Here’s a holiday treat for you. In this month’s Technical.ly podcast, our five lead reporters in Philly, Baltimore, Brooklyn, Delaware and D.C. got together with Editorial Director Christopher Wink to discuss this year’s tech trends.
During our chat, we got to the conclusion that “if entrepreneurship has become the leading portion, the leading point of the technology spear, it’s still bringing these access conversations,” as Wink put it.
That’s probably nowhere as true as in D.C., where the civic and entrepreneurial drive seem to feed off each other.
For example, accelerator 1776 has a keen eye for startups with a sound business plan, but also a bigger purpose. Its D.C. Challenge Cup winners include a DNA tracer technology for environmental monitoring, a crowdfunding website for school administrators, an indoor farming network and a mobile app for pregnant mothers. Runner-up BitGrid is run very leanly by two seniors at George Washington University. Its goal? Helping public utilities better communicate during emergencies.
The D.C. civic tech community is self-aware, but it’s playful, too.
In her #CivicTech manifesto, local technologist Laurenellen McCann laid out some organizing principles to ensure activists build projects with (not for) local communities. And with a rallying cry of its own, a cardboard DCDino created by a local artist collective roamed the streets on election night. (There have been a few sightings since).
It’s easy to get caught up in the growth spurt of #DCTech. As Angie Fox notes, the $50 million Crystal Tech Fund was a monumental endorsement of the local tech scene from venture capitalist giant Paul Singh. But meanwhile, local coders like Aliya Rahman, Justin Grimes, Shannon Turner and many others are also hard at work trying to change things with their own two hands — and a keyboard.
This blend of community awareness and entrepreneurship also characterizes you, our readers. Our five most-shared stories feature a mixed bag of homegrown apps and broader issues.
- Why alleged arms shippers are fighting this open-data nonprofit in court: or how local open data nonprofit C4ADS is getting strong-armed in court by an Ukrainian arms shipper.
- Why Aaron Rosenthal ditched political campaigns and built a golf app: or how a former political staffer decided to create a golfing app that can help speed up the game.
- Fixing transit with data: Dag Gogue’s Transit Labs: or Dag Gogue’s journey from a 16-year-old college student from Togo to an entrepreneur whose firm analyses data for several major transportation systems.
- Photo contest app Snaapiq launches with $180K in seed funding: or how a D.C. startup is trying to gamify selfies and finding that pets, fashion and music are eye candy for the internets.
- Startup Weekend DC selects 3 for Global Startup Battle: or how being selected to compete in the Global Startup Battle, like Releventz, Swish and Zest were, is exciting but also a little terrifying.
Thanks for tuning in to Technical.ly DC during our first few months. We’re excited about what we’ll be able to achieve here.