DC: A Great Place to Start (Up)

Written by Greg

March 25, 2012

Sure, Google and Facebook have a presence in DC and everyone knows LivingSocial is a local success story, but is the DC area really capable of producing the next big thing? Well, startups like Shopsy, HelloWallet, OPower, Fastcustomer, and TaxiMagic all are “Proudly Made in DC”—and several were recently showcased at South by Southwest 2012.

DC also has a growing entrepreneurship ecosystem for startups. Launched in 2012, the new DC startup accelerator, The Fort, has given thirteen early-stage DC startups $25,000 to $100,000 in seed capital in addition to office space, mentorship, coaching, business, and legal services. DC’s Affinity Lab gives its members tiered business space, tools, and services at three different membership levels. And, Foster.ly aims to be the one-stop website to connect the DC-area entrepreneurship community to local resources, talent, and funding.

The goal of Startup DC, also launched this year, is to foster the DC startup ecosystem by building a coalition of mentors, advisors, funders, major corporations, and service providers to help entrepreneurs across the region start and scale companies. The venture is connected with the Startup America Partnership and also has strong ties with Founder Corps--a network of  technology entrepreneurs who have started, managed or exited successful technology businesses and whose core mission is to promote and advance the technology entrepreneurship community in the DC-area.

For breaking news and trends in the DC startup community, DC-based Tech Cocktail is a great place to start. In addition to its news blog, the media company also has hosted several well-attended mixers in DC to connect entrepreneurs and showcase local startups.  However, by far the largest event in DC is the annual DCWEEK, co-created by Peter Corbett, CEO of iStrategyLabs, who’s also a co-organizer of the popular DC Tech Meetup.

Want to see what’s hot in the DC startup scene?  March is a great time to start! The (free) DC Tech Meetup at the House of Sweden in Georgetown will explore the theme of Innovation and Education and will include demos by Swedish and DC Ed Tech startups. And, don’t miss the second annual Social Learning Summit, by the American University Social Media Club. This event will bring together students, educators, and professionals to discuss the intersection of social media and technology in DC. Registration is only $10 for the Friday night/Saturday conference which features a wide range of fascinating topics and an excellent lineup of speakers from local startups.

In April, Startup DC and Ladies DC will co-host "Entreprelooza", a martini mixer in Georgetown's L2 Lounge that will bring together tech entrepreneurs and the wider DC community to benefit the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship Dare to Dream Gala. A few days later, again in Georgetown, Tech Cocktail will launch its new "Sessions" speaker series, where real entrepreneurs will share their personal stories to inspire and educate entrepreneurs on how to start and run a business.

Also, DC Tech Meetup has major events planned for May 1st and June 1st!

And, be sure to check the Greg’s List DC calendar for future events (iParties?), cause, you know, we’re proudly made in DC too!

Photo (by Greg!): Taken at the March 15, 2012, Google DC Talks series; Google and The Milken Institute hosted former U.S. CTO Aneesh Chopra, and Vijay Vaitheeswaran, author of Need, Speed and Greed. The conversation was moderated CNBC contributor Tony Fratto. .

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