Creating a Mini-Valley in D.C.

Back at the beginning of September I discussed my desire to help create a Silicon Valley-like atmosphere here in D.C. Yesterday, I had three meetings with individuals, two of which are currently running their own startup. I will be posting interviews with both of them in the coming weeks. Over the course of the day, one topic seemed to come up in each of my conversations: the rise of a start-up communnity in Washington D.C.

Everyone seemed to think that the primary reason behind D.C. not building a thriving start-up community is that venture capitalists in the area are overwhelmingly conservative. I have to agree with this but it is beginning to change. Sean Greene (who I interviewed last week) and LaunchBox Digital will be just one of the contributors to this. Eric Litman of Washington VC (who I will be interviewing next week) will also be contributing to this as well.

Be confident that there are more to come. One of my own personal missions with the Social Times is to help leverage the site’s technology channel (we will soon add additional channels) to help build a thriving start-up community in D.C. With the rise of things as simple as D.C. Tweetups (I have been to two in the past couple weeks) and other local events, I am confident that it will happen.

I will be hosting an event about “How to Get Funding for Your Startup in D.C.” on February 13th. I haven’t officially announced it yet and haven’t picked a location but be confident that I will be working hard to put together many more events that revolve around building this community. I’m not the only one. People like Jared Goralnick, Justin Thorp, Peter Corbett, Rana Sobhany, Jimmy Gardner, Martin Ringlein, Ann Bernard and the Why Go Solo team, Ross Karchner, Jason Garber, the local VCs, developers, designers and many others (sorry if I didn’t get your name in here … feel free to shout in the comments) are also helping to build this community.

It won’t happen overnight but 2008 is going to be a big year for us. I seriously believe that while there was the rise and fall of the netpreneur era in D.C., it is rising again and I think it is possible to make it permanent this time around. I will host as many events as possible to help contribute and I will continue to post interviews with the people that are help building this community. What are you going to do to help? What’s missing? Can it be done?

Updated Community Contributors
Will Kern
Zvi Band
Jesse Thomas
Brian Williams