1776 and DC airports are giving startups a place to land - Technical.ly DC

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Nov. 16, 2017 12:07 pm

1776 and DC airports are giving startups a place to land

The travel-focused startup challenge is offering $15K and access to resources through UNION. Applications are open.
At an event at 1776 in D.C.

At an event at 1776 in D.C.

(Photo by Tajha Chappellet-Lanier)

1776 is expanding its focus on travel to the startups to the airport.

The incubator is partnering with the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority on a new “Startup Challenge” that looks to provide resources to young companies.

The incubator put out a nationwide call this week for startups interested in applying to the MWAA Innovation Lab, which will be located at 1776’s Crystal City campus. The three-month cohort will begin in February 2018.

Startups who are selected will get $15,000 and access to resources from both the airport authority and 1776. UNION, the software platform that provides access to startup mentors that was recently spun out of 1776 in a merger deal with Benjamin’s Desk, will also provide content for the program.

This is the latest example of 1776 launching a startup cohort with a larger partner, and first announced since the merger deal. Travel has been a prior area of interest with a hotel-focused cohort with Marriott and Accenture Creative. It’s a chance for the startups to get access to the knowledge that the MWAA can provide. In turn, the authority overseeing Dulles and Reagan National airports gets a look at new ideas.

“Our goal is to create a differentiated experience for our passengers that addresses their unique preferences,” Chryssa Westerlund, Vice President of Marketing and Consumer Strategy for MWAA, said in a statement. “Satisfied and loyal customers help us to grow revenue which in turn keeps the costs lower for the airlines and ultimately flows back to the customer through lower airfares and more destinations.”

Areas of interest listed by 1776 include social media, geolocation, image recognition, way-finding or digital customer engagement. The organizers are also interested in startups using tools such as biometrics, IoT or robotics to improve the airport experience.

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