Unlock Innovation in Your Workplace and Community

STIR is a digital platform and community that connects the world’s most innovative tech companies with government institutions to solve challenges together.

  • 30+ cities, counties, and states have used STIR to procure technology solutions
  • 1000+ startups have applied to STIR
  • 100+ challenges have been addressed through STIR
  • Millions of people benefit daily from solutions created through STIR

Bringing Challenge-Based Procurement to Governments Everywhere

We’re picking up where traditional procurement practices fall short for government technology purchasing.

Challenge-based procurement is a type of Request for Proposal (RFP) that does not specify all the details of a product or service as in a traditional RFP, but instead describes the desired outcome for the solicitation. Additionally, selected vendors are invited to demonstrate or prototype their solution before an award is issued.

Challenge-Based Procurement with STIR

STIR is a cohort-based digital platform that enables government to identify improvement projects, issue solicitations, and find technology solutions in a fraction of the time of traditional procurement.

Rapidly Address Problems: Go from idea to contract in months not years through our rapid RFP process. 80% of our government-startup partners result in a contract–often at a significant discount.

Instead of choosing from a limited selection of legacy solutions, you can collaborate with small businesses to develop or customize new tools and processes that truly meet your needs.

Find the Best Solutions: STIR unlocks creativity and innovation by focusing on outcomes, not prescriptive requirements. Attract different solutions from different types of companies, instead of the same legacy solutions from the same companies.

Review applications, create a scope of work, and collaborate with innovators–all in one place. STIR makes the process of finding technology solutions for any government department seamless, so you can solve more problems with the resources you already have.

Reduce Risk: Develop or test a solution in collaboration with a technology partner and only buy the product if you’re certain it will meet your needs. Never waste taxpayer funds on solutions that don’t meet your needs.

How it Works

1) Challenge Sourcing: Collect ideas for challenges from across departments and manage them through a visual drag-and-drop pipeline.

2) Identify Projects: Department staff turn ideas into challenge statements through a guided and structured process. Create an open-ended solicitation instead of detailing solution requirements.

3) Publish Projects: Department staff review and publish legally compliant solicitations to our startup-friendly platform. Submit as many projects as your team can manage.

4) Solicitation: City Innovate actively markets your challenge to startups around the world and in your community through a network of 200+ partners reaching hundreds of thousands of innovators.

5) Proposals: Startups respond to your challenges and easily submit standardized 1-2 page proposals online.

6) Review Proposals: Department staff review proposals and select the best candidates to interview.

7) Scope of Work: Select a winning candidate to partner with and create a scope of work to co-develop and test a solution.

8) 16-Week Collaboration: STIR’s structured model facilitates government-startup collaboration on user research, design, build, and testing. Get training and support from City Innovative just when you need it.

9) Contract: Successful projects that complete the scope of work result in a contract.

STIR is Changing the Way Governments Procure Technology

Join the State of California, San Francisco, Norfolk, Department of Defense, and Chief Procurement Officers in 30+governments using challenge-based procurement to achieve better outcomes. Leaders like the Governor ofCalifornia have issued Executive Orders to employ challenge-based procurement and many more are using STIR to change how they procure technology.

STIR is recognized by leading professional associations like NLC and NIGP, and has received national awards such as Harvard’s Innovations in Government Awards, as well as federal grants for job creation and innovation.

Michael Bevis
Chief Procurement Officer
City of Norfolk, VA
“As a procurement professional, I'm impressed with how City Innovate has created a unique and innovative approach to addressing government needs. They've developed a guided and rapid RFP process that makes it easy for governments like Norfolk to share their challenges and get responses from a large number of innovative organizations. With their RFP approach we have the ability to move forward with a contract or go through a collaborative process with startups before we decide to go into contract. There's a significant opportunity to help accelerate the adoption of innovative solutions in communities across the US through City Innovate's work.”
Full Case Study


Economic Development: STIR startups have raised more than $250M in investments, created thousands of jobs and have had three acquisitions. Send a powerful signal that your government is serious about helping entrepreneurs.

Education and Training: Put on-demand design thinking and project management training into practice and give staff hands-on experience with innovative strategies. Work in partnership with innovators to experience agile and iterative approaches to problem solving.

Inclusive Process: Level the playing field by streamlining procurement to attract under-represented innovators. More than 50% of STIR startups receiving contracts are from under-represented communities.

Thought Leadership: Governments are frequently featured in local and national media outlets for their innovative work through STIR. We give our partners a national stage to share and learn at our annual summit.

Ron Bouganim
Managing Partner
Govtech Fund
“STIR makes my job as an investor easier. I know STIR graduates have engaged in deep customer discovery, built a great product solving a real government need and achieved the ultimate validation: securing a contract.”
Full Case Study

See How STIR Can Help Solve Your Next Procurement Challenge