Startup in Residence

Request for Proposal RFP-REC-STIR-20-001

Submitted Questions and Answers 

Proposers shall submit all questions concerning RFP-REC-STIR-20-001 in writing by email to only during the Question and Answer Period, ending January 23 2020, no later than 11:59 p.m. PST. 

Questions and Answers will be posted publicly on this webpage.


Question: Does the evaluation committee accept only one solution concept per firm, or is it possible to submit a small selection of 2-3 potential solutions for review?


Answer: The evaluation committee can accept more than one solution concept per firm. However, each potential solution will have to be submitted as a separate application form.



Question: Does San Francisco Rec and Parks have a target budget?


Answer: Rec and Parks has budget set aside. The budget is flexible and dependent on the STIR solution.



Question: Is there an expected timeline for completion?


Answer: We plan to kick off the 16-week STIR residency period in mid-March which results in a completion date in early July 2020. However, if your startup already has a proven product, you can request a shorter demonstration period with your government partner. Conversely, if you need more than 16 weeks, you can request a longer period at any point in the demonstration period.



Question: Is there an expectation of installing physical features in the parks, or is software based interaction/storytelling also welcome?


Answer [updated]: Rec and Parks is open to any solution.

Question: In the requirements for technological standards, it says City’s Surveillance Ordinance must be supported. Could you provide us with more details on this requirement? If there is documentation we can review, that would be helpful too.


Answer: The "Acquisition of Surveillance Technology" ordinance was passed last spring. It requires that City departments acquiring surveillance technology, or entering into agreements to receive information from non-City owned surveillance technology, to get the Committee of Information Technology (COIT) and Board of Supervisors' approval on policies governing their use. 

In addition to outlining the steps a City department must take for their surveillance use, the ordinance also includes examples of surveillance technology which is defined as "any software, electronic device, system utilizing an electronic device, or similar device used, designed, or primarily intended to collect, retain, process, or share audio, electronic, visual, location, thermal, biometric, olfactory or similar information specifically associated with, or capable of being associated with, any individual or group." 

It's important to note that the ordinance also restricts use of facial recognition technology. The final legislation document can be found here.

Question: Is there a budget to support travel and/or materials costs for participating startups. We see that in-person travel is required for the project scoping and would like to know if associated travel costs are reimbursable?

Answer: There is no budget to support travel and/or material costs.

Question: Is it possible for two startups to partner and submit a proposal together?

Answer: Yes, it is possible for two startups to submit a single proposal as long as it's clear which startup is the bidder and which is the subcontractor.

Question: The RFP states that most of the work can be done remotely, but can you clarify the requirements of on-site presence and work apart from the initial project scoping? Is all user research and product testing expected to take place on site in San Francisco or can these portions of this work also be completely remotely?

Answer: Aside from the initial project scoping, all other work can be done remotely including user research and product testing. We recommend (but do not require) that startup lead(s) attend in-person on Demo Day - an event where they showcase the STIR product, and connect with and gather feedback from public-sector leadership. 

Question: Is the expectation that the product would be made during the residency period?

Answer: The startup is expected to have a working tech product at the end of the 16-week residency period. It's at this point when the City department makes the decision to move forward to a paid contract to procure the product. Almost 80% of startups in the 2018-2019 national cohort was awarded a contract through STIR.

If your startup already has a proven product, you can request a shorter demonstration period with your government partner. Conversely, if you need more than 16 weeks, you can request a longer period at any point in the demonstration period. 

Question: We would be bringing a significant amount of pre-existing IP to the program if selected. What is the City's position on pre-existing IP? I couldn't find it directly addressed in the draft contract (apologies if I missed it). More generally, our understanding is that any IP license to the City (e.g. for new IP developed in the partnership) would not be exclusive?

Answer: The issue is addressed in Section 4 of Appendix A (Non-Disclosure and Technology Based Solution Agreement):

"Ownership of Developed Technology Solutions.  Contractor represents and warrants to City that it is the lawful owner or licensee, or will become the lawful owner or licensee, of all programs, materials and property used by it in the performance of the services contemplated hereunder and shall have the right to permit City access to the developed on premise software, hosted software or applications, or developed equipment as described below."

Question: We understand time spent working with the city on the program will not be compensated, but wanted to clarify what the policy would be on costs incurred as part of the program? We have a hardware solution and want to understand if costs e.g. for ordering and shipping physical hardware or electronics during the initial 16 week period would be covered by the City?

Answer: The City will not compensate for costs incurred as part of the program.

Question: Some parts of the application (e.g. section VI(O) and Appendix B of the contract) mention additional forms that need to be completed by bidders or suppliers - I wanted to confirm that none of these forms need to be completed with the initial bid submission?

Answer: The additional forms to become a bidder or supplier do not need to be completed with the initial bid submission.

Question: If the City decides a solution is appropriate for something other than the STIR program, what would the process look like to continue to work with the City?

Answer: We would like to focus specifically on a solution for Rec and Parks rather than other use cases in other City Departments. However, Rec and Parks is very interested in what's out there. If it's not a good fit for the STIR program, Rec and Parks is open to hearing what the solution is and, if interested, then that would fall under the traditional RFP process of the City which is much more specific on the end-solution requirements.

Question: What are the cloud, AR, and wifi capacity for play in parks?

Answer: Right now, if there is any kind of gamification, it will probably be through people's mobile devices and the solution would be using their regular cellular network.

Question: Is Rec and Parks already partnered with cloud, AR, or 5G mobile gaming in play providers, sensors, or hardware?

Answer: No. Rec and Parks have not rolled out smart cities technologies within the parks. They are starting that process now.

Question: Is Rec and Parks partnered with Google or any other sensor companies?

Answer: No.

Question: Please elaborate on what other tech solutions Rec and Parks may already have in place that touch on some of the challenges, goals, and objectives.

Answer: Rec and Parks has occupancy sensors in a few of the parks. They also have the Rec and Parks app, and the Hello Lamp Post.

Question: Does Rec and Parks want to build gaming into their existing app? Or use a separate app?

Answer: Separate app.

Question: Would there be age restrictions for users around this potential solution? 

Answer: Rec and Parks is open to all possible solutions. 

Question: Can you please elaborate on physical space and play spaces?

Answer: Rec and Parks is a pretty diverse facility department. We got parks, playgrounds, rec centers, and pools. We have sites where we run programs on and for passive use by the public. But we also have quite a few facilities that we have concessions at, like COIT Tower. As far as the community we serve and how we serve them, it's all over the board. See here for the list of spaces.

Question: Who is going to provide the data about parks?

Answer: Rec and Parks will provide data about parks.

Question: Will STIR facilitate connections between different teams that apply? For example, if they see two applicants that have complementary solutions, are they open to them working together?

Answer: No, there can only be one entity that works with Rec and Parks during the STIR program. If two startups want to apply together, then it needs to be clear who is the bidder and who is the subcontractor.

Question: The application asks a couple questions asking if you can integrate into the City’s data collection system. How much information are you looking for in the application in what types of data you might be interested in? Do we need to include a data collection proposal as well?


Answer: This is a reference encouraging our connection to DataSF. DataSF is City’s strategy for managing all the data across departments. So departments are encouraged to share their data with DataSF for transparency and if there is opportunity for meaningful data connections across departments. So there’s always a thought for any projects that generate data to have a consideration to share data. See here for more details on DataSF.



Question: Can you please elaborate on who owns the data?


Answer: Rec and Parks would want to have ownership of the data that the STIR solution generates.



Question: As we're thinking about ideas for this challenge, are there any research around what residents or tourists would like to see?


Answer: Rec and Parks is doing strategy planning and one of the deliverables within that planning is to come up with the Department's core problems and core opportunities. But Rec and Parks do not have this info right now.



Question: How do we consider accessibility?

Answer: Equity is very important - it's important to Rec and Parks to have this lens by which they review solutions.



Question: What kind of language should we be using in our application? In other words, can we assume that the Selection Committee is familiar with technical language, or do we need to explain technical concepts in the application?


Answer: The Selection Committee is familiar with technical language and concepts. The applicant does not need to explain them in the application.



Question: What are the selection criteria?


Answer: It is included in the RFP, section 4. 



Question: The RFP says that the solution should support all age groups. But building gamification for young kids, disabled, colorblind, versus storytelling for adults is very different. How does Rec and Parks envision handling this?


Answer: Rec and Parks has a lens of supporting all age groups. But ultimately, they are interested and open to reviewing all possible solutions. 



Question: We are in the process of forming our LLC, and expect to get it done by early March. Will that affect our application?


Answer: This will not affect the application and you are eligible to apply with your current business status. However, you must be a business entity by the time STIR begins in mid/late March. As a business entity, the startup is expected to (1) secure insurance before STIR begins and (2), near the end of the residency, be registered as a City Supplier if Rec and Parks decides to procure the end product. Steps to become a City Supplier can be found in Appendix B of the RFP.



Question: Do you have a preference of the pricing model? Do you prefer on-premise or SaaS model? We will build the solution from scratch and can be very flexible.


Answer: Rec and Parks is open to any solution concepts. The first two phases of the STIR residency - discovery and design - are focused on deeply understanding the civic challenge and designing a solution to meet that need. Deeper discussion on on-premise versus SaaS models can be discussed during these phases.



Question: Will the city select multiple applicants to attend the interview or just one? When should we expect to hear back?


Answer: The city will select multiple applicants to move forward to the interview stage of the application process, and will let applicants know in late February. Final selection of the STIR startup partner will be determined by early March.