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Bridging the Gap Between Government and Technology through STIR

Tony Scherba
September 25, 2017

Yeti is excited to announce our participation in the upcoming STIR, Startup in Residence, Demo Day event at San Francisco City Hall, Friday, September 29th. STIR connects government agencies with startups to develop technology products that address civic challenges. The program’s mission is to bring together government and startups to explore ways to use technology to “make government more accountable, efficient and responsive.”  

The STIR program began in 2014 as a pilot initiative, “Entrepreneurship in Residence.” After a successful run, the US Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration awarded the City & County of San Francisco a 3 year grant to the STIR program. The program has scaled to include Oakland, San Leandro and West Sacramento and in 2016,14 startups worked with 13 departments in those 4 cities.

Since 2014, STIR has tackled dozens of civic challenges such as: streamlining the foster care process, recovering quickly from an earthquake, and giving homeless people the services they need in real time.

Several months ago, as part of the 2017 STIR initiative, the city of San Francisco presented several challenges that the city felt technology startups could help solve. Startups from around the Bay Area presented their solutions and nine startups were selected to present their solutions at City Hall during the Demo Day event on September 29th.

Yeti was the only startup selected to solve two separate challenges.


Procurement is a pain. The rules and restrictions around what a city can buy are incredibly difficult to navigate and understand.


Procurement is necessary to prevent government corruption and ensure proper handling of taxpayer dollars. However, it’s an incredibly complicated process.

There are all these myths about how to "get around procurement" because it is so difficult and people are always looking for solutions. In fact, there are groups solely dedicated to answering questions about procurement because it is so difficult to understand.


Yeti has created a chatbot specifically designed for IT procurement for city officials in San Francisco. This chatbot will pop up on city employees screens when navigating the city website and will help guide them through the process of IT purchasing with helpful articles about what steps to take and when.  



The events happening on any given day at City Hall are often difficult to know about and find. No one knows where to go and there’s no clear signage or navigational system to guide visitors.


Leveraging Yeti’s existing experience building touchscreens, we brainstormed with the Real Estate Division to reimage the 100-year-old physical directories and better inform the public when entering City Hall. This kiosk will be mounted in a custom wood frame consistent with the design and style aesthetics of such a beautiful building.

Going forward, visitors will now be able to easily and intuitively find their event.


Yeti is thrilled to present our ideas to the City of San Francisco. We believe there is a huge opportunity for the tech sector to help bridge the gap between governments and their citizens. Modern technology can provide innovative services, processes, and solutions to age-old government challenges.

In exchange, as part of the STIR initiative, startups get to see the critical needs of our local governments and start innovating solutions that solve important challenges.

The STIR initiative is an excellent knowledge transfer from government to tech and tech to the government. We are big believers in collaboration between technology and other industries as it is truly the only way for understanding and progress.

Tony Scherba is a CEO + Founding Partner at Yeti. Tony has been developing software since high school and has worked on digital products for global brands such as Google, MIT, Qualcomm, Hershey’s, Britney Spears and Harmon/Kardon. Tony’s writing about innovation and technology has been featured in Forbes, Huffington Post and Inc. At Yeti, Tony works on strategy, product design and day to day operations, hopping in and working with the development teams when needed. Follow Tony on Twitter.

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