Nav Search


Obama visiting 1776

At 1776, we know that startups can change the world and we’re building the global community to provide the intellectual, social, and financial capital to help them make that a reality.

Our Focus

We’ve purposely chosen challenging, government-dominated markets because our roots in Washington, DC give us proprietary connections, insights, and tools that can be used to drive massive scale revenue growth. The key to it all is connections and learning, which we curate through our global platform Union.

We connect our startups to the latest wisdom on how to build highly scalable businesses through our curriculum. To expert mentors who can help startups quickly solve problems. To markets through our institutional and corporate partners. To capital through our investor network and the 1776 Seed Fund. And to talent through our community relationships across the globe. Here are just a few different ways to join our global community:


1776 is focused on helping high-growth startups in the industries most challenging to drive innovation and scale —education, energy and sustainability, health, transportation and cities. Meet our Members


By joining 1776, corporate partners gain access to entrepreneurs from around the world, gaining early visibility to the ideas of the future and injecting fresh energy into their businesses. Meet our Corporate Partners

Creating and Fostering a Global Community

1776 has forged partnerships with leading startup incubators in the world’s most dense startup communities through our digital platform, UNION, and we are tapping those relationships to build density globally and operate an ecosystem that transcends geographic boundaries. As a result, our world’s most promising entrepreneurs and young companies can access the resources they need to scale regardless of the city the choose to call home.

To highlight the importance of these global connections, 1776 hosts an annual competition called the Challenge Cup, engaging startup communities across the world to identify the most promising new startups and connect them with the information, mentors and resources they need to succeed—regardless of their geographic location.

To build and scale a business, it takes more than just a great idea. By joining 1776, startups gain access to a global network of connections with established institutions and corporations, influencers, expert mentors, and investors.

Become a startup member

The world has changed, and corporations are finding a storm of technology and disruption raining on them from seemingly every direction. By joining 1776, corporate member gain a critical new lens into these bold new solutions as well as the very culture, mindset and tools entrepreneurs employ to think differently about the future.

Become a corporate member

The startups in the 1776 Seed Fund portfolio are those that have put the full power of the 1776 connections to work, proven they can build highly scalable businesses in regulated markets, and are poised to drive change in areas that will make a positive impact on our world’s biggest challenges.

Learn about our Portfolio

Get involved

Want to get involved in the 1776 community, but you’re not sure how? Email us at and we’ll find the right fit for you.

Meet our founders

1776 was founded in February 2013 by serial entrepreneurs Donna Harris and Evan Burfield with the vision of building an inclusive incubator for startups disrupting entrenched industries.  Over the course of the next four years, 1776 grew into a global enterprise with two campuses in the Greater Washington, DC area, Brooklyn, and Dubai, with over 800 startups under incubation and over 1000 mentors engaged on its platform UNION.  In 2017, Benjamin’s Desk, a Philadelphia based co-working company, merged with 1776 to create the largest entrepreneurial ecosystem for startups in the Northeast Corridor.  1776’s proprietary software platform, UNION was spun out as a separate company.

Meet our Team