Startup in Residence Program

The BC Startup in Residence (STIR) program brings the ideas and expertise of startup tech companies together with government business areas to co-develop technology solutions, improving services delivered to British Columbians.

Partnerships for a 21st Century Government

Program Overview

Modeled after San Francisco’s successful Startup in Residence program, the B.C. Startup in Residence (STIR) program connects tech startups with provincial government business areas to collaboratively and iteratively develop technology-based solutions for public-sector challenges within a 16-week timeframe.

The selected startups participate in a development phase and product trial period, at which point each government business area has the option to enter into an ongoing contract for further development, access, or maintenance of the solution.

2018-2019 Cohort: Work Underway

During the 16-week residency, government and tech company teams develop solutions together to make visions a reality.  The second STIR cohort has developed solutions for the following:

Company: OrpheusKey Research and Development Inc.

Number of Employees: 1 Full time, 7 part time.

Founders: Dr. Newaz Rafiq, Suraiya Khan.

About: OrpheusKey was founded by two scientists with nearly twenty years of experience in the IT field ranging from startups to academic institutions to industry. The company was incorporated in December 2016. The goal of the company is to combine structured and unstructured data from diverse sources to allow data driven decision making.

OrpheusKey pivoted a few times. Originally the focus of the company was on building a "Music as Medicine/Second Aid" data driven tool (involving crowd sourced content, analytics and NeuroScience) as a low cost aid for handling (mental) health issues and pain perception considering bio-psycho-social dimensions of health. The company is named after Greek mythological figure Orpheus who is famous for his irresistible melodies. To bootstrap that project OrpheusKey began providing software development, AI and data science services to public and private sector organizations.


Challenge Statement: The Ministry of Jobs, Trade and Technology is looking for a way to allow its users to find up-to-date, comprehensive, and appropriate economic development funding options based on their specific and unique needs. To do this, a solution would likely require the ability to automatically index and tag content related to grants and funding so that users can easily find what they are looking for.

Company: Kinsol Research

Number of Employees: 13

President/Chief Scientist: Dr. Dimitri Marinakis

About: Kinsol develops and deploys technology solutions.  Over the past 9 years, Kinsol’s successful experiences prototyping and deploying artificial intelligence, machine learning and Internet of Things projects have been developed in partnership with entrepreneurial start-ups, publicly listed enterprises, universities and more recently, government ministries. From a company of two, to our 13th employee in 2018, we’re a Victoria based company of “get-it-done” researchers and developers who are proud to have established a solid reputation in the community.  We take our name from the Kinsol Trestle, one of the largest timber structures in the world.  It rises out of the Iush British Columbia forests and towers over the Koksilah river at the stunning point in the TransCanada trail - a great symbol for quality and proficiency in a quiet and beautiful location. 


Challenge statement: The Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) is looking for a way to allow users such as EAO staff, decision makers, Indigenous nations, working group members and project proponents to quickly and accurately identify topics mentioned in comments received by the public. The solution should also allow users to visualize these topics in a way that provides them with actionable intelligence to support the environmental assessment process.

Company: UrbanLogiq

Number of Employees: 12

Founder/COO: Herman Chandi

About: UrbanLogiq helps governments build better communities with data. We work with public servants to consolidate data that is currently fragmented in silos to create a unified view of a community and then utilize artificial intelligence to derive insights to help governments make faster, cheaper and more accurate decisions.


Challenge Statement: The Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation is looking for ways to streamline its analysis of Crown Land parcels under consideration for inclusion in negotiations across the province. The Province, First Nations and stakeholders have legal interests, rights, restrictions, and designations on Crown Land, and MIRR negotiators need to have access to this information to allow them to determine whether selected land parcels should be included in negotiations with First Nations.


Demo Day

A demonstration day event will be held at the BC Tech Summit on March 11, 2019, highlighting the work of this year’s cohort and concluding this residency period.

The intake period for STIR’s third cohort will begin in Fall 2019. The latest information and updates will be posted to this page as they come available. Interested in taking part? Read on for some of the benefits.

Benefits of Participation

With B.C.’s STIR, we want companies to propose their innovative solutions and join us this fall to work on one of the challenge areas put forward by participating ministries. 

During the residency period, government and tech company teams will collaborate in-person and virtually to make their vision a reality. STIR teams will also come together as a cohort for workshops, guest speakers and mentor sessions, and networking events to make the most of one another's experiences.

Tech company teams can work remotely or in person depending on their location – it’s up to them to describe how they plan to collaborate. There are no restrictions on company size, maturity, or location, and teams don’t need to be incorporated.

At the end of the residency and trial period, companies will have:

  • A fee of $10,000 in return for their participation in STIR
  • Full rights to commercialize the solution and sell into the growing gov-tech market
  • The potential for customer validation and the ability to reference the B.C. government as a customer
  • The opportunity to, at the discretion of their partner ministry, contract with the province for further development, access, or maintenance of the solution they created
  • A greater understanding of working with and selling to government entities
  • Access to a network of alumni