Our Vision

Government can be a force for good.

The challenges facing cities today won't be solved by government agencies or private companies or academia alone. To do the most good for the greatest number of people, we need to work together. 

Our purpose at City Innovate is to bridge the gap between community stakeholders, because government can and must keep up with the challenges of our time.

Our Story

It isn’t always the biggest, longest-standing or best-selling solutions on the market that will have the greatest impact on a given challenge. In fact, the best solutions may not yet even exist–that’s just the nature of technology.

If we want a more effective government, we need a more inclusive govtech system. And if we want a more inclusive system, we need to get to the root of what’s keeping innovators of all stripes out of government.

City Innovate exists to help emerging technology companies to solve challenges in government, so governments don’t have to settle for solutions that don’t meet their needs, and startups can build technology for the public good.

We then found a similar story in academia. If we want more effective governments, we need diverse and in-depth experts at the forefront of investigating the challenges our communities face. City Innovate expanded to help academics connect with government to leverage their research work directly for the public good...

Our Work

We focus on driving innovation through three core initiatives:

STIR offers a framework for governments to solve challenges in collaboration with startups through a structured process that drives rapid innovation.

Technology: We developed the STIR Platform to enable governments and startups to connect and collaborate more effectively, driving innovation in the public sector at scale.

Guidance: With deep roots in government, entrepreneurship and research, our team provides guidance and support to help private companies, academics and government agencies navigate cultural differences, overcome procedural hurdles and achieve better outcomes, faster.

Our History

2013 STIR is Born

STIR begins as a special project within the San Francisco Mayor’s Office, founded by then Chief Innovation Officer for San Francisco, Jay Nath.

2014 City Innovate is Founded

City Innovate is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit on a mission to work with the public and private sector to address urban problems, founded by Kamran Saddique.

2015 STIR Takes Root

STIR receives a federal grant from the Department of Commerce to grow STIR regionally to Oakland, San Leandro, and West Sacramento.

2017 STIR Branches Out

To expand the impact of STIR further, City Innovate begins to co-manage STIR in partnership with the City of San Francisco. STIR launches in 13 cities this year.

2018 STIR Moves to City Innovate

STIR officially becomes part of City Innovate, creating opportunities to expand the program beyond California. 22 governments and 39 startups participate to address 43 challenges

2019 STIR Goes Digital

To expand its impact internationally, City Innovate becomes a Public Benefit Corporation and builds a digital platform to bring challenge-based procurement to governments at scale

2020 STIR Labs is Born

To bring the success of STIR into academia, City Innovate, with funding from NSF, launches STIR Labs to expand its impact to the research space.

Proudly a Public Benefit Corporation

From our early days operating STIR as a government program through the City of San Francisco, to the founding of City Innovate as a non-profit, to today, we have always sought to empower cities, bring innovation to government and put the best technology to work for the public good.

Our decision to become a Public Benefit Corporation (PBC) means we can scale our impact further to help more communities in the United States and beyond. As a PBC we’re able to build a sustainable business and attract the best talent to help us achieve our goals, all while keeping our values at the center of everything we do.

Operating as a Public Benefit Corporation, it is in our mandate to make a positive impact through our work. This means that our mission to use technology for the public good can–and in fact must–be a priority when making decisions for our business. Thanks to all of the forward-thinking governments and startups we work with, we’re well on our way.

Meet the Team