‘Startup Virginia’ Launches in Arlington

by ARLnow.com January 31, 2012 at 11:00 am 4,819 11 Comments

A new organization that will help Virginia entrepreneurs connect with each other and grow their companies was launched this morning at George Mason University in Arlington.

Startup Virginia, part of the privately-funded Startup America Partnership that President Obama helped to launch last year, promises to “support entrepreneurs and help startups drive job creation” in the Commonwealth. Organizers say Northern Virginia in particular is fertile ground for startups, with the numerous corporate headquarters in the area and with the area’s focus on science and technology.

“It’s about time this region got the recognition it deserves,” said a panelist at this morning’s launch event, which was attended by several hundred business leaders, academics and other attendees. Another panelist suggested that entrepreneurs can help pick up some of the economic slack that will be caused by expected cuts in defense spending.

Among the speakers at the event were Aneesh Chopra, the outgoing Chief Technology Officer for the White House, and Steve Case, co-founder of America Online, Chairman of the Startup America Partnership and a prominent local investor. Chopra cited Courthouse-based Opower as an example of a Virginia startup that’s making it big.

“Right down the street here in Arlington, Opower didn’t exist five years ago,” Chopra said. “[It has] over 300 employees to help compete to bring down your energy bills.”

Chopra made some news at the event when he hinted at a new bipartisan legislative package that’s expected to be announced by the White House later today. According to Chopra, the legislation would cut taxes for small businesses and entrepreneurs, would reduce barriers to accessing capital markets for high-growth companies, and would seek to reduce administrative backlogs for high-skill immigration.

Case said entrepreneurs helped to build the United States into the world power it is today.

“We didn’t become the leading economy by accident,” Case said. “It was the work of entrepreneurs creating companies, and really creating entire industries, that in the last two centuries has propelled us to the position we now have globally.”

Case cautioned, however, that other countries are trying to catch up with America in the realm of entrepreneurship. The U.S. must focus on “winning the global battle on talent,” he said.


  • Burger

    –would reduce barriers to accessing capital markets for high-growth companies–

    You mean they are going to repeal SARBOX – I doubt that

    • JDS

      Rush Limbaugh, is that you?

      • Burger

        And do you know the significance of SARBOX to start-ups i.e. high-growth companies? Do you know what Facebook has taken ages to have an IPO – it isn’t because they do not want the money…

        Notice how Sarbox didn’t stop Madoff, Sanford, MF Global. I guess Dodd Frank didn’t really stop MF Global but, hey, let’s keep ineffective laws and regulations for simplicity sake.

        • JDS

          Clearly, Facebook should have gone public years ago, if it weren’t for those meddling liberals! Please provide some evidence that they wished to have gone public earlier, only to be foiled at every turn by SOX.

          Groupon obviously didn’t have the same difficulty, even though they’re a good four years younger than Facebook.

          Or could it be that SOX is little more than scapegoat used by right-wing talkshow hosts to complain about the economy?

          Keep in mind that ‘going public’ is not the endgame for most startups – many will get bought up along the way, or will choose to remain privately held. Indeed, examining the quantity of IPOs is a crude instrument and probably a pretty poor indicator of the health of the startup environment, and certainly it paints an incomplete picture. Take a look around; you’ll notice that there isn’t exactly a shortage of startups, especially in places like SF, NY, and DC.

  • Bart

    Steve Case got old.

    • OldTimer

      Beats the alternative!

  • OX4

    I have a great idea for a towel with human anatomy parts drawn on the outside. Wonder if they’ll fund that.

    • awh hells bells

      Sounds like your towel concept would be a hot seller in the 20-something jabroni demographic. Do you think you could put a bird on it? You might consider throwing in some free Kitten Mittens to sweeten the deal.

    • OldTimer

      My ironing board has a cover showing full nekkid human anatomy. Makes it hard… to concentrate on ironing.

  • MC

    The example of Opower, cited in the article, should be more widely known. They are a very impressive Arlington start up, and I’ve seen the size of there staff grow as they have taken additional office space in their Court House location (in addition to having San Francisco offices). Arlington would do well to gain more such start ups. Somehow DC leads us here, despite the higher taxes.

  • susan

    Steve Case? Same Steve Case who made a royal mess of Time-Warner?


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