points.
Jake: In addition to product development, I’m also taking on customer success, as they go hand in hand. Our goal is to streamline the government’s licensing and permitting through innovation, implementation, and support. By doing so we hope to earn our customer’s trust and ensure that every BasicGov customer is a customer for life.
Cyrus: For me, scaling the UberEats business was really driven around the go-to-market plan and the sales and marketing strategy - so it was natural for me to take on the sales and marketing function. Beyond that, given our backgrounds, it made sense for me to take control of the finance function and for Jake to lean more into internal operations.
We both have a clear understanding of where our roles and responsibilities lie but we are also able to challenge and push each other in making sure we’re clearly thinking about those areas and what’s good for the business.
What is your management style?
Cyrus: I think management is about empowering others to be the best version of themselves. I tend to give a lot of autonomy to my teams to go after their goals. My job as a leader is to push their thinking and make sure they’ve taken the appropriate steps before arriving at the right solution for the problem at hand.
Jake: To me, management is really about being a strategic partner to your team. Being someone to lean on for advice, think through a problem and pull the team out of the details to align on high-level business objectives is critical. Everyone wants to play a part in helping the company grow, and eliminating roadblocks, making decisions quickly and supporting the team effectively is the best way to achieve results.
Any final thoughts?
Jake: As an organization, we’re trying to become better every single day. We're constantly learning more about the market, our customers and ourselves. Every customer touchpoint we have, we learn something new. Every conversation we have with our partners, we learn something new. Our journey is one of continuous improvement in ourselves, our teams, and the way we serve our customers, which is why this job will never get dull.
Cyrus: More than 50% of the government bodies today are still using paper-based processes for licenses and permits. Jake and I saw an exciting opportunity for us to really shift the way that people think about those processes - and we and feel that BasicGov has the best product on the market to do so.
Ultimately, we want to get things done a little smarter, a little more efficiently. Just doing that will make millions of citizens’ lives better.
BasicGov is a leading provider of licensing and permitting software for municipal and state government. Using BasicGov’s comprehensive cloud platform, the government can automate and streamline operations to cut costs, meet the ever-changing demand for citizen services, and evolve into a more open, transparent, and collaborative organization.
With customers throughout the United States and Canada, BasicGov was recently named one of the GovTech 2020 Top 10 International Companies.