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Palo Alto, California, Selects Accela and OpenCounter to Launch Online Business Registry

City and Citizens to Benefit from New Data on Growth, Employment and Community Needs


Accela, the leading provider of cloud-based civic engagement solutions for government, announced today that the City of Palo Alto has launched the OpenCounter business registration service running on the Accela Civic Platform. The new system builds on existing Accela solutions that Palo Alto relies on, and provides the City with new insights on economic development and public transportation while making it easy and convenient for citizens to register a business.

Palo Alto is recognized worldwide as a leader in cutting-edge technological development, making it an extraordinary place in which to operate a business. Part of Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area, Palo Alto is a community with approximately 61,200 residents. By using OpenCounter on the Accela platform, Palo Alto will benefit from the ability to measure employment trends and business growth and activity throughout the City in a cohesive and coordinated manner.

OpenCounter, an Accela partner, provides an easy-to-use online business registration tool that gathers data on local businesses and employment to help cities support local economic development. Palo Alto will benefit from OpenCounter information on local business, combined with streamlined workflow made possible by the Accela Licensing and Case Management solution.

“Gathering data from local businesses is vital for developing and measuring the effectiveness of programs to reduce traffic congestion, better utilize our parking and other transportation-related efforts,” said Peter Pirnejad, Development Services, City of Palo Alto. “The data will also help us make better informed decisions on a host of critical issues such as land use, economic development and transportation.”

OpenCounter provides the front end for the City’s online Business Registry, and integrates easily with the Accela solutions that Palo Alto already uses. The Palo Alto Business Registry makes it simpler for commercial ventures to comply with local regulations that require any business operating or planning to operate in a “fixed place of business” in Palo Alto to register their businesses and obtain a Business Registry Certificate. The OpenCounter and Accela systems will process thousands of applications, payments and renewals annually.

“Palo Alto’s online registration tool must be as innovative as the business community it serves,” said Peter Koht, Co-Founder of OpenCounter. “By bringing this requirement online, we’re improving the citizen experience in government while collecting the data the City needs to develop polices and programs to support its business community.”

Palo Alto already uses a number of Accela solutions that include Accela Mobile Office, Citizen Access and Accela Land Management. Together these solutions enhance the way organizations and individuals conduct business with Palo Alto and help the City improve customer service by accelerating the planning and review process.

“Our partnership with Palo Alto is focused on helping the City leverage technology to simplify civic processes and to enable constituents to access government on their terms,” said Maury Blackman, President and CEO, Accela. “We’re excited to work with OpenCounter to help Palo Alto residents navigate the complicated world of business permitting and help inform zoning decisions, planning and transportation measures.”

About OpenCounter
Building a successful company is a long journey. OpenCounter helps entrepreneurs get their businesses up and running more quickly and easily by providing an online interface to the permitting process at City Hall. OpenCounter asks the right questions, in the right order, so business owners see the requirements, fees, and processing time that will apply to their planned use and location. OpenCounter was built through a partnership between the City of Santa Cruz, CA and Code for America in 2012. Its growth has been supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Code for America Accelerator. Find us online at

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Gabe Graham

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