San Antonio Startup Cityflag Joins City-Focused Techstars Program
San Antonio—[Updated 3/8/19, 2:27 p.m. See below.] A San Antonio startup, Cityflag, is joining a new Techstars program in Amsterdam for businesses that focus on changing how “we live, work, and travel in cities.”
Cityflag is one of ten startups that is taking part in the Arcadis City of 2030 Accelerator, which Techstars is running in Amsterdam from March through May of this year. Arcadis is a design, engineering, and project management consultancy that operates in 70 countries, working on anything from architecture projects to working on environmental remediation projects. Techstars and the company, which is traded publicly on the Euronext stock exchange, picked startups that were focused on city-related themes, such as urban planning, mobility, and housing.
Cityflag, which has roots dating to 2015, makes an online community that lets citizens talk with government officials and fellow citizens about ongoing issues in the city that they care about—anything from cleaning up graffiti to filling potholes. The startup wants to increase civic engagement, believing that the average citizen would prefer posting about a local service that is needed to an online social network, which is monitored and operated by the local government, rather than trying to make a phone call to report something. (Paragraph updated to reflect that a previous company was founded in 2015 and Cityflag was incorporated in 2017.)
Techstars now has about 45 different accelerators in cities like Austin, TX, and Seattle, as well as others that are based in a partnership with a business like Arcadis. The Boulder, CO-based accelerator operator gives startups mentorship, training, and other benefits like a $20,000 stipend as a part of the program, in exchange for a 6 percent equity stake in the business. (It also offers each startup a $100,000 convertible note.)
The nine other businesses in the Arcadis accelerator are joining it from places around the world, such as Melbourne, Berlin, and Barcelona. Three of them are also based in the U.S., including Iowa-based traffic-focused software-as-a-service maker Etalyc, California-based digital meditation startup Pause Wellness, and housing software maker Kndrd , also based in California. Arcadis said this week that the accelerator was developed “based on the fact that in the next decade the vast majority of people will live their lives in cities.”
Cityflag is in the process of raising a $1.2 million seed round of funding, according to co-founder Beto Altamirano, which has included investments from Techstars and Henry Cisneros, the former secretary of housing and urban development. The company is operating in four cities so far, including San Antonio, and is working with seven others to potentially launch in the next month, Altamirano wrote in an e-mail. In San Antonio, it has more than 12,000 users, he wrote. Cityflag was interested in joining the accelerator because its founders believed the technical advice, access to information networks, and funding will help it expand, Altamirano wrote. [Updated to add comments from co-founder.]
In 2015, Altamirano was one of seven winners of the VotoLatino Innovators Challenge, a competition supported by the MacArthur Foundation for startups looking to improve Latino communities. The winners split $500,000. In 2016, Altamirano was named the Ricardo Salinas Scholar by The Aspen Institute. In November 2017, Forbes named him to its 30 Under 30 list for Social Entrepreneurs.