Why this NEA partner says DC is a great place for consumer-facing startups - Technical.ly DC

Growth

Feb. 11, 2015 2:38 pm

Why this NEA partner says DC is a great place for consumer-facing startups

D.C. tech's secret weapon: yuppies with money to spend, little time to spare and a taste for novelty.
Where you from? Where do you work? “You get a lot of consumerism flying off of that.”

Where you from? Where do you work? "You get a lot of consumerism flying off of that."

(Photo by Flickr user jennifer yin, used under a Creative Commons license)

D.C. tech tends to feel it is under the shadow (or protective wing) of the federal government or the consulting and lobbying industries. But to NEA partner Dayna Grayson, that is precisely the kind of environment certain startups should be drawn to.

“What struck me when I moved to this area,” said Grayson, who moved from Boston in 2012 to join the VC behemoth, is that “D.C. is kind of an alternate universe to Silicon Valley.”

Dayna Grayson. (Via Twitter)

Dayna Grayson. (Via Twitter)

She’s not saying this to toot D.C. tech’s horn, like our former mayor often did.

In both places, she said, “a lot of people moved for their profession.” In California, they come for the tech jobs and in D.C., it’s often for government positions. “You get a lot of consumerism flying off of that,” Grayson said.

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In other words, what D.C. and Silicon Valley have in common is a swarm of yuppies who love happy hours, networking and convenient things.

That’s why Grayson thinks this is a great launch pad for early-stage, consumer-facing startups.

“If you were to launch a consumer startup, it’s possible that it would do well here,” said Grayson.

“If you need to beta a product here and kind of tweak it,” she added, it’s a “good place to start.”

In D.C., she says, you can get good customer feedback without falling flat on your face if you’re not quite ready for prime time.

Grayson’s portfolio at NEA includes local companies Framebridge and SocialRadar.

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