In 2007, a record number of more than 18 million passports were issued due to the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. It is now a decade later and these passports are up for renewal. Along with all the new passport applications, it is expected that this number will rise to 21 million through 2018 and into 2019. And, as many people familiar, the process is long, inconvenient, and cumbersome.
Fortunately, govWorks has now entered the scene and is reinventing the way individuals and organizations obtain passports and visas with their automated technology. People from all over the world can utilize the simple, consumer-friendly process and what used to take weeks can now be done in a matter of minutes.
All users need is one govWorks account, which can be used across all of govWork’s websites including TravelVisa.com, PassportCenter.com, PassportRenewal.com. From there, users can create profiles for family members and groups to better organize trips, and they only need to enter one’s information into the system once to use it across the govWorks websites. Orders can be completed for multiple travelers in a matter of clicks and with the mobile app, users can track their orders in real-time and manage their documents.
With such a game-changing technology, we wanted to learn more about govWorks and their story, so we spoke with Steven Smith, Director of Content Strategy at govWorks.
- What is the backstory behind govWorks?
The inspiration for govWorks came when CEO/Founder Adam Boalt realized that today travelers were still dealing with archaic, manual processes to secure their travel documents. He believed he could take the travel document space a number of steps further and create a fully tech-enabled platform to simplify, secure and efficiently expedite travel visas and passports. Boalt previously co-founded RushMyPassport.com but hasn’t worked in the industry for five years before launching govWorks and its brands TravelVisa.com, PassportCenter.com and PassportRenewal.com. He felt that there was a tremendous opportunity to build a platform that would expand globally to help travelers from all countries obtain travel visas securely and efficiently. In order to achieve this, he knew the only way this was possible at great scale would be to automate every aspect of the process no matter what country you were traveling to.
- Why did you choose to use the govWorks name?
To be candid, the original iteration of govWorks is considered one of the biggest dot com failures in history after raising and losing $60 million dollars, so there was certainly some internal debate on this. However, we believe the founders were really ahead of their time. They had a great concept but their technology was more sophisticated than many of the government counterparts they were trying to help. As governments have become more tech-enabled I think this will be a huge benefit for govWorks. Seventeen years after the dot com bust, both the United States and foreign governments have begun to catch up to private sector tech innovation in order to collaborate. I acquired the govWorks domain and assets because this platform can efficiently and securely interact with all government partners. The name really speaks to the travel document challenges we are solving for our customers by conveniently bridging the gap between civilians and governments. I actually recently met with the Department of State’s Secretary Office of Global Partnerships, the internal division that works with helping private sector work within the government. I was amazed at how welcoming they were to accept new ideas and innovation.
- What are some of the major differences between govWorks passport/visa process and the traditional process?
govWorks was intentionally built to aid millions of American and foreign travelers at home and abroad bound for long waits and application rejections. This platform tech-enables the government document services through a central, secure data repository and functionality that lets you manage the entire process to efficiently procure a variety of travel documents, sometimes in as little as a few minutes. We also provide a service that allows multiple travelers with multi-country itineraries to secure the travel visas they need through a simple, easy-to-use experience. This is not only attractive to travelers, but helps to reduce the burden on both the traveler and government.
- Have you faced any significant challenges?
We’re getting more business than we anticipated. Not a bad problem to have, but the high volume of orders and calls was not anticipated straight out of the gate. We’re scaling faster than we can keep up. govWorks and its brands were launched in January 2018. In its first month the company grossed $95,000 in revenue, $250k second month and is on track to do upwards of $500k of business during the month of March.
- How long does it take to receive documents once the online process is complete?
Depends on the service option chosen by the customer. It can be processed in as little as 24 hours.
- What is your primary goal for govWorks and what are your plans for the future?
govWorks intends to reinvent and improve the industry by providing a radically better mechanism for leisure and business travelers to obtain travel documents. By harnessing the power of technology to untangle bureaucratic knots, we’re demonstrating how private enterprise can create a public benefit.
For more information visit: govWorks