San Francisco-based non-profit, Startup In Residence (STiR), held its first demo day yesterday showcasing several startups that are aimed at improving government. STiR originally launched as a pilot project within San Francisco and quickly expanding to a regional effort involving local cities and organizations in California. Now, STiR is in the process of joining up with City Innovate to take the mission national.
Jay Nath, executive director of San Francisco’s City Innovate Foundation and founder of STiR, says his goal is to modernize government and make the procurement process more inclusive. “This is an area that has historically been guarded by big companies and those companies typically haven’t been focused on innovation,” he tells CivSource. “We’re working with policymakers to rethink procurement and make it easier for smaller, more dynamic businesses to pitch their solutions.”
At demo day, thirteen city and startup partnership teams presented new products that solve challenges related to property development, facility and infrastructure inventory and city cleanliness. The products were developed during the 16-week program that connects government agencies and startup companies to co-create modern technology solutions for local governments.
The 2018 cohort includes San Francisco, Houston, Washington, D.C., Walnut Creek, Vallejo, West Sacramento, Miami-Dade, Metropolitan Transportation Commission and Santa Monica. So far, 46 startups across North America have joined the effort. This year’s STIR cohort demoed a digital mapping and navigation system for street sweeping teams to manage route paths, a tool to help prevent overflowing trash cans, and a crowdsourcing application for infrastructure inventory and reporting. See all the 2018 STIR team partnerships here.
Through the STIR program, products have been built to streamline the process for becoming a foster parent, simplify procurement with a chatbot and map homeless encampments to provide services to people in need.
Binti, the startup that makes it easier to become a foster parent, was one of the demonstrators. Binti’s software allows for foster care agencies to track applications from the opening phone call to the adoption with ease. STIR matched Binti with the San Francisco Human Services Agency, allowing the team to shadow service workers to build a foster care application that streamlines the process of adoption, saving staff social workers 20 to 40 percent of their time.
“STIR was incredibly helpful to Binti. Through joining the program, we were able to do a pilot with San Francisco’s foster care team to understand their challenges and how we could help,” says Felicia Curcuru, CEO of Binti. “We’ve seen great impact with them, increasing their foster care applications by 300 percent. Due to our positive results in San Francisco, in 1.5 years, Binti now works with 43 agencies in eight states.”
The vision is to expand STIR to 100 cities, counties and government agencies in five years. Government agencies can apply for the next STIR cohort, which will begin in January 2019, here.