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Why 1776 Is Coming to New York City

Rachel Haot

Managing Director, 1776

How do you make the greatest city in the world even greater? By constantly reinventing it.

We’re thrilled to announce that 1776 will expand to New York City with the launch of a new campus in the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

For five years, I served as Chief Digital Officer for New York City and New York State. In government, a simple goal drove our work: Make New York the world’s greatest engine for innovation.

I joined 1776 because I realized that as a catalyst for innovation, it’s unparalleled. 1776 brings together leaders at the crossroads of fundamental change — government, institutions, entrepreneurs, investors — to solve the world’s biggest challenges.

With our expansion to the Brooklyn, 1776 will build on New York’s momentum and work to remove the stubborn barriers that hold it back, helping our city reach even greater heights.

New York City’s economy is among the world’s strongest, but we can do better. We have the ingredients for bigger growth: a world-class workforce, thriving tech sector, and dominance in finance, health and other industries. New York City should be leading global innovation in multi-billion-dollar sectors like education, energy, health and finance. But we’re not — yet.

So what’s holding New York City back?

  1. Tech is mostly limited to saturated sectors like advertising technology, media and fashion, distinguished by their low barriers to entry . There is a natural ceiling to growth if the sector stays confined to this low-hanging fruit. Given everything New York’s economy has to offer, we shouldn’t limit ourselves.
  2. Despite wins like OnDeck and Oscar, neither startups nor established institutions have begun to fundamentally change big, traditional industries like education, energy, health and finance. But disruption is inevitable. If we don’t invest in next-generation innovations in New York City, they will happen elsewhere.
  3. Industry transformation often takes place at the intersection of government, big business, entrepreneurs and investors. But these actors rarely interact — or even speak the same language. And when they finally collide, it’s often too late for productive collaboration.
  4. Startups and institutional innovators in regulated industries are underserved in New York City. They lack the support to scale and thrive in sectors with significant structural and policy barriers — assets like specialized workspaces, timelines, mentorship, training, partners and investors.
  5. New York City is a powerful ecosystem in itself, but actors that don’t engage with leaders outside the city are missing critical access to capital, partners and policymakers that can shape their trajectories.

1776 knows that these barriers aren’t specific to New York City. But the upside of overcoming them in New York City is perhaps greater than anywhere else in the nation, and the world.

How will 1776 invest in New York City’s future?

  1. Community: Our 30,000+ square-foot Brooklyn Navy Yard campus will be home to a community of startup and institutional members building businesses in the core 1776 industries of education, energy, food, fintech, health, security, smart cities and transportation. Members will access unparalleled workspaces, training, mentors and workshops tailored to the challenges they face — like our Regulatory Hacking course.
  2. Convening New York’s leaders: 1776 will expand its institutional innovation program in New York City, building bridges between startups and legacy organizations. Through roundtables and coalitions, 1776 will convene the City’s most influential officials, executives, community leaders, investors and entrepreneurs to reimagine critical industries and drive growth.
  3. Destination: Some of you were able to join us at this year’s Challenge Cup competition in New York, and got a taste of the energy at our events. We’re designing our campus to be a destination for more incredible experiences. And we look forward to welcoming leaders — from the neighborhood to the world — and introducing them to innovators in the 1776 community. In our campuses around the world, to date 1776 has hosted hundreds of influential visitors, from President Barack Obama to Queen Rania of Jordan, Madeleine Albright to Marc Andreessen.
  4. Investment: Through our seed fund, we’ll deepen our investment activity in New York City companies solving important problems through technology. From open office hours with startups to events with leading investors, 1776 will be able to engage with more local, early stage startups in our core industries than ever before.
  5. Global network: Finally, we’ll connect our New York City members to partners at our hubs in Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Dubai and around the world. Today more than 1,000 mentors, startups, partners and investors make up the 1776 global community.

Through everything we do, we’ll enable new opportunities across 1776, New York — and the world.

can’t imagine a better partner in this endeavor than the visionary Brooklyn Navy Yard — home to brilliant inventors and makers, and a testament to the reinvention of industry in New York City.

We’ll be based at the top of the extraordinary Building 77 — currently undergoing a $185 million renovation covering all one million square feet — with sweeping 270-degree views of Manhattan and the East River.

The Brooklyn Navy Yard is taking exciting steps to make Building 77 an inviting, vibrant community: opening a massive, beautiful food hall with local vendors like Russ & Daughters, building a rooftop beer garden with the Brooklyn Brewery, installing an efficient street entrance, and launching free, WiFi-equipped shuttle service to nearby subway stops. Citi Bike stations, bus stops — and later, a ferry stop — are also at our future doorstep.

But the Navy Yard’s greatest strength is the energy of entrepreneurship that hums throughout the place. Over the next four years, the Brooklyn Navy Yard aims to add another 9,000 jobs and develop over three million square feet. We’re excited to work with President David Ehrenberg, Sukanya Paciorek and all our new neighbors to make the Navy Yard an even more powerful platform for innovation that it is today.

If you want to shape the future of New York City and the world, we invite you to join us.

From startups to mentors, institutions to government, there is a role for everyone in the 1776 community. Visit us at — and we look forward to seeing you in the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

Rachel Haot

Managing Director, 1776

Rachel Haot is a Managing Director at 1776, leading New York City strategy and operations. Prior to this, Rachel was Chief Digital Officer and Deputy Secretary for Technology of New…