DC Is a Natural Hub for Startups: 1776's Harris

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Nov. 8 (Bloomberg) -- Donna Harris, co-founder of Washington-based business incubator 1776, discusses Washington DC's startup ecosystem with Pimm Fox on Bloomberg Television's "Taking Stock." (Source: Bloomberg)

Competition is being put on by the platform 1776. they're based in washington, d.c., and joining me with more is 1776 co-founder, donna harris.

Donna, thanks for joining us.

Tell people, what is 1776, other than the birth of the united states?

Well, thanks for having me.

1776, at least in today's context, is an inc.

Bation platform here in washington, d.c.,. we're four blocks from the white house and have 175 startups that are working trying to transform industries like education, headquarter, transportation and energy.

So we're excited about running a competition that looks all over the world to find startups in those industries and highlight them, help them get the capital and the resources they need to grow.

Tell us a little bit about this.

It almost sounds like a contest in which, you know, you go from one round to the next and then eventually you end up in washington, d.c., if you're lucky and have that great idea.

That's exactly what it is.

So we start with competitions in in 16 cities around the world.

So we've already done competitions now in washington, d.c. and chicago, competition in berlin and moscow are up next and then we go to sao paulo, we go to london, we go back to u.s. to boston, l.a., we go to cape town.

We're literally blanketing the globe.

In each of the cities we're running workshops and training, pitch coaching.

We're bringing experts in to help the startups think about how to build their businesses.

But most importantly, we give them the opportunity to get on stage for a minute, pitch their company and one company in each of the four industries, so education, headquarter, energy and transportation will be selected as the winner in that city and then all of the winners from all of the cities will be brought to washington, d.c., in may of next year for a giant festival where we will ultimately select the global winner in each of the categories and one overall winner of the challenge cup.

Who is in the audience during these pitches?

Who decides whether they go to the next round?

Had so the audience, there's an audience and a set of judges.

We're looking at them from the standpoint primarily of an investor viewpoint.

How scalable is this company, can we really see it become a game-changing company?

But also the social element -- do we really think this is a transformative company?

Are we going to change the way we access education or latin america or the way that we -- or headquarter or the way that we transport two and from our destination?

So the -- to and from our destination?

We had a significant amount of interest in just really looking at who these companies are and getting them showcased on the media, it's also potential customers.

Our sponsors include people like microsoft and pierson who are there because they are really interested in finding the next great company in these industries.

Now, let's say you get lucky enough and you have the right -- the right pitch to get you to the finals, what would you actually win at the very end?

Do you get office space, do you get financial backing, do you get a board of directors?

What's in it for the companies?

Yeah.

So lots in it for the companies.

So each of the winners of the regional competitions get -- first of all, an all expense trip paid to washington, d.c. to the festival.

They also get virtual membership to our campus in washington, d.c., which gives them access to the networks and resources of washington, d.c. to help them scale and where better to think about scaling in education and headquarter than washington, d.c.? the winners that come from the festival in may, the top eight companies will actually get capital as a prize and the top winner will get the largest capital prize.

In addition, each of the winners get a significant showcase on the media and in social media and across the web.

And then they all also get during the weeker in in washington, d.c., a very tailored set of meetings designed to really help them drive revenue for their companies, because all of these companies are really in a place where revenue becomes the most important factor.

Donna, you know, washington, d.c., yes, everyone thinks of the white house.

They think of politics.

They may not any of technology.

That may be something more when you conceive of when you imagine silicon valley or in boston.

What is the landscape like for technology companies in washington, d.c. currently?

It's a combhon misconception that d.c. is only a government town.

Unfortunately that gets most of the attention.

If you look at the startup ecosystem, there are over 1,000 companies in the washington, d.c., area that are raising capital right now.

So it's a very dense community that is just recently started to come together and to be highlighted.

We have over 175 companies just in our campus alone that we're working with to incubate.

There's a real base of companies in a are trying to re-engineer important industries so d.c. is a natural hub for that.

We have to leave it there.

I want to thank you and congratulations to donna

This text has been automatically generated. It may not be 100% accurate.

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