Startup in Residence Overview

Startup in Residence is a program that connects governments with startups to solve government-led civic challenges.

28 local and state organizations across North America are addressing resident and organizational challenges through STIR that can not be easily solved through a traditional procurement process.

Almost 80 challenges across areas such as mobility, civic engagement, IoT, resiliency, process improvement, and more are being tackled by startups from around the world.

Program Snapshot

Challenge Source

Over the course of two months, we work with our government partners to source challenges from various departments with a) a dedicated project manager b) department-head support and c) allocated budget



Startups from around the world apply to one or more of the government challenges.

Scope of Work

Startups and government partners develop a scope of work with objectives for the 16 week residency.


Teams collaborate over 16 weeks on user research, design, build, and testing.  


The project is expected to go to contract if the objectives of the Scope of Work are met and if there is a positive working relationship between team members.

Benefits to Government Partners

We work with a leader within each government partners for four months prior to the Residency, so that in additional to implementing great technology solutions, partners can also:

  • Expedite the Procurement Process: We’ve developed a process to significantly reduce the procurement cycle.  Implement your project faster.
  • Mitigate Risk: Trial a working relationship using agile design and development methodologies.
  • We’re There for You: We provide you with a structured framework of engagement with the startup.  Your agency will have a dedicated, central point of contact who organizes and manages the 16 week STIR program in their city.  You also receive on-going training and education, post-program reviews, and planning support for future STIR cohorts.

Startup Benefits

The Startup in Residence program helps startup close government contracts. The 16 week collaboration period commences on January 28, 2019.

  • Expedited procurement process: The program incorporates a streamlined procurement process, which means that startups can respond to an RFP in less than one hour and contracts can be executed immediately following the residency.
  • Deep Customer Insights: Throughout the residency, startups have a dedicated project manager from a government department to collaborate with on the project. The program incorporates four weeks for user research and four weeks for product testing, giving startups an in-depth understanding of the challenge the government partner faces.
  • Access to STIR’s Government Network: Participation in the program gives startups access to the 30+ members of our government network.


The residency is a 16 week, mostly remote collaboration period between the startup and the government partner. Each challenge has a dedicated project manager from within the government department.

In mid January, prior to residency, the startup and government partner develop a Scope of Work, which the Residency is focused on. Teams work to fulfill the Scope of Work during the Residency. The program is broken up into four week increments of user research, design, build, and test. The Residency finishes with a local and national demo days.

The 16 week residency runs from January 28th – May 17.

Startups will be selected and onboarded (1 hour webinar plus emailed reading material) in mid December.  The Scope of Work sessions will be in mid January.


The expectation for teams is to close a contract if a) the objectives within the Scope of Work are met and b) if there is a positive working relationship between to startup team and the government partner. While the program has been successful is getting most challenges to a contract, neither the program nor the government partner guarantees a contract following the residency.

No. The program is designed to be mostly remote. We do require startups to meet in person with the government partner at minimum two times during the residency: once in mid January for a scoping session, and at one other point in during the 16 week residency. Teams will decide when the second in-person meeting will be in the Scope of Work.

This will vary depending on how developed the product was prior to residency. On average, the Residency takes up approximately 20% of the startup’s time.

No. Of course, to move to contract, a startup has to be a legal entity.

You can see a list of most of our government partners here.

Government partners create a selection committee to review and select the startup to meet their challenge. Each government partner has a different selection process.

No, however the goal is to go to contract.

To participate, startups are required to abide by the terms and conditions laid out by each government partner. You can view the T&Cs on each challenge page.

Startups are expected to execute on the Scope of Work that they create in conjunction with the government partner. In addition, they are expected to respond to communication in a timely manner.

In addition, both the participating government partners and startups must sign a Startup in Residence NDA.

Absolutely! We encourage you to apply for any and all challenges you feel you can adequately solve.

The program is not prescriptive about how we define startups.  In the past, we’ve had teams from 2 -50 participate.

Two government partners do define ‘startup’ as:
  • Commonwealth of Pennsylvania: < 100 employees; or < 5 years in existence 
  • Metropolitan Transportation Commission: < 500 employees and < 5 years in existence

Have a question? Reach out to us!

Our Government Partners

We work with 30 cities, counties, states, regional transit authorities,
and metropolitan planning organization.