Startups to Address Permit Transparency, Security Deposit Loans, and Trauma Response

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – The city of Syracuse announced that the startups Camino, Vite Labs, and Zivics were selected through a competitive process to participate in its 2019 Startup in Residence (STIR) program. The startups selected by the City will address challenges related to permit transparency, security deposit loans, and trauma response.

Nearly 700 startups vied for a chance to work with 22 governments and the opportunity to secure a contract. The selected startups will volunteer their time with government agencies over 16-weeks to tackle civic challenges with new technology tools and services.

“We’re excited about the development and deployment of custom, tech-based solutions for challenges that exist within the city of Syracuse,” said Adria Finch, the city of Syracuse’s director of innovation. “Working with startup companies allows us to access new perspectives, creative ideas, and state-of-the-art technology to improve our community and make Syracuse a better place.”

“The Startup in Residence program is a model for civic innovation and national collaboration,” said Jay Nath, former chief innovation officer for San Francisco and executive director for City Innovate. “This program is a unique opportunity for government agencies and startups to think creatively about how we can all work together to modernize government to benefit residents.”  

Camino will develop a permit management platform that allows for collaboration and communication between both permit applicants and city employees. Vite Labs is tasked with creating a crowdfunding platform to connect low-income renters to people willing to provide short-term no-interest loans for security deposits. Local company Zivics will work on a citizen engagement tool for the city’s Trauma Response Team (TRT) to engage residents after traumatic events, such as violent crimes.

“We’re excited to partner with Syracuse to design and develop new, innovative ways for their applicants and staff to engage around permitting. Our goal, together, is to create a more collaborative, intelligent, and digital permit management system that will make a big impact on everyone in the permitting process,” said Camino founders Mike Rosengarten and Nate Levine.

“Vite Labs believes in proving socially meaningful use cases for blockchain technology. We treat public-private partnerships and government use cases as means to serve society. Our goal is to step in where financial institutions are currently lacking, providing a peer-to-peer micro-lending platform to address housing instability. Blockchain payment infrastructures are more equitable, sustainable and inclusive than existing solutions including traditional banks and crowdfunding platforms,” said Luke Kim, chief marketing officer for Vite Labs.

“Formed in 2018 with the mission to change the fabric of civic discourse and community interaction, Zivics engages citizens through direct communication of time-sensitive information and a gamified, activity-driven experience of civic participation. It’s community engagement platform aims to break down invisible barriers and favorably alter the dynamic between residents and their protectors and servants,” said Adam Peruta, president of Zivics.

The STIR program launched in 11 cities across the United States in 2018. STIR is now in 22 governments across the US and Canada and has worked with nearly 100 startups. The national STIR program is supported by City Innovate. See all the 2019 STIR team partnerships here.

Past projects in other communities have included working on issues such as streamlining the foster care application process, smart sensors on trash cans, homeless health services, volunteer engagement tools, and developing tools to assess the damage in the aftermath of an emergency like an earthquake or flooding. Startups can register on to be notified of new challenges.  

The program also offers education for government and startup staff in areas including design thinking, lean methodologies, procurement, civic technology trends, and new methods of product development and procurement.

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