A group of DC power players just launched a new resource for connecting to fellow founders, technologists and more at local events. The DC Startup Calendar — built in partnership with Logic Boost Labs, ThinkNimble, Halcyon, DC Startup Week and the DC Tech and Venture Coalition — is a new way to find out what’s going on in the region. Featuring all kinds of in-person groups and meetups, the calendar is available to all and open for suggestions from anyone in the area.
Kevin Morgan, a founding member of the DC Tech and Venture Coalition, said developing this tool was all about removing barriers to entry and creating more of a comprehensive option for folks on the scene.
“One of the challenges in the ecosystem is that things are siloed and fragmented and in one way or another, often people are solving similar problems and attacking it at different angles,” Morgan told Technical.ly. “So what we wanted to do is be very intentional in breaking down the silos and combine our efforts so we could do something at scale.”
Efforts first began in 2022, said Kaitlin Capobianco, senior manager at Halcyon. The idea was to create a community during the very lonely journey of entrepreneurship. The pandemic exacerbated this isolation, she said, so organizers wanted to find a way to share local resources — especially when they realized that even people very connected to the scene had a hard time knowing what was going on.
“We don’t want the startup ecosystem to have a backroom, stereotypical DC political feel to it,” Capobianco said. “We want to make sure that resources are publicly available so anyone that’s interested in engaging in the ecosystem knows how to get involved.”
The calendar features any and all kinds of events in the area, including meetups, pitch feedback sessions, happy hours, talks and coffee chats. The leaders reached out to 60 local other organizers who host events to add as many into the system as possible, though users can also submit events. Users can also sync individual events or all of them to their own calendars.
Josh Frankel, VP of marketing at Logic Boost Labs, said that the only current requirements are that events are local and in-person. At present, he’s still manually inputting events after approving them, though he’d like to automate the calendar at some point (he built the tool with open-source technology that was designed to be collaborative).
“We’ve all had enough webinars and virtual networking events over the last three years. It really is kind of a magic thing putting all these founders and tech people in the same place,” Frankel said.
For the organizers, it’s all about “facilitated serendipity,” where founders and technologists can meet the person they’ve been looking for to help grow their startup. And as more and more events return, they hope that this can be a tool that locals keep coming back to time and time again and continue growing the DC startup scene.
“In a virtual world, in-person connection becomes increasingly more valuable,” Morgan said. “That was a whole point of this, to take care of our local ecosystem, build our local ecosystem from the inside out versus trying to import and build excitement from the outside in.”
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