What’s New in Civic Tech: NYC Funding Program Boosts Health Tech Startups

Plus, San Francisco enhances its Crime Data Portal, and Colorado Statewide Internet Portal Authority prepares to distribute 22 micro-grants.

by / April 6, 2017
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What's New in Civic Tech takes a look at highlights and recent happenings in the world of civic technology.

NYC Funding Program to Support Health Tech Startups

The New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYEDC) has launched its 2017 Digital Health Marketplace, a program that will award $250,000 to growth-stage health tech startups in the city.

The initiative's goal is to support both growth-stage and early-stage startups to ultimately boost the digital health sector in New York City, while the money should help tech startups pilot their technologies within health-care institutions.

Over three cycles of the program to date, alumni have gone on to create more than 140 jobs and raise more than $195 million in venture capital funding.

In partnership with HITLAB, NYCEDC has also announced the selection of four companies that will participate in the Digital Health Breakthrough Network, an initiative for early stage startups to test products with users while simultaneously strengthening connections to both the health-care and technology sectors.

This year’s cohort includes companies developing wearable tech and smart injection devices, among other projects. These two initiatives work in tandem, according to a release from the NYCEDC.

“The digital health sector is one of the fastest growing segments of our tech economy and has the potential to be a major job creator for a wide range of New Yorkers,” said NYCEDC President and CEO James Patchett in the release. “More importantly, the sector is leveraging New York City’s unique tech talent to develop solutions that will impact the health of people around the world. We’re proud to continue to support the growth of the digital health industry, and we’re excited to see how it continues to shape our economy and quality of life."


San Francisco’s Crime Data Portal Aims to Improve Community

San Francisco has launched a platform that allows users to geographically query crime data in a more efficient way than its open data portal has previously allowed.

Officials praised the portal in a recent blog post, providing insight into the development process and praising its ability to enable the public to geographically query incident data in a way that saves time while also increasing access to info. The launch of the program was twofold; Code for San Francisco released a beta version in early 2017, and significant improvements to search capabilities were added in February.

These improvements allowed users to conduct a polygon search, which is the ability to draw an irregular shape around a local campus example, for example, in order to focus searches on crime incidents in immediate areas. According to the blog, future enhancements will bolster other aspects of the platform, including reports on campus safety-related crime incidents. The timeline provided by the blog says improvements will continue to be made through 2017, with a projected completion date of mid-January 2018, which is when 2017 SFPD annual crime data is available.  

The San Francisco Crime Data portal was born after Joy Bonaguro joined the city in 2014 as its first chief data officer and noticed that staff with the San Francisco Police Department were spending hours doing custom geographic queries to answer public record requests. At that time, the portal didn’t let users interface with info geographically.


Colorado Statewide Internet Portal Authority Awards 22 Micro-Grants

The Colorado Statewide Internet Portal Authority (SIPA) has awarded $113,000 in micro-grant funding to 22 local governments throughout the state to help them implement new technologies and better digital government services.

The recipients will be announced at a ceremony Tuesday, April 18. In past years, the authority has given micro-grants to a diverse set of beneficiaries. Last year’s crop, for example, included the 4th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, Morgan County, the Governor’s Office of Information Technology, and the town of Silt, among others.

A large portion of this grant money is made possible by SIPA’s self-funded contract with Colorado Interactive, the team behind the official website of Colorado. SIPA itself was established in 2004 by the Colorado General Assembly to be the state’s most comprehensive delivery channel for digital government services.

This year’s group of applicants totaled 58 state agencies, counties, municipalities, institutions of higher education and special districts. The ultimate point of the money is so that public service bodies can develop better citizen-facing information services online.

This over-arching commitment to improving life for residents with better digital services can also be seen in a pair of recent appointments the governor has made. In November, Brandon Williams was named the state’s first digital transformation officer, and in March, Tony Neal-Graves was made executive director of the state’s broadband office

Zack Quaintance Staff Writer

Zack Quaintance is a staff writer for Government Technology. Prior to that, he spent five years working in daily newspapers, and another five years working in the tech sector. He lives in Northern California.