conversations This Booth-Bred Govtech Startup Is Making Cities Smarter Interacting with local government can often feel like a chore: getting a vehicle registration, dealing with tickets, paying taxes, renewing a license . . . the list goes on. For most of us, checking items off of that list means taking time off from work to travel to various government offices, or dealing with several different (and often antiquated) payment systems. But what if residents could instead navigate and pay for government services on their schedule, in one user-friendly digital platform? That’s the question that has obsessed Mike Duffy, ’12. Duffy is the CEO of CityBase, a Chicago-based tech startup founded in 2013 that aims to do just that: streamline government and utility services and payments. Duffy brought aboard two fellow Booth alumni—chief customer officer Liz Fischer, ’15, and chief technology officer Alex Pedenko, ’13—to automate government service payments ranging from tickets to license renewals. CityBase works with more than 100 government agencies and utilities, and the company was acquired in 2019 by GTY Technology Holdings, a Las Vegas–based firm, for $160 million. Duffy, Fischer, and Pedenko joined in a conversation with Chicago Booth Magazine to discuss why digitizing the government will help underserved communities, how their entrepreneurial journey has unfolded, and why Booth is in CityBase’s DNA.