United States

Washington, D.C. #11

Startups in Washington, D.C., have a refreshing focus on taking on significant global challenges and bringing their unique entrepreneurship lens to problems historically left to governments.

Donna Harris
Cofounder, 1776 General Partner, 1776 Ventures

Highlights

Washington, D.C. may be more well known for politics than entrepreneurship, but the numbers suggest the U.S. capital is actually an undersung startup hub. The area is home to more than 1,000 tech startups, and it ranks first in the nation for growth in entrepreneurship, according to the Kauffman Foundation. Various rankings have named Washington, D.C. the third most future-ready economy among American cities, third best tech city in the nation, and the country’s top city for social entrepreneurs working to solve social challenges. Washington, D.C. was ranked number 2 in North American on the 2020 Scoring Tech Talent by CBR. Local government initiative #innoMAYtion hopes to build on this momentum by encouraging local entrepreneurs to help solve the city’s challenges and create opportunities for its residents. 1776’s Challenge Cup, a worldwide competition organized by local startup incubator 1776, spotlights the globe’s most promising startups. Finally, DC Startup Week attracts over 10,000 entrepreneurs for 5 days of connection, collaboration, and celebration. Success stories to emerge from the ecosystem include risk management firm Interos, which has raised a total of $128.4 million over 3 rounds, and international student loan company MPOWER Financing, which has raised $375 million over 13 rounds.

Ecosystem by the numbers

TOTAL EARLY STAGE FUNDING
$2.1 bn
GLOBAL AVG.
$548 m
ECOSYSTEM VALUE
$28.9 bn
GLOBAL AVG.
$13.68 bn
MEDIAN SEED ROUND
$625 k
GLOBAL AVG.
$480 k
MEDIAN SERIES A ROUND
$5 m
GLOBAL AVG.
$3 m
SOFT. ENGINEER SALARY
$96 k
GLOBAL AVG.
$44 k

Sub-sector Strengths

Cybersecurity

Companies headquartered in Washington, D.C. won more than 22% of the $656 billion the federal government awarded in prime contracts in 2020. Threat intelligence platform ThreatQuotient has raised a total of $87.6 million in funding over 9 rounds. Cybersecurity solutions provider Two Six Technologies, which resulted from the merger of Two Six Labs and IST Research, raised $18.9 million in February 2021. The company counts the Department of Defense and intelligence community among its clients.

Edtech

Education is one of the most important sub-sectors in the Washington, D.C. region, accounting for $3.9 billion of GDP and 44,000 jobs. Post-secondary education alone accounts for 27,000 jobs. Student lifecycle and retention management company Full Measure Education raised a $10 million Series A in June 2021. Edtech company EVERFI raised a total of $251 million before selling its higher education business to Florida’s Vector Solutions for $100 million.

Reasons to move your startup to Washington, D.C.

Skilled Workforce

Washington, D.C. is the most educated city in the U.S. according to the Census Bureau and ranks #1 in the country for high-tech employment concentration. Neighboring states Maryland and Virginia lead the nation in concentration of bachelor’s degrees in STEM disciplines. The area is home to more than 10 colleges and universities, and 50% of residents have a college degree compared to 33% nationally.

Startup Community

Startup Genome
Partners

1863 Ventures
Acceleprise
Beacon DC
Conservation X Labs
DC Fashion Foundation
Halcyon Incubator
PeaceTech Accelerator
Village Capital
Women’s Business Center (DCWBC)

Featured Articles from
Local Ambassadors

Steven Rodriguez
Steven A. Rodriguez is Managing Director and Founder of SUEGO™ and Chief Culture Officer at BloomShift™. He co-leads various ESHIP programs through his non-profit InnovateCoalition™; is a Business Development & Digital Marketing Mentor & Contributor for WeWork Labs and Coach for the DC Department of Employment Services Innovation Lab; and is a Board Member to the International Council on Trade and Development.
Steven Rodriguez | Ambassador
Would you like to be an ambassador in Washington, D.C.?
Contact Us

Get connected

Are you interested in diving deeper into this ecosystem? Drop us a message. Our Ambassadors and Partners can plug you in.