The Startup In Residence Program (STIR) recently closed its application window for startups interested in working with cities on public challenges. As the STIR program continues to grow, so have the number of challenges identified by cities. This cycle, the number of challenges quadrupled and over 650 applications were received from startups around the world.

The residency program kicks off on January 28th, and will bring together over 27 government partners working on 77 challenges in conjunction with startups. Throughout the 16 week program, startups will collaborate with local governments on projects aimed at improving city life.

Rupal Ismin, COO at City Innovate, says, “The real magic begins at the end of January, when we’ll start seeing the creative, collaborative solutions to these 77 civic challenges start coming to fruition.”

This cycle, challenges ran the gamut from mobility and IoT projects, to projects focused on streamlining processes and workflows. Resident engagement challenges were the most common theme across the cohort, with cities seeking help from startups on how to further engage the public around key decisions. Cities like Long Beach, which is working on ways to better inform the public about planned developments, and City of Glendale, which is seeking a way to solicit innovative ideas from employees and residents, are emblematic of the engagement projects in this cohort.

“We increasingly hear about citizens feeling disconnected from government, so it’s heartening to see startups working to improve feedback between residents and their government,” says Ismin.

The spike in applications this cohort is due to enthusiasm around the challenges posed by cities, as well as support from partners like BidOps, which drives bids to RFPs through automation, and Screendoor, which vastly simplifies the application process.

It’s also thanks to you, our community of civic innovators, who helped spread the word about the STIR program! We’d like to specifically thank our government partners who helped drive local startup applications; to VentureWell and MetroLab who helped drive academic team applications; Ludwika Alvarez and the State Department who helped drive international applications; to our Technology Advisory Board, who helped drive applications from their startup ecosystems; and to GovTech Magazine who helped promote this opportunity to their audience.

Stay tuned for updates as the program continues.