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Challenge Cup

Your Challenge Festival Journey

Brittany Heyd Headshot

Brittany Heyd

Managing Director & General Counsel, 1776

We’re just days away from the kick off of this year’s Challenge Festival, and we couldn’t be more excited for the week ahead. It’s packed full of events about ideas that can change the world and the amazing people behind them. Festival speakers and startups include thinkers & leaders at the top of their fields who will be there to share their thoughts and meet others who are achieving big things.

From in-depth panels to rooftop parties; from the traditional halls of power to the vibrant startup scene growing around the world; from inspiring keynote speakers to visionary entrepreneurs, the Challenge Festival will bring all of these together—and so much more—for an inspiring week of learning and connections.

Want to learn more about what’s going on during the week? Perfect—keep reading!

What is the Challenge Festival?

The Challenge Festival, produced by 1776 and presented by Philips, is a week of events convening the people with the best ideas for global impact in education, energy & sustainability, health, transportation, and cities. From May 8 to 16, the Challenge Festival will include industry conferences, galas, and the culmination of the Challenge Cup where 80 entrepreneurs from around the world will compete for $650,000 in prizes. There will be more than 10,000 business leaders, government officials, innovators, investors, and promising entrepreneurs from around the world in attendance.

The 1776 team traveled to 16 cities around the world—from Nairobi and Bangalore, to New York City and San Francisco—to find the best technologies that can actually change slow-moving industries such as health and education. Now, we are proud to bring the best of thousands of startups globally to Washington, D.C.

What will I do at the Challenge Festival?

Let’s dive into the week…

FRIDAY MAY 8

Opening Party—7:00 to 11:00 pm: We’ll kick off the week at the first ever “DMV County Fair” showing off the best the region has to offer.  Beautiful scenery? Check! The whole affair takes place in a beautiful square in Crystal City. Want good food and drink? Check! We’ll have the best food trucks from around the area. How about the coolest startups? Check! 9 startups from around DC will showcase their products through “carnival games” such as races, challenges, corn hole, and more. How about the best music? Check! Human Country Jukebox and Dr. Blues & the Out of Town Band will be signing the night away – and we won’t be surprised to find you singing & dancing along with them.

MONDAY MAY 11: Discover the latest & greatest in edtech

THINKERS: From 9:00 am – 3:00 pm, 1776 will host a series of panels and talks on the future of education featuring the top thought leaders of today. Some highlights include: Jessica Rosenworcel of the FCC discussing how government policy can empower schools around the country, Stacey Childress of NewSchools Venture Fund discussing private sector technologies that are making the biggest difference in student achievement, the founders of top education companies, including 2U, Everfi, and General Assembly, and leaders of top educational institutions. This event will cover everything from K-12, to the modern trade school, and what the future looks like for higher education.

DOERS:  From 4:00 to 7:00 pm, 1776 invites you to see the best entrepreneurs from around the world in action at the Challenge Cup Education Semifinals. 1776 went all over the world and found the most promising startups making the biggest impact.  Come learn about the companies creating the future of education.

CONNECTORS:  After the day’s events, what could be better than enjoying delicious southern food and cocktails on a beautiful roof deck overlooking Union Station and the Capitol?  This will be your opportunity to meet the speakers and startups from the day’s events and meet other VIPs in the education industry.

TUESDAY MAY 12: Find out what will power society in the next few decades

THINKERS: From 9:00 am – 3:00 pm, 1776 will host a series of panels and talks on the future of energy featuring the top thought leaders of today. A major highlight will be Tony Earley of Pacific Gas & Electric, talking about the future of the grid & how we move to 21st century infrastructure. You’ll also hear from the leaders of utility companies, energy startups, alternative energy companies including SolarCity, the government, and other business leaders who are thinking deeply about how we power society now and in the future.

DOERS:  From 4:00 to 7:00 pm, 1776 invites you to see the best entrepreneurs from around the world in action at the Challenge Cup Energy Semifinals. 1776 went all over the world and found the most promising startups making the biggest impact.  Come learn about the companies creating the future of energy production, efficiency, and storage.

CONNECTORS:  After the day’s events, what could be better than enjoying delicious American fare and cocktails on a beautiful roof deck overlooking the White House?  This will be your opportunity to meet the speakers and startups from the day’s events and meet other VIPs in the energy industry.

WEDNESDAY MAY 13 – Weigh in on how health care can be improved globally

THINKERS: From 9:00 am – 3:00 pm, 1776 will host a series of panels and talks on the future of health featuring the top thought leaders of today. Some highlights include: Ron Klain discussing how to handle a global health crisis, executives from leading insurance companies and hospitals such as Aetna and MedStar Health, community leaders who provide health services to underserved populations thinking about how technology includes those at the bottom, and startups talking about upcoming technologies that allow ultimate personalization of treatments that will amaze you.

DOERS: From 4:00 to 7:00 pm, 1776 invites you to see the best entrepreneurs from around the world in action at the Challenge Cup Health Semifinals. 1776 went all over the world and found the most promising startups making the biggest impact.  Come learn about the companies creating the future of health.

CONNECTORS: After the day’s events, what could be better than enjoying Asian cuisine and cocktails on a beautiful roof deck on the top of the Warner Theatre? This will be your opportunity to meet the speakers and startups from the day’s events and meet other VIPs in the health industry.

THURSDAY MAY 14 – Learn what city life is becoming 

THINKERS: From 9:00 am – 3:00 pm, 1776 will host a series of panels and talks on the future of cities & transportation featuring the top thought leaders of today. Some highlights include: the country’s top city CIOs discussing how cities can be a proponent rather than a detractor of technology, startups that are revolutionizing services governments provide to citizens, and an international drone company looking at the future of delivery.

DOERS:  From 4:00 to 7:00 pm, 1776 invites you to see the best entrepreneurs from around the world in action at the Challenge Cup Cities & Transportation Semifinals. 1776 went all over the world and found the most promising startups making the biggest impact.  Come learn about the companies creating the future of our cities.

CONNECTORS:  After the day’s events, what could be better than enjoying delicious Latin cuisine from Jaleo and cocktails on a beautiful roof deck overlooking the National Mall?  This will be your opportunity to meet the speakers and startups from the day’s events and meet other VIPs in the cities & transportation industry. Bonus: we’re partnering with Infrastructure Week for a combined happy hour that brings together national leaders.

FRIDAY MAY 15

By Friday, you’ll be ready for something different and so we have a special treat for you.

BUILDING AN INNOVATION ECONOMY: What can be done to foster more amazing, successful startups like the ones you’ve been learning about throughout the week?  We’ll explore this topic in depth at the US Chamber Hall of Flags. Highlights include city & startups leaders discussing “disrupt vs. partner” tactics for startups, investors exploring how to unlock hidden capital, and international leaders talking about how to create a global startup ecosystem. We’ll also have a special announcement and surprise VIP speakers you won’t want to miss!

THE FUTURE: From 6:00 to 8:30 pm, 1776 invites you to attend Keynote Night. Our world-class speakers will focus on, ideally, what the world will look like in 30 years, and what will it take to get there? We’ll hear from Kaya Henderson of DC Public Schools, Chris Schroeder (Author & Entrepreneur), Lynette Kucsma of Natural Foods, and Jacques Panis of Shinola.

SATURDAY MAY 16 – THE CULMINATION

THE CHALLENGE CUP GLOBAL FINALS: The Elite Eight startups will face off for the Challenge Cup Global Championship during the Global Finals at 5:00 – 8:00 pm at the gorgeous Sidney Harman Hall in Chinatown. The evening also feature all 80 startups that will pitch their companies in quick-fire pitches for a crowd-favorite prize of $10,000 — so come and put in your vote for who should get this cash prize. We went all around the world to find the most-promising startups; now you can see the best of the best all in one place.

SAY GOODBYE FOR NOW: To celebrate the entire week of amazing events and the Challenge Cup Global Champion, join us for the Closing Party at Sidney Harman Hall directly following the Challenge Cup Global Finals from 8:00 – 11:00 pm. This event will feature a cocktail lounge, live jazz music, open bar, and all the great people you’ve met throughout the week.

The Festival is more than the events, the startups or the venues. It’s truly about innovators and passionate people from around the world coming together to tackle the big challenges of our time. As a global city with so many people already working on these issues, Washington, D.C. is the perfect place to host the Challenge Festival’s ambitious mission.

The most important part of this is YOU being there—building a strong community around these challenges and startups is critical to making the change a reality.

If there are a few things you won’t be lacking by May 16, it will be food, creative ideas, new friends, and ambition. Don’t forget to register for your badge—it’s an exciting time to be in Washington, D.C.!

Brittany Heyd Headshot

Brittany Heyd

Managing Director & General Counsel, 1776

Brittany Heyd is Managing Director and General Counsel at 1776. As part of 1776's founding team, Brittany has been a critical part of taking the organization from inception of idea…

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