Fishbowl Labs moves to DC, seeks next breakout startups

Now located at Alley DC, the incubator is looking to start helping a fresh batch of companies in June.

Inside Alley DC.

(Courtesy photo)

The photo on this story was updated at 1:25 p.m. on 4/27/18.

With AOL now operating under Oath after mergers and acquisitions, Fishbowl Labs moved to a new home. But the incubator that was born in a conference room didn’t go far.

According to Managing Partner Brian Park, Fishbowl Labs spun out as its own business in August. Around that time, the six-year-old incubator relocated from AOL campus in Dulles to the D.C. location of Alley. The year-old coworking space at 2055 L St. NW is located in a Verizon facility that used to house equipment. Verizon happens to own AOL, but the past and present Fishbowl homes are in different divisions.

Still, the idea of staying in the same sphere of influence is one that’s important to Park as the incubator relaunches. Given its roots at AOL, Park is looking to continue tapping that company’s long legacy in the D.C. area to provide mentorship and resources for the next generation of startups. The strategy has merit. At this point, the network spans the alumni networks of several generations including Microstrategy, LivingSocial and beyond.  Tapping alums of larger companies to help the next generation is often cited as a key to growing a tech community in general, and in D.C. the community is looking to get behind the next consumer-tech success.


For its part, Fishbowl Labs can point to companies like threat intelligence company Threat Quotient, which recently raised a Series C and roadside assistance startup as companies that were housed under its roof and went on to grow.

Park is confident that others are out there, saying, “For us its not a matter of if well find one, but when.”

So Fishbowl Labs is accepting applications for a new round of companies to join. They’re interested in companies that have raised at least $100K, and are working in artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data, blockchain/crypto and B2B/Enterprise. The incubator has 25 seats at Alley, and is setting up office hours with Verizon employees, as well as a demo day.

“By welcoming Fishbowl Labs into the Alley powered by Verizon community, we’re continuing AOL’s tradition of supporting startup growth and incubation, now on a broader scale,” Nick LaVigne of Verizon Global Real Estate said in a statement. “Fishbowl joins a community that acts as a bridge between Verizon’s product, innovation, and venture capital teams, and the local startup ecosystem. The Fishbowl companies bring a lot of energy and expertise to our space, which benefits the community as a whole.”

Going forward, Park said he is looking to turn the incubator into an accelerator program, with a set three-month time period, curriculum and funding for startups. He’s looking to raise funds to do so in the next 6-8 months.

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