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Gov Tech Startup Cityflag Reinvents Itself as Irys

The startup out of San Antonio gained enough clients and attention over the past few years that it felt a new name and mission statement were in order. It also announced two free tools for COVID-19 response.

by / April 13, 2020

Cityflag, a relatively small gov tech startup that has found some success in helping cities flag and track 311 service requests, has rebranded itself as Irys.

Founded in 2015 out of San Antonio, Cityflag has made its name working with municipalities to create apps for 311, citizen relationship management, community engagement and rental property maintenance requests. Various awards and competitions in the past five years have boosted the company’s profile: Cityflag was a winner of the Voto Latino Innovators Challenge for Latino youth in 2015, it was a member of Startup Mexico’s fourth cohort later that year, its co-founder Alberto Altamirano was named a Ricardo Salinas Scholar in 2016 by The Aspen Institute, it was responsible for the 311 app San Antonio launched in 2018, and the company was among 10 finalists last year for the QBE and Ashoka Urban Resilience Challenge.

In a Medium post last week, co-founders of Cityflag said the company has about 13 employees; several products; clients around the world including departments of transportation, airports and other asset management organizations; and has helped city administrations resolve more than 150,000 service requests to date. They described the name change from Cityflag to Irys as a result of this growth, expanding into serving other clients such as transit hubs and military bases, and a slight change in their mission based on experience with clients. Where Cityflag’s mission was “improving communication between people and government,” the mission of Irys is “improving the quality of life in communities through the use of technology.”

The newly named company will focus on six priorities: building smarter communities, efficient communication, fixing real issues, positive impact in people lives, making cities more responsive and resilient and using good design and innovation. The name itself, Irys, comes from the colored structure in the eye that regulates pupil size, and can also be the name of a person.

“We’ve shaped a name and brand that is forward-thinking focused on community building: Irys, building collaborative communities,” the Medium post said.

The company also announced two free tools related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic: a Web app for the public, with general information and the ability to conduct self-screenings based on symptoms, and print out results and recommendations to take to a doctor; and a COVID-19 dashboard, which also integrates with the Web app and allows governments to manage reports and data received from the public app’s self-screening survey and price-gouging modules. Public agencies interested in accessing the dashboard can request to do so here.

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