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1776 Expanding to Crystal City, Acquiring Disruption Corporation As Part of Focus on Driving New Regional Innovation

Partnership with Vornado/Charles E. Smith will further propel rapidly emerging innovation hub in Crystal City


April 16, 2015

Washington, D.C. – 1776, the global startup incubator and seed fund, today announced it is expanding to Crystal City, Va., and will be acquiring Disruption Corporation as part of a new partnership aimed at creating a stronger regional innovation economy and new opportunities for local startups throughout the Washington Metro region to grow and scale.

Through the new partnership, 1776 will partner with Washington-area real estate leader Vornado/Charles E. Smith to open a new campus in the rapidly emerging innovation hub of Crystal City, enabling 1776 to connect startups to the powerful talent, expertise, corporations, and government agencies in Crystal City and throughout Virginia. In addition, as part of its regional focus, 1776 will acquire Disruption Corporation, integrating Crystal City’s leading startup platform into 1776’s larger portfolio of offerings and accelerating 1776’s ability to support startups, corporations and private investors with game-changing tools.

“This region’s growing innovation economy and its future economic growth are closely linked, which is why at 1776 we’ve focused our attention on creating new opportunities for regional innovation and unfettered access to the networks that exist across regional borders,” said 1776 co-founder Donna Harris. “Between our partnership with Vornado and the acquisition of Disruption, this exciting new venture will allow us to bring together ALL the tremendous assets this region has to offer, from the NIH and MedStar in Bethesda to the Pentagon and Lockheed Martin in Crystal City, and create one of the most vibrant technology communities in the country.”

In expanding its presence to Crystal City, 1776 is joining a community that is a natural center of gravity for startups operating in emerging industries. Because of the area’s large concentration of the world’s most important government agencies and corporations, Crystal City has become home to a growing community of startups operating in those industries where government is a key player.

“We’re proud that this new partnership will be anchored in Crystal City, which is increasingly becoming a globally-recognized home for world-changing startups,” said Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe. “This new, unprecedented level of regional collaboration removes the traditional regional boundaries, creating tremendous opportunity for broad-based economic growth that benefits the entire region, and offering a model for future, long-term economic growth throughout Virginia and the DC Metro area.”

At the vanguard of Crystal City’s emerging startup community is Vornado, which has focused on forging new strategic partnerships with tech community leaders, and successfully brought leading innovators, including We Work, TechShop, and Disruption Corporation, to Crystal City. Most recently, Vornado continued its efforts by launching Eastern Foundry, an accelerator for government contractors, and Highline, a community-inspired 3rd space concept.

“Our partnership with 1776 continues our trajectory of attracting path-breaking innovation to the Washington region, and Crystal City specifically,” said Mitchell N. Schear, president of Vornado/Charles E. Smith. “We believe this relationship will allow us to build on our work and create Crystal City 2.0. With our existing deep base of agencies, major corporations and a growing start up community, Crystal City will be the natural center of gravity for innovation, allowing growth companies to collaborate in new ways, scale up and flourish.”

The leading innovation platform in Crystal City is Disruption Corporation, where Founder Paul Singh—who through his work at Disruption and previously with the seed fund 500 Startups has an extensive track record building, growing and investing in world-changing startups—and his team have established a transformative vision for leveraging data to transform private markets and a track record for turning that vision into reality, with products such as Dashboard and Hubble.

Disruption’s vision complements 1776’s focus on building a community of startups, mentors, corporations, policymakers and investors to attract investment capital to the region. Through this new relationship, Paul Singh will join 1776 as a managing director, and the Disruption team and technology will be integrated into the 1776 platform, empowering 1776 to better support startups and drive innovation throughout the region.

“The Washington region is poised to become a global powerhouse in the cultivation of startups driving life-changing innovations in education, energy & sustainability, smart cities and health,” said Paul Singh, the Founder & CEO of Disruption Corporation. “This deal will create a fully integrated operation where investors can find promising new companies and startups can find the insight, connections, mentorship, and resources they need to grow, scale and create economic opportunities for our region.”

Today’s announcement follows 1776’s announcement earlier this week of a new partnership with Montgomery County, in which 1776 startups will have access to Maryland County’s Thingstitute, a living lab where startups can beta test their products. Additionally, the partnership will provide Montgomery County employers and residents with frontline access to startups that have the potential to change the way we live and work in entrenched sectors, such as health, energy & sustainability, education, transportation and smart cities.

As part of this new regional partnership, 1776 will partner similarly with Arlington County to create new pathways for startups to grow and scale locally, further enhancing the area’s growing innovation economy.

“The tremendous growth we’re seeing in Crystal City and throughout Arlington County is an example of the promise a vibrant innovation economy holds for our entire region,” said Arlington County Board Chair Mary Hynes. “We believe that this new regional partnership will create new opportunities for growth that will cement Arlington County’s leading position as a startup hub, with benefits not just for Arlington County but for the broader region as well.”

Together with the newly announced partnership with Montgomery County, 1776’s expansion to Crystal City and acquisition of Disruption Corporation reflects its commitment to bringing together the region’s abundant resources—which range from the National Institutes of Health to the Pentagon—to help empower startups in their efforts to transform the world’s most entrenched industries and create opportunities for economic growth across the region.

“1776 is building a vibrant community of startups, mentors, corporations, policymakers and investors in Washington, D.C., but to be truly successful, we need to open these resources to innovators throughout the entire region,” said 1776 co-founder Evan Burfield. “Ultimately, we know that we are stronger when we work together, and when we unlock our potential to drive economic growth throughout this entire region, the DC metro area will become a magnet for the most promising startups trying to change the world, regardless of where they call home.”

About 1776

1776 is a global incubator and seed fund that finds promising startups focused on solving the world’s most fundamental challenges and helps engineer their success. 1776 focuses on startups in the most broken, entrenched industries and sectors that impact millions of lives every day – specifically education, energy, health and cities.

Because solving big challenges in entrenched industries requires a different approach, 1776 is revolutionizing the startup landscape. From its hub in Washington, D.C., it is sparking a global movement of “problem-solving’ startups through its Challenge Cup and Startup Federation, the premiere network of incubators throughout the world.

1776 was founded in February 2013 by Donna Harris, a serial entrepreneur and the former Managing Director of the Startup America Partnership, and Evan Burfield, founder of netDecide, a provider of enterprise wealth management solutions, and the consulting firm Synteractive.

About Vornado/Charles E. Smith

The largest owner/manager of commercial properties in the Washington region, Vornado is known for its deep commitment to its communities and its focus on creating innovative, high-quality office, residential, and retail environments in the very best locations. Vornado is shaping an innovation hub in Crystal City, where it owns nearly 8M SF.