Nav Search
Challenge Cup News

Announcing: The Challenge Festival Startup Government Day!

Morgan Gress

Managing Director, Global Marketing, 1776

Innovation is probably not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of government (there are countless recent examples that reinforce this idea!). Yet, government can be a true driver of innovation —and that’s exactly what citizens should be demanding and public servants should be pursuing. At 1776, it’s the foundation for everything we believe in.

Whether you’re a policy wonk seeking the most cutting-edge innovations in your field, a lover of the mix of politics and technology, or an entrepreneur solving problems in a regulated industry, the Challenge Festival’s Startup Government Day presented by CEA on Friday, May 16 is one that you cannot miss.

At 1776, we see how our lives as consumers have dramatically changed with the advent of cloud, mobile and social technology.  Yet, our lives as citizens — how we engage with our kids schools, consume healthcare, or access the data we need to make better decisions about our transportation options or energy consumption — remain mired in pre-technology days.  We believe that government can and should be more efficient, and it can far better serve its citizens every day.  But, perhaps even more importantly, we believe that by bringing together the entrepreneurs working on the next game-changing ideas and governments, we can truly drive the changes that are needed in really important industries.  This is why we dedicated an entire day to exploring the intersection of startups, government and innovation.

The Startup Government Conference will feature  speakers from all levels of government—city to federal—and the startup leaders who work with them. As new technologies and communities arise, startups and technologists will need to work hand in hand with our government entities to ensure success. Anyone who has followed the Uber or AirBnB saga knows exactly what we mean!

Be sure to check back frequently as we announce more speakers to the lineup!

10:00 – 10:30 a.m. Keynote by Tim O’Reilly! As the founder and CEO of O’Reilly media, Tim O’Reilly brings a mix of government, media and entrepreneurship to get the day started. He is on the forefront of innovation, tech, and open source data and how they relate to government — and is considered by many to be the best computer publisher in the world.  You won’t want to miss O’Reilly’s ponderings on the latest trends and how government agencies, policy, and startups can work together.

Following Tim O’Reilly, Chris Dorobek of GovLoop as our emcee, will lead us through the day and explore what the public-private process looks like. How can government officials celebrate and foster startups to help our economy? What issues worry startups? Register to join us at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and then continue reading to find out the speakers who will answer these questions and more on Friday, May 16 at Startup Government Day!

10:30 – 11:30 a.m. Our first panel of the day, “Effective Innovation Policies to Bolster Entrepreneurs & Enable New Markets.” Our speakers will look at the current legislative landscape and discuss what policies can be implemented at the federal level. Moderated by Washington Post’s Brian Fung, our panelists include policy experts who will kick off and set the tone for the day.


  • Moderator: Brian Fung, The Washington Post
  • Noah Phillips, Chief Counsel, Senator John Cornyn (R – Tex.)
  • Doug Rand, Assistant Director for Entrepreneurship, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
  • Paul Nagle, Commerce Manufacturing and Trade Subcommittee (R – Neb.)

11:30 – 12:30  “Coming to a City Near You? How Startups Choose Where to Expand” panelStartups are increasingly examining the regulatory landscape when deciding where to expand next. During this session, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray will give brief opening remarks before panelists shift from the federal focus to drill down into what makes one city an attractive market and what discourages entrepreneurs from another city. Our panelists are a cast of experts, startups and officials who tackle these very questions every day.


  • Moderator: David Zipper, Managing Director, 1776 Ventures
  • Jennifer Bradley, Fellow and Senior Advisor, The Brookings Institution
  • Rachel Holt, Regional General Manager, East Coast, Uber
  • Chris Murphy, Chief of Staff, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray
  • Brad Hargareves, Cofounder, General Assembly

12:30 – 1:00 We’ll take a break at 12:30 p.m. and let you meet your fellow attendees and the day’s speakers over lunch.

1:00 – 2:10 We’ll pick up again a 1:00 p.m. with an in-depth discussion on “How Cities Can Grow Their Startup Ecosystems.” Expect the speakers to address specific strategies for municipalities to foster and aid entrepreneurs. Topics such as density of resources and attracting capital are sure to come up.


  • Moderator: Scott Case, Cofounder & CEO, Main Street Genome
  • Donna Harris, Cofounder, 1776
  • Howard Tullman, CEO, 1871
  • Michael Burcham, CEO, Nashville Entrepreneur Center
  • Trey Bowles, CEO, The Dallas Entrepreneur Center

2:10 – 3:10 – Our final panel before the keynote speaker will dive directly into “What Government Agencies Can Learn from Startups.” This is an amazing opportunity to hear directly from all levels of government about how they can partner, use the methodologies, techniques and new products from startups.

  • Moderator: Brandon Pollak, Director of Global Affairs, 1776
  • Dan Tangherlini, Administrator, U.S. General Services Administration
  • Jessica Rosenworcel, Commissioner, Federal Communications Commission
  • Cathy Lanier, Chief of Police, Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia
  • Julie McPherson, ‎Vice President, Booz Allen Hamilton

3:10 – 3:40 — Finally, we’ll close the afternoon with an amazing keynote from Aneesh Chopra in a fireside chat with 1776 Cofounder Evan Burfield. Chopra will discuss his past experience as the first Chief Technology Officer of the United States and his new book, Innovative State: How New Technologies Can Transform Government, to wrap up some of the key lessons through Startup Government Day!

Keep coming back as we will be adding to this already expert-driven day—and of course, be sure to register for your badge to attend more of the week’s events or just for Startup Government Day!

Morgan Gress

Managing Director, Global Marketing, 1776

Morgan Gress is the Director of Digital & Brand at 1776 where she drives the organization's digital, marketing and brand efforts — strategizing on how best to a create mission-driven marketing strategy and…