DC (as the locals call it) has an often overlooked but surprisingly strong startup ecosystem. Traditionally overshadowed by its largest local industry — the U.S. government — the region is home to a growing startup scene and a deep history in tech. The largest data ‘pipes’ in the world run through nearby northern Virginia offering ample bandwidth for big data companies, and the dotcom boom seeded the region with many successful technology exits. With one of the highest per-capita ratios of PhDs in the world, the city is filled with educated talent and has better-than-average resources for entrepreneurs. Yet many DC residents are risk-averse and tend to lack entrepreneurial mindsets, making it difficult to get engineers out of cushy government contracting jobs. The metro area is also very expensive, creating a challenge for early-stage entrepreneurs.
These businesses offer industry expertise and are a source of startup talent and potential customers. They help fuel the local startup community.
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In-Q-Tel is a VC firm that identifies and invests in technologies that could be useful to the CIA and other intelligence agencies. The company’s previous investments include analytics firms like Palantir Technologies and online security firms like FireEye. In-Q-Tel’s government connections and frequent partnerships with other investors make it a major (albeit quiet) player in DC.
Evan Burfield and Donna Harris are the Co-Founders of 1776, one of DC’s most prominent incubators. Evan and Donna possess diverse backgrounds in entrepreneurship, business management and investment. Their extensive experience, combined with 1776’s events and mentorship programs, is establishing the 1776 campus as a major landmark in DC’s startup community.
Steve Case is Chairman and CEO of Revolution LLC, a Washington, D.C.-based investment firm he co-founded in 2005. In 1985, Steve co-founded America Online (AOL), which later became the world’s largest and most valuable internet company. He is also a founding chair of numerous NGOs, including Startup America, UP Global, and the Case Foundation.
Peter Corbett is the CEO of iStrategyLabs, a digital marketing firm he founded in 2007. Peter has been a longtime staple in and proponent of DC’s tech startup community. In addition to frequently speaking on the subject of tech entrepreneurship, he was instrumental in building constructive relationships between the burgeoning startup community and the City under Mayor Gray.
Amy Millman is the co-founder and President of Springboard Enterprises, which provides mentorship, networking and other support to encourage female entrepreneurship. Her background includes serving as Executive Director of the National Women’s Business Council. Her extensive experience promoting women-led enterprises globally has made her a key partner in growing DC’s startup community.
Zvi Band serves as Co-Founder and CEO of Contactually, which develops communications management software. Zvi is highly active in the DC startup community, establishing ProudlyMadeInDC as well as DC Tech Meetup, both designed to bring local entrepreneurs together. This background, along with his frequent speaking engagements, makes him a staple of the DC startup scene.
Dan Mindus is the Founder and CEO of NextGen Angels, a network of 70 young angel investors that invests in startups in the DC area. Dan also serves as Investment Director at the Center for Innovative Technology’s GAP Funds, which funds promising Virginian tech startups. His current positions make him well connected in the DC investment community.
Sean Glass is the founder and CEO at GBS Health, a DC healthcare firm. Sean has an extensive background as an entrepreneur and as an investor, co-founding Higher One and investing in startups like TrackMaven. Notably, he co-founded Acceleprise, an accelerator focusing on enterprise software.
Paul Singh is a DC-based startup investor. He was previously a Managing Director at 1776 and founder of Disruption Corporation, which conducted research on and invested in promising tech companies. In addition to being a prolific angel investor and entrepreneur, Paul also co-founded 500 Startups and Dashboard.io. Combined with his investment acumen, Paul’s background puts him on the cutting edge of data-driven innovation in VC.
While running Innovation at Discovery Communications by day, by night Adam grows the local startup scene through Fosterly: an entrepreneurial community centered around the greater DC area. Adam contributes his extensive experience in law and business to cultivating entrepreneurs in DC through Fosterly’s events and networking opportunities.
For decades, NEA anchored the region’s investment community with a focus on early-stage deals in the information-technology, life sciences and medical sectors. Today, NEA is the world's largest venture capital firm with over $13B in assets under management.1977
Multiple major tech companies formed in DC in the late 80s, including Bethesda Softworks (major game designer), UUNET (one of the first ISPs), XM Satelliite, and America Online. These companies were pivotal icons in growing the national and global technology industry.Late '80s
AOL's IPO marked the beginning of a new era of the publicly traded Internet company. AOL served as a cornerstone for DC tech for over a decade. Its founders later go on to form Revolution, another notable firm based in DC.March 1992
Affinity Lab was the first coworking space in DC, offering a community for entrepreneurs.2001
Living Social is arguably DC's most recognized 'new age' startup. Founded in '07, the company brought attention back to the DC startup scene with its rapid ascent and global landgrab against Groupon.June 2007
Following his election in '08, President Obama named Aneesh Chopra as the first CTO of the United States. This signaled a tremendous shift in the mindset of the Federal government.May 2009
The Fort - DC's first accelerator - was a highly anticipated milestone that received significant support from the local DC government.2012
1776's arrival was a huge moment for DC startups, going on to serve as a major coworking space and community hub.April 2013
A $50M venture fund created by former 500 Startups Partner Paul Singh, the fund was positioned to make a significant impact to DC.February 2014
The center will be located in Rockville, MD's 'National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence' and will further reinforce DC as a cybersecurity hub.October 2014