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Incubator 1776 Looks to Help Arlington Startups in New Crystal City Location

Four months after a triumphant announcement featuring the governor and county leaders, startup incubator 1776 is starting to warm up to its new Crystal City offices.

The company recently opened its new location at 2231 Crystal Drive, less than a half mile away from the Crystal City Metro station. The new 1776 office is spacious and bright, with walls made up of mostly windows overlooking Reagan National Airport, the Potomac River and D.C.

1776 came to Crystal City after acquiring startup funder and research firm Disruption Corporation, which previously ran its Crystal Tech Fund and offered office space to startups in the space. Both companies were working on a similar system that tried to determine which startups were worth investing in.

Disruption founder Paul Singh joined the 1776 team but left shortly after the acquisition was completed, according to the Washington Business Journal; the paper later revealed that 1776 hastily acquired Disruption after Singh’s company ran out of money.

The office space is currently being redesigned to make the new place look more like 1776’s headquarters, near Scott Circle in the District. The company’s co-founder and CEO, Donna Harris, said 1776 saw a chance to expand its footprint, its network and its mission in Crystal City.

“We saw a real opportunity to try and bring together the region’s abundant resources to help empower those startups, and to drive new economic growth across the region,” Harris said.

Since its arrival in Arlington, the incubator has held a Challenge Cup and hosted Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) to celebrate the White House’s Startup Week. During his visit, startup members of 1776 talked about their products, and a couple of the startups gave demos.

The new Crystal City office is similar to the original D.C. office in that it is a hub for startups, Harris said. The company is planning to use its new location to provide classes, curriculum items, events and mentoring for startups in Arlington.

“As part of our effort to create new opportunities for local startups throughout the Washington Metro region to grow and scale, we plan to use our Crystal City campus as a hub for connecting startups to the growing innovation economy and the powerful talent, expertise, corporations, and government agencies in Crystal City and throughout Virginia,” Harris said.

1776 is also looking to help connect startups with institutions within the private sector and government that are connected with cyber security and data, Harris said, and the location in Arlington helps the company provide these resources.

“As the headquarters for the world’s most important government agencies, regulatory bodies, corporations and policymakers, we believe there is unique promise right here in the Washington metro area for civic-minded startups — and unique resources they can’t find anywhere else,” Harris said.

1776 isn’t the only startup incubator in Crystal City. Eastern Foundry, which works to connect new businesses with government contracting, is a few buildings over at 2011 Crystal Drive.

What makes 1776 unique, Harris said, is that the incubator looks to help startups in industries that are important to everyday life but are hard to change.

“Everyday, there are hundreds of startups working diligently on ideas that have the power to transform and improve our lives as citizens,” Harris said. “We are excited to see how we can work with those startups to improve Arlington’s community and economy.”

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