What is Startup in Residence?2circles

Startup in Residence (STIR) connects startups with city governments to develop technology products that address civic challenges. Over 16 weeks, startups and cities work together to co-develop a solution that creates real impact.

Our Mission

Our mission is to bring together cities and startups to explore how they can use technology to make government more accountable, efficient, and responsive.

Since the program’s launch in 2014, STIR participants have tackled a variety of pressing civic challenges, including streamlining the process for becoming a foster parent, visualizing data from community centers, simplifying procurement through a chatbot, and mapping homeless encampments to provide services to people in need.

Our Goals


to bring innovative products, services, and processes into the public sector.


to design solutions to critical needs and tap into the significant government technology market.


to rethink their approach to civic challenges and deliver services more efficiently.

History of STIR

Local governments are tasked with tackling challenges from public health and safety to urban planning, but far too often, their technology and processes lag behind the private sector. There is a growing market for products and services designed to meet the needs of government customers.

To bridge the gap between startups and government, the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Civic Innovation created the Startup in Residence program. The program began as an pilot initiative, Entrepreneurship in Residence, in 2014. The following year, the U.S. Department of Commerce awarded a three-year grant to scale Startup in Residence in four Bay Area cities: Oakland, San Francisco, San Leandro, and West Sacramento.

In 2018, the program is partnering with the City Innovate Foundation to expand to 11 cities across the United States. To date, the program has worked with nearly 30 startups.

Vision for Growth

In partnership with Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center, we want to create a global network of 100 cities over the next 5 years. We’re doing this because we see three big opportunities: The first opportunity is to digitally transform government to be more efficient, effective, equitable and responsive; The second opportunity is for value exchange – government staff learning how to become more entrepreneurial, adopt lean and human centered methodologies – and for startups to deeply understand the needs of government; The third opportunity is to drive economic development by lowering the barriers for local small businesses to partner with government.


Mayor Edwin M. Lee established the Mayor’s Office of Civic Innovation (MOCI) in January 2012 to help make government more collaborative, inventive, and responsive for San Franciscans. Our mission is to support City Departments by introducing new approaches, resources, and technology for Mayoral priorities. We work with City Departments, community partners, and residents to drive impact on some of the City’s biggest challenges.