Riverside Co . said it invested in SAFEbuilt LLC, which provides community development services for local governments and public entities, primarily those looking to privatize public services.
Established in 1992 and based in Loveland, Colo., SAFEbuilt offers services such as building department programs, planning and zoning, code enforcement and other administrative functions. Its affiliate company, Meritage Systems, provides workflow and operational support software for municipal building departments, Riverside said in a news release.
The Cleveland firm, which didn't disclose the terms of the transaction in the release, said the investment was made from its microcap fund.
The latest such vehicle, Riverside Micro-Cap Fund III LP, closed with $350 million in July and targets U.S. companies generating up to $5 million in annual earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization.
Brad Resnick, a Riverside vice president based in New York, said the SAFEbuilt investment was made on the thesis that local or municipal governments are increasingly turning to private companies for staffing assistance."Flexibility is a big reason," he said. "Another is that demand, especially for smaller communities, fluctuates pretty dramatically between the peak and trough seasons. If the governments are using all in-house staff, it can pose a challenge to efficient staffing, as they may have idle staff in [the] slow season."
SAFEbuilt works with more than 200 partner communities throughout the U.S.
Mr. Resnick said the company has expanded in geographic clusters, allowing swift and efficient deployment of manpower as it "can pull resources from neighboring communities if necessary to level the workload over a series of clients."
Riverside said it would work with SAFEbuilt's management team to enhance the company's sales and marketing approach, allowing for faster expansion in new and existing regions as well as deeper client relationships through both acquisitions and organic growth.
Without giving specifics to the geographies that SAFEbuillt is targeting for expansion, Mr. Resnick said the company is interested in markets where there is a higher level of growth and construction activity as well as stricter enforcement of building codes.
"Those markets with stricter codes are in general more receptive and can benefit more from our service," he said. "It is a focus of the community to make sure that the buildings and the code requirements be enforced, and it may affect resources involved in and around the permitting process of a particular community or municipality."
Riverside invests in business services, consumer brands, education and training, energy, health care and software and information technology. For buyout opportunities, it invests in companies valued at up to $250 million.