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1776 launches accelerator to help startups get ‘investor ready’

The accelerator's first cohort will be based in D.C., focusing on startups working in regulated industries. It starts in September.

At a 2017 event at 1776 in D.C. (Photo by Tajha Chappellet-Lanier)

1776 is launching an accelerator program this fall from its D.C. campus.

With the new offering, the team behind the network of incubators is looking to help early-stage startups get “investor ready,” said Anthony Maher, 1776’s Chief Growth Officer and Head of Incubation.

“We want to share our roadmap and relationships with founders to accelerate their success,” Maher said. “This is an evolution of our current programming.”

The initial cohort, which will begin on Sept. 18, will focus on helping 10 companies working in regulated industries, such as education, healthcare, fintech and energy, said 1776 Chief Strategy Officer Penny Lee. Helping companies in spaces with government regulations has long been a focus for 1776 in D.C., and leaders only see the conversation growing.

“Over the past 10 months we have learned a tremendous amount from talking with our member companies and founders across the Northeast corridor,” Maher said. “We are seeing the very relevant and important regulatory conversation heat up, from large companies like Facebook to smaller companies that believe they can improve lives not just for the consumer, but for the American citizen. This is a point of view and expertise that we will own nationally.”

The accelerator will include three months of programming for companies, including weekly sessions with members of the 1776 team and entrepreneurs in residence. 1776 is also planning to link founders with a mentor from its network, as well as hold events. Founders will also get workspace during the program, as well as an additional six months of access to space and incubator resources at any 1776 campus after the cohort ends.

The accelerator is designed for companies who have a minimum viable product, and are ready to move to the next phase, said Lee. For founders, participating won’t mean giving up a stake in the company. The accelerator isn’t providing funding, and will not take equity. Applications opened Monday.

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While the program will begin on 15th Street, future accelerator cohorts are in the works for additional 1776 campuses, Lee said. After a merger deal with Philadelphia-based coworking company Benjamin’s Desk last year, 1776 has 10 campuses in the Mid-Atlantic. With the deal Benjamin’s Desk cofounders Jennifer Maher and Anthony Maher assumed key day-to-leadership roles. Jennifer Maher was later named CEO, while Anthony Maher took the helm of the incubator’s work to provide resources to founders.

The accelerator is a sign that work to formalize 1776’s incubation offerings continues following the deal. Additional programming for all 1776 members around “capital, customers and strategy” is also being developed, Anthony Maher said.

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