DC's startup community and neighborhood advocates convene at Tech In The City


How can startup companies in DC contribute to making great neighborhoods, and how can neighborhoods attract more startups?

In a panel discussion and reception hosted yesterday evening by Smart Growth America, ElevationDC and iStrategy Labs, Washington, DC’s emerging tech community convened with advocates for better urban development to discuss how startups are changing the city’s real estate, and how the city can support startups through better development strategies.

Peter Corbett, CEO of iStrategyLabs; Harriet Tregoning, Director of the DC Office of Planning; and Ilana Preuss, Vice President and Chief of Staff of Smart Growth America led the discussion at iStrategyLabs’ workshop space high above Dupont Circle.

“D.C. has done an amazing amount of work over the last ten years with neighborhoods that are supportive of start-ups,” says Ilana Preuss. “There are lots of co-work spaces. So what else needs to happen? We’re bringing together D.C. tech and city developers to ask that question.”

The panelists explored DC’s unique assets for fostering entrepreneurship – a highly educated local workforce, a concentration of institutions of higher education, and availability of investment sources through venture capital and ‘angel’ money, a term for investors who provide financial backing in exchange for convertible debt or ownership equity in a company.

While there was spirited debate amongst the panelists on what the best strategies are to attract more entrepreneurs to the District and what the City could be doing differently, a common thread was the value of DC’s vibrant urban neighborhoods, which facilitate social interaction among not only the tech community but potential investors and other community stakeholders.

The event was the first in a series to be hosted by Smart Growth America, which aims to foster connections between DC’s thriving startup community and their role in contributing to dynamic and productive urban neighborhoods. Join our mailing list to learn about the next event in the series when it’s announced.