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DC daily roundup: World’s 12th best startup ecosystem; GMU building NASA’s ‘artificial star’; Data center zoning

Plus, a new program aims to boost Maryland entrepreneurship.

The World War II Memorial in Washington DC (The National Mall/X)

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Maryland’s push to support entrepreneurs

The eight members of the new StartUp Accelerator in Maryland completed a 12-week program last week, which included mentoring, lessons about business development, access to industry leaders and more.

“We’ve been talking for years about the need for quality education and additional opportunities for Maryland startups to participate in an accelerator program,” said Chris Haug, founding CEO of 360 Venture Management Group and a Startup Grind Maryland organizer.

The cohort included six companies based in the Baltimore region, and one from Annapolis and Gaithersburg. For the next group, program leaders said they hope to expand the opportunities for the entire state of Maryland.

➡️ Read more about the pilot here.

DC is the 12th best startup ecosystem

The annual Global Startup Ecosystem Report ranked the DC region as the 12th best startup ecosystem in the world. That’s down a notch — we were at No. 11 the last four years. But the city still surpassed all other areas in the US outside Silicon Valley region, New York and Boston.

The DMV had an average software engineer salary of $117,000 in 2023, more than double the global average. There’s also a relative lot of cash flow in the area: Between 2019 and 2023, VC funding amounted to $19.5 billion (compare that to Philly’s $15.7B or the global average of $4.6B).

The top three reasons to move your startup to the area? Access to funding, tax incentives and many tech graduates, per the report.

➡️ You can find details at Startup Genome

News Incubator: What else to know today

• George Mason University has been selected by NASA to build and launch an “artificial star” into orbit, which will help astronomers advance research. [WTOP]

• The main shipping channel to the Port of Baltimore finally reopened on Monday after the bridge collapse in late March. [Washington Post]

• The software giant Cvent, which is based in Tysons, closed its third acquisition of 2024 on Monday. It bought the New York-based platform Reposite, which uses AI to match event planners and suppliers. [Washington Biz Journal]

•  The Fairfax County Planning Commission has cleared zoning amendments that would limit the size, location and design of any new data centers in the county. [FFXNow]

• Congress is asking Scarlett Johansson to testify about her allegations that  ChatGPT 4o’s voice resembles her own. She said that she received an offer an from OpenAI CEO Sam Altman to voice the platform, but she declined. [Axios]

🗓️ On the Calendar

• Axios is hosting an event about IP innovation in the private sector, and balancing regulation and innovation, on June 12. [Details here]

• Tech for Climate Action is hosting an AI & Sustainability Summit on June 13. [Details here]

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