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How One Startup Broke Into Government

A partnership with a local startup helped San Leandro, Calif., make sense of new data sources.

Snagging a government customer can be a daunting prospect for a startup company, typically short on manpower and resources to compete against more established vendors for public-sector contracts. But through San Francisco's Startup in Residence (STiR) program, Bay Area-based analytics firm LotaData is expanding the capabilities of nearby San Leandro, Calif., to delve into its data in new ways.

At the State of GovTech event in October, LotaData CEO Apu Kumar, above, and San Leandro CIO Tony Batalla, below, talked to Government Technology about how they're working together. 

The partnership began with a need that came up from the Recreation Department, where a new cloud-based system gave the city access to demographic information that could help improve how they run their programs — if only they had the capability to analyze it. LotaData built a location-based dashboard that lets staff analyze performance on a weekly basis, and make more informed program decisions. 

"We sit on this really important data, that if analyzed and given to us in a way that we can interpret correctly, could be really powerful," Batalla said, "but we need outside partners to do it."

Noelle Knell has been the editor of Government Technology magazine for e.Republic since 2015. She has more than two decades of writing and editing experience, covering public projects, transportation, business and technology. A California native, she has worked in both state and local government, and is a graduate of the University of California, Davis, with majors in political science and American history. She can be reached via email and on Twitter.