San Antonio innovation office opens residency program

Tech startups and organization can now apply for a 16-week program that challenges technologists to devise solutions for seven department challenges.

It’s official — San Antonio, Texas, has opened its application process for its civic tech residency program with the release of a new request for qualifications (RFQ) on Friday.

San Antonio’s Office of Innovation is taking point on the initiative that pairs entrepreneurs, students and tech startups with departments to devise solutions for city challenges. The program, called CivTechSA, outlined seven of these challenges in a LinkedIn blog post on Monday, which asked the tech community for help on issues like stray pet notifications, transit payments and low-income utility assistance.

“The benefit of the CivTechSA Residency to the city is that it increases the city’s capacity for innovation providing city departments an opportunity to purchase technology built specifically for their unique situation,” the RFQ notes.

The city says the advantage for startups is an opportunity to develop real-world use cases they can market to future customers and to potentially obtain a contract with the city. 


“Government technology is an untapped market ripe for growth and the residency takes the guesswork out of the development process by allowing
the startup to see firsthand exactly what their clients need and want,” RFQ reads.

All startups that apply must be five years old or younger, have no more than 10 employees and earn less than $2 million in revenue per year.

The RFQ carves out further details behind the program’s potential to improve services. Unlike city hackathons and coding challenges that are exploring new solution, San Antonio is hunting for tools to handle its daily operations by purchasing or leasing hardware, or obtaining the digital solutions through software licenses. The RFQ reports that the city can pay up to $50,000 per year without going through a lengthier competitive procurement process.

Interested startups and organizations have until Feb. 12 to apply, and the city is holding a pre-submittal question and answer session on Jan. 24.

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