Pondera's Execs, Contracts to Remain After Acquisition by Thomson Reuters

“They made it very clear from the start that based on the team I put together, the skill sets that we brought and the cultural fit made it extremely important to them that the entire team comes along," said Pondera founder and CEO Jon Coss.

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Pondera Solutions, a Folsom-based tech company that targets waste, fraud and abuse, foresees no change in its dealings with state and local governments in California after its acquisition by Thomson Reuters.

Pondera, founded by Jon Coss in 2011, was purchased last week by business intelligence and media corporation Thomson Reuters for an undisclosed sum. The Pondera brand and staff will remain in place, and its existing contracts with federal, state and local governments will continue, Coss told Techwire in an interview last week.

Pondera has made a name for itself through the innovative use of machine learning in predicting and detecting waste, fraud and abuse in programs such as Medicaid, unemployment benefits, taxes and food aid.

In California state government, Pondera has worked with the Department of Social Services and the Department of Health Care Services. Those contracts and relationships will remain, he said. In addition, Pondera’s growing federal contract business will continue to expand, the CEO predicted. 

Coss and Pondera, which also has offices in Tallahassee, Fla., have made headlines over the last few years as they’ve drawn outside investment capital and brought on several high-profile board members — while Coss himself has drawn notice for his entrepreneurial style.

Although business acquisitions often lead to a reduction in staffing, as companies seek to eliminate redundancies, Pondera’s leadership and team will remain intact, Coss said. The biggest change for the company founder/CEO is that instead of reporting to the Pondera board of directors, he’ll report to Steve Rubley, president of the Government Division for Thomson Reuters.

Coss said Pondera staff morale is high after the news of the purchase.

Thomson Reuters “was not just interested in our technology and our applications, but our entire team,” Coss said. “The entire executive team is coming with me.”

Thomson Reuters executives “got to know me and the Pondera staff, and that gave them a lot more confidence,” he said. “They made it very clear from the start that based on the team I put together, the skill sets that we brought and the cultural fit made it extremely important to them that the entire team comes along.”

Pondera’s President Greg Loos and Chief Customer Officer Amanda Huston have made inroads into the federal marketplace, Coss said — and he expects that to expand with the Thomson Reuters affiliation.

“That can only help us to grow our business,” Coss said.

Pondera will retain its name and its Folsom offices “for the time being,” Coss said, adding, “We have a very strong brand in the market.”

Thomson Reuters, which is based in Ontario, Canada, echoed Coss’ views.

“Any changes should be invisible to customers, who can continue to look to Pondera Solutions for the high-quality products and services they have come to expect,” the company said in a statement. “Longer-term, Pondera Solutions and Thomson Reuters will work together to enhance products, improve our digital offering, create new capabilities and deliver even greater value to customers.”

In a story last week, Techwire sister publication Government Technology said of Thomson Reuters:

“The company has been on something of an acquisition spree in recent years. According to an SEC filing, Thomson Reuters set aside close to $2 billion in 2018 for strategic acquisitions. … That left about $800 million earmarked as a key priority for 2020.”

The timing of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Coss acknowledged, may open up opportunities for bad actors to try to exploit the health care and insurance industries.

“Our talks pre-dated coronavirus. We don’t see ourselves as ambulance-chasers,” Coss said, adding that the company will do what it can to root out those seeking to capitalize fraudulently on the pandemic.

Dennis Noone is Managing Editor of Techwire. He is a career journalist, having worked as a reporter and editor at small-town newspapers and major metropolitan dailies in California, Nevada, Texas and Virginia, including as an editor with USA Today in Washington, D.C. He lives in the Northern California foothills.