The WDCEP Looks to Get DC into the Startup Spotlight

If you’re at all involved in DC’s tech or startup ecosystems, you probably think we have a lot going on here. However, a recent ranking of the top global ecosystems shows that DC didn’t even crack the top 20. We clearly have some work to do if we want to entice people to startup in the nation’s capital.
Luckily, the Washington, DC Economic Partnership (WDCEP) is on it. Their goal is to get DC in the spotlight as a tech startup hub. According to an article in DCInno, they’ve started putting some ambitious plans in place that will help promote DC. In addition to some recent new hires, they’ve also become DC’s representation at SXSW Interactive.
“People don’t always think of D.C. as a big part of the tech startup and innovation world,” Erica Moore, who’s recently taken on the role of WDCEP first technology and entrepreneurship program associate, told DC Inno “That’s changing and the Partnership is evolving to promote it.”
The Washington DC Economic Partnership is a non-profit organization that promotes economic development and business opportunities for Washington, DC. Of course their mission covers development outside of the tech industry, but they are putting more emphasis on tech startups than ever before.
As part of the 2015 SXSW Interactive festival, they hosted WE DC House. It included a number of events including a startup showcase, a fireside chat brought to you by your very own Tech.co, and a lounge where people could socialize, be productive, or both.
“At SXSW we are showcasing to potential investors in our startups,” Julie Weber, WDCEP’s marketing director told DCInno. “We can show them we have a burgeoning, thriving startup scene that they should take a look at.”
WDCEP is putting a focus on drawing more venture capitalists, angel investors, and other resources to the DC area as well, because the entrepreneurs are naturally going to gravitate towards cities with money. As part of the push to highlight tech startups, WDCEP is also planning networking events, lectures, and they’ve even put together this handy map of all of the coworking spaces in DC.

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Boston Startup Quorum Wins ‘Live Free in DC’ Startup Competition

Last month, the Washington D.C. Economic Partnership (WDCEP) accepted applications from startups for its Live Free in D.C. competition – a contest aimed at giving one lucky startup the ability to live and work in the nation’s capital at zero cost. Yesterday, it was announced that the Boston, MA-based online legislative platform, Quorum, is the winner of the competition and will move into the District on June 1st to, of course, live free in DC.
Live Free D.C. was a competition initially announced at this year’s South by Southwest Interactive (SXSWi) Festival in Austin, TX. According to WDCEP, applicants to the competition were reviewed by a select panel of board members from Accelerate D.C. (the mentor-venture program created by the organization). In narrowing down the winner of the competition, the judges considered several factors. For one, they looked for companies that had long-term growth potential if they were to relocate to the District. They also looked at the age of the startup, their current revenue, history of media exposure, product and market fit, and whether their teams had a sense of commitment. And, of course, they looked at which startups would receive optimal benefits from being located in D.C.
“We applied for the ‘Live Free in D.C.’ competition because it provides us with the space and resources we need in order to continue growing as a company,” said Quorum cofounder, Alex Wirth, in a statement. “The housing and work space as well as the support from WDCEP will help our team to hit the ground running this summer.”
Quorum was founded by Wirth and fellow Harvard grad Jonathan Marks. Through their platform, users are provided with quantitative insights into legislative data, tracking the records of each member of Congress and visualizing their voting history, participation in various committees, and essentially everything you’d ever want to know about our legislators.
The Boston company will live in D.C. between June and August, where they will get the chance to form relationships with community and business leaders, spread the word about Quorum throughout the D.C. community, and get valuable access to mentors and advisors through Accelerate D.C. Quorum will spend the entirety of their time at coworking Canvas.