Gov Tech Startup Irys Closes $1.2M Seed Round

By Iris Gonzalez
From left, Alberto Gomez, Alberto Altamirano and Eduardo Bravo are founders of San Antonio-based Irys, formerly known as CityFlag. Courtesy photo.

Irys announced Tuesday its $1.2M seed round led by early-stage venture capital firm Good Growth Capital with participation from Arcadis and Techstars Ventures. Investors in the seed round from San Antonio include former U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Henry Cisneros, Graham Weston, Pat Matthews, Victor Miramontes, and Matthew Starr.

Cityflag, a government technology startup focused on helping cities flag and track 311 service requests, rebranded itself as Irys in mid-March, just as the COVID-19 pandemic was triggering lockdowns across the country. Alberto Altamirano, Alberto Gomez, and Eduardo Bravo founded the company in 2017. That same year, they received a contract with the city of San Antonio for an app to revamp its 311 system.

Read more: San Antonio 311SA App Wins Smart 50 Award for Cityflag

“To reflect the evolution of Cityflag’s mission, we’ve decided to reshape our name and brand. Our new name, Irys, represents our mission in creating tech solutions that are dynamic, forward-thinking, and focused on community building,” Irys CEO Altamirano said in a tweet.

In the past three years, Irys has grown from an idea to help residents communicate more effectively with their local government to a company with over 15 employees, multiple products, and global clients.

The startup described in a March 18 post how changing its Cityflag moniker to Irys reflects how it has expanded to helping transit hubs, military bases, and other clients.

Where Cityflag’s purpose was “improving communication between people and government,” Irys is focused on “improving the quality of life in communities through the use of technology,” Altamirano said.

The investment will help Irys expand its service in supporting cities, military bases, and engineering companies by expanding upon its software-as-a-service or SaaS artificial intelligence solutions for better community engagement. The rebranded company will focus on building smarter communities with more efficient communication while addressing community issues.

Irys has partnered in an initial effort with the U.S. Air Force through its AFWERX program, a competitive awards-based innovation initiative.  The partnership will focus on helping military bases address family housing and on-base infrastructure issues.

“Irys has already proved to be a valuable component in strengthening municipal infrastructure communications,” stated Active capital CEO and founder Pat Matthews. “This new funding will enable the company to further expand its national presence and move forward with development of dedicated software for the U.S. Air Force and other branches of the military.”

The company also has developed two free tools to help communities during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Its public-facing app has general information to help users self-screen for COVID-19 based on symptoms. Irys’ COVID-19 dashboard gives local governments the ability to manage reports of price-gouging and data received from the free app’s self-screening surveys.  Public agencies interested in accessing the dashboard can request to do so here.

Selected as one of Forbes 30 Under 30 in 2018, Altamirano emphasized how important it is to leverage innovation in building more collaborative communities.

“This seed round will allow Irys to continue to grow and support our customers as we bring our products to market,” Altamirano said.

Featured image is of the Irys team. From left, Alberto Gomez, Alberto Altamirano, and Eduardo Bravo are the founders of San Antonio-based Irys, formerly known as CityFlag. Courtesy photo.

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