Events / Startups

Inside DC TechDay, ‘a massive science fair for startups’

The second-annual event, held Tuesday at the National Building Museum, boasted around 150 presenting startups and 3,000 attendees.

DC TechDay 2015 at the National Building Museum. (Photo by Tajha Chappellet-Lanier)

TechDay’s organizers, who currently run events in New York, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and London, call TechDay “a massive science fair for startups.”
At yesterday’s second-annual DC TechDay, rows and rows of entrepreneurs and inventors stood behind logoed booths, extolling the virtues of their new products. In from and in spirit, “science fair” somehow fits.

Visme TechDay

The Visme table attracts passersby with a card trick. (Photo by Tajha Chappellet-Lanier)

Held at the impressive National Building Museum, the event gave around 150 DMV-based startups the opportunity to pitch to 3,000 attendees — investors, potential hires, tech enthusiasts and fellow entrepreneurs.
In keeping with the science fair ethos, there was:

  • That one project that was put together mere hours before the event. Chris Lawson, founder of SttartUp, launched his idea just four days before DC TechDay. SttartUp is a subscription service with which subscribers will get two new startup T-shirts each month for $39.
  • The project that seemed targeted at creating a cool thing for the founders and their friends. The B.R.O Ball, created by Ben Burgess and Corey Jones, is a Bluetooth speaker inside a durable and, they assured, well-balanced football.
  • The projects that aim to ease an area of academic (or professional) life. Visme, which we covered in May, makes creating presentations and infographics simple; PostCreator allows the user to create branded social media images with a few clicks.

But of course, the function of TechDay goes beyond that of an average school science fair. Many of the startups that attended were looking to expand their teams, and were able to accept resumes from candidates at the event. Others were looking to raise money, and got the chance to speak with investors with an interest in the D.C. tech scene.
It was a long day of constant networking and pitching for the startups, but this in itself can be a valuable experience.
As SproutUp CEO and cofounder Nitin Jain told, “We are working towards another round of funding, so it was really good to practice my pitch. I feel like I’ve really honed it today.”
And for some, just testing out an idea on a large crowd is feedback enough. Chris Lawson of SttartUp said, “I was looking at today as an opportunity to see whether there is interest in a subscription for startup T-shirts or not. And you know — I’m leaning towards yes!”
If you missed DC TechDay but want to learn more about the startups that were there, you can find a full list here.

DC TechDay 2015.

(Photo by Tajha Chappellet-Lanier)

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