Today, the National League of Cities (NLC) is announcing $100 million in local partnerships to expand America’s innovation economy.. Fourteen cities are partnering with City Innovate to establish or expand their local Startup in Residence programs. These programs connect startups with government agencies to co-develop technology solutions to pressing civic challenges. Read full press release.


Washington, D.C., is leading the East Coast expansion of a program that has become well-known among startups in the Bay Area. Archana Vemulapalli, the district's chief technology officer, said her hope is to build similar awareness in a region with many people who already have a "service attitude."

San Leandro, California, has launched an open data page, a GIS data page, and a dashboard to guide citizens to services based on their demographic profile, and it's done so with help from the Startup in Residence program.

Through the Startup in Residence program, city workers collaborated with developers to create Outreach Grid, a program designed to improve municipal efforts to address homelessness.

“As we continue to make Washington, D.C., the capital of inclusive innovation, we are thrilled to bring this innovative effort to D.C. and lead efforts on the East Coast,” said Mayor Muriel Bowser. “This initiative supports my administration’s vision to find innovative ways to improve services and tackle our biggest challenges through technology.”

San Leandro Mayor Pauline Cutter said her city’s participation in the program unlocked new technologies previously out of reach for the local government, while infusing new working methods and thought processes into departments.

During five-minute pitches, the startups laid out a host of innovative solutions, ranging from touchscreen kiosks that guide citizens through San Francisco’s city hall to a personalized dashboard that allows visitors to customize their own experiences on San Leandro’s city website.

"There's something very powerful about putting a network of cities together," said Jay Nath. "You could imagine people sharing the successes that have occurred in their city and being able to take those successes into other cities."

In 2018, San Francisco’s Startup in Residence program, which embeds fledgling technology companies inside government to help solve public-sector problems, is looking to expand into other cites across North America.

Deborah Acosta, one of the country's first innovation officers, spoke with GovTech about creating a smart city strategy for San Leandro and working with the Startup in Residence program.

Binti needed a bridge across the civic tech chasm, and San Francisco built them one. In 2014, the city launched a program called Startup in Residence. As chief innovation officer for the tech-heavy city and county of San Francisco, Jay Nath knew the benefits that cooperation between the public and private sectors could reap.

LotaData transforms mobile geolocation signals into what they call "people intelligence." Their CityDash product is an A.I. platform that "enables government leaders and decision makers to unlock the wealth of insights in public and private data to create social impact and engage with local communities."

After learning how difficult it was to procure a new system piloted during the 2014 Startup in Residence program, San Francisco’s IT officials sought a better, faster method for future iterations of the initiative. Last year, the city debuted the RFP Bus. The entire process takes a total of six weeks, and 20-plus contracts have been created through the program so far.

Startup in Residence was recognized as one of the top 25 programs in the Innovations in American Government Awards, a competition hosted by the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

Binti developed software to help foster care agencies process people applying to house children, and priced the software so that most counties in California wouldn’t need to go out to bid to buy it. Within five months, 19 counties signed on as customers.

After graduating from San Francisco’s Startup in Residence program, one tech company has rapidly expanded its government business, signing 19 California counties on as customers in a five-month span. Binti used STIR to develop software to help speed up the process of approving applicants to become foster parents.

Both cities realized they could tap into their startup communities to help make government services run better. And both cities provide lessons in the benefits — and pitfalls — of doing so.

It’s tough for startups – with shorter capital runways and track records – to work with the long sales cycles, aging systems and bureaucratic requirements of cities. And governments often find themselves frustrated, working with legacy systems that need the support of new technology to keep up with the increases in urbanization and use of services.

Mayor Edwin M. Lee announced the results of the 2016 Startup in Residence program. Startup in Residence is a 16-week program with the goal of addressing regional civic challenges, and the announcement highlighted new technology products that were developed from the program.

As advancements in technology revolutionize customer experiences in every aspect of residents’ lives, local governments are under pressure to adapt or risk losing the trust of the communities they serve. However, governmental entities are organized to be risk-averse and slow to change. How can local governments bridge this gap?

Tech entrepreneurs partnering with San Francisco, Oakland, San Leandro, and West Sacramento reveal how they are reinventing city services in California and beyond.

Investor interest is helping to point a lot of startup energy at government. Does this mean there’s a place for innovation at city hall?

The California cities of San Francisco, Oakland, West Sacramento, and San Leandro partner to embed startup solutions in city departments.

San Francisco needs a way to text public health information to residents and an online lottery for reserving sports fields. Oakland needs an app for Head Start outreach and software to guide residents in bringing their homes up to code. The two cities, along with West Sacramento and San Leandro, are now seeking entrepreneurs to tackle these and other challenges.

The mission of the Startup in Residence program is "to bring together government and startups to explore ways to use technology to make government more accountable, efficient, and responsive.” It’s the usual boring description of a government program. The reality, however, is much different. In fact, the program has become ground zero for how smart cities and smart startups are going to come together in the future.

Jeremy Goldberg announced the launch of the second Startup in Residence program for entrepreneurs to work with San Francisco, Oakland, San Leandro, and West Sacramento to develop technology-based solutions that address challenges facing local government. The program need entrepreneurs and technologists to help build a 21st-century government — one that’s efficient, effective and responsive.

Building on a program from 2014, the San Francisco Mayor's Office of Civic Innovation announced during a January 28 press conference the 2016 Startup in Residence program that includes a regional partnership with the neighboring cities of Oakland, San Leandro, and West Sacramento.

Americans often consider local city governments to be lethargic and generally averse to change. In recent years, however, several cities, including Boston, Philadelphia, and San Francisco, have established groundbreaking new offices, focused specifically on innovation and risk-taking, that are dispelling this long-held stereotype.

The trend towards injecting fresh perspectives into the business of government via innovation fellowships, civic startup incubators, and accelerators continues to grow with San Francisco’s recent announcement of a city entrepreneurship-in-residence program.

San Francisco’s public sector is interested in becoming much more efficient, productive, and helpful to its constituents. City officials announced the creation of an Entrepreneur-in-Residence program to support those entrepreneurs and startups who feel their technology can actually do some good for the public and help the city overcome its bottleneck of inefficiency.