(Photo by Tajha Chappellet-Lanier)
Tara Chantal Silver didn’t start her own public relations and marketing firm, SilverStrategy, specifically to work with tech companies. Rather it was a journey — she started in entertainment and celebrity PR before moving to advocacy and small business and finally, in around 2010, she found the city’s entrepreneurship scene.
But now, eight years after founding SilverStategy, #dctech is home. And Silver wouldn’t have it any other way. (Check out her guide to #dctech resources here.)
Silver’s first foray into the world of tech and entrepreneurship in D.C. was with DC Entrepreneurship Week in 2010, an event she helped found. The tech entrepreneurship community wasn’t very strong back then, but the week-long event helped bring people together. DCEW stopped operating in 2014, and by then, Silver was hooked. She started working with more and more consumer-facing tech companies based in the District like venture-backed coworking chain cove or “Shark Tank” star Surprise Ride, as well as companies from elsewhere looking to get a foothold in the D.C. scene (for example, San Francisco-based Hired).
“I realized these are the greatest people I’ve ever worked with,” she says, of the tech community. “I’m constantly learning from people and being inspired by their passion.”
So how does Silver see the current state of a community she’s been a part of since near the beginning? As a general rule, Silver believes D.C. is a great place to start a business. The city is growing and changing and there are new (good) restaurants and, increasingly, the smart, driven, type-A personalities who move here tend to stay. Why the sudden interest in making D.C. a home?
“D.C. is cooler than it’s ever been,” says Silver, who has lived here for 12 years.
And inevitably, as these smart, driven, type-A new residents leave politics or whatever it was that brought them here, some find tech. That’s where Silver meets them. She helps founders, who can be painfully smart but sometimes myopic, see the broader picture — and talk about themselves to the public, investors and the media.
In addition to all her own clients, Silver works as a mentor at 1776 and the Washington, DC Economic Partnership and BUILD Metro DC. She keeps busy, and loves it.
“It’s a world that keeps me hungry to learn,” she says.
Of course, the #dctech scene doesn’t have the kind of outside recognition that other ecosystems do. But Silver is confident this will come — perhaps with some big IPOs.
“The scene is really only about four years old,” she says. “We have all the right ingredients. It’ll just take some time.”-30-
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