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1776 Hires Veteran Public Affairs Leader Penny Lee


As Chief Strategy Officer she will lead all operations within the Greater Washington region

Washington, D.C. — 1776 announced today that Penny Lee will join its executive team as Chief Strategy Officer. Lee is joining 1776 with over 20 years of experience in national public affairs and business strategy. She also serves as Chair to K Street Capital, a regional angel investor group.

In this new role, Lee will lead all operations across the Washington, D.C., Virginia and Maryland region. As the company continues to form partnerships and connect startup communities around the world, it’s imperative to have a leader that understands how technology and government intersect. Lee has worked extensively with with elected officials from both sides of the aisle in Congress and with the executive branch, as well as our nation’s governors, and in the private sector. As a Washington, D.C.-based angel investor, she understands the growing startup scene in the nation’s capital and the role government plays to either fuel or hinder ingenuity and entrepreneurship.

“The startups and jobs of tomorrow are being impacted by what the D.C. region does today,” says Evan Burfield, cofounder and CEO of 1776, “Penny brings a unique background of skills within the political and angel investing arena to harness this market.”

Lee is presently a Senior Advisor at Venn Strategies, LLC, having served as the firm’s President for four years. From 2007-2008, Lee served as the top communications and political advisor to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Over her extensive public affairs career, she has served as the Executive Director of the Democratic Governors Association, Communications Director for Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell, and as a member of the senior staff of the Democratic National Committee.

“Penny is a superstar in the fields of investing, business, politics and public affairs. She brings a unique background and track record to 1776, and it is hard to imagine anyone better to lead its expansion in the Greater Washington Region,” says Ron Klain, Executive Vice President & General Counsel of Revolution LLC and 1776 board member.

Lee currently serves on the Advisory Board of 1776, a Washington, D.C. incubator for global startups and also serves as Chair of K Street Capital, a Washington, D.C. based angel investment group. An avid golfer, Lee serves on the Board of Trustees at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Virginia and has served on the First Tee of Greater Washington Board. Previously, she also served on the Advisory Board for Bloomberg Government.

“It’s a pleasure to join such a dynamic organization at a key time for startups and entrepreneurs globally. I have become convinced that the worlds of politics and startups are inextricably linked and believe that my experience of the past 20 years can be helpful,” Penny Lee said. “I look forward to being part of the continued growth and evolution of 1776 and to be more deeply involved with the business community in the Greater Washington area.”

About 1776

1776 is a global innovation network focused on solving critical challenges in sectors like education, energy, transportation and financial services. Launched by cofounders Donna Harris and Evan Burfield and headquartered in Washington, D.C., with additional campuses in Dubai, New York City and San Francisco, 1776 serves hundreds of startups and institutions worldwide through its innovation curriculum, mentorship, investment and programming. It hosts more than 500 international events per year that attract heads of state, Fortune 500 CEOs, influential investors and global press. For more information, please visit and follow @1776 on Twitter and @1776vc on Instagram.