Starting a Startup in Washington DC and Baltimore
Just like a child, it takes a village to raise a startup. Through the hard work, sweat, investment and tears of venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and employees, startups are able to shoot for the stars and change the world.
You’ve heard the names of some of the most famous startups: Netflix, LinkedIn, Facebook, eBay, PayPal. But where should entrepreneurs located outside of Silicon Valley turn to for resources? We hope this list will help.
Washington, D.C., is known as the nation’s capital and the seat of national politics, but it’s also home to a budding startup scene. Heavyweights in the area include Opower and LivingSocial, but there’s plenty of room for other players.
If you’re a Washington, D.C., entrepreneur who feels bold enough to take on the startup challenge, these resources should help you get started.
Washington D.C./Baltimore Accelerators
Location: 1367 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, DC
Perks: $30,000 in capital from the firm. Access to mentors as well as $60,000 in technology from Microsoft, legal services from Goodwin Procter LLP, customer panels, office space in Acceleprise’s Dupont Circle headquarters, a structured curriculum that includes workshops, guest speakers and demo days.
Backstory: Investor and entrepreneur Sean Glass founded Acceleprise in April 2012. The enterprise-focused accelerator welcomed its first class of six startups in July 2012. That class included web-based event management software ConferenceEdge and competitive weight loss and fitness platform FitFeud. The accelerator boasts an accomplished group of mentors, including Katharine Weymouth, CEO of Washington Post Media; Eric Ries, author of The Lean Startup; and Jawed Karim, co-founder of YouTube.
Location: 2400 Boston St., Factory Building, 3rd Floor, Baltimore, MD
Perks: $25,000 in seed funding, educational seminars, free office space and access to interns, mentors, investors and potential partners.
Backstory: AccelerateBaltimore is an initiative of Emerging Technology Centers (ETC), Baltimore’s award-winning business incubator, and the Abell Foundation. The accelerator provides resources and space for up to six technology-focused startup companies. Ideal companies are able to create business solutions that can be brought to market in a three-month period. Applications for AccelerateBaltimore’s 2013 program closed on December 21, 2012.
Frederick Innovative Technology Center, Inc. (FITCI)
Location: 4539 Metropolitan Ct., Frederick, MD
Perks: Office space, Internet, wet labs and a shared common lab.
Backstory: The Frederick Innovative Technology Center, Inc. (FITCI) offers resources to accelerate the growth of startup information technology (IT), biotechnology and renewable energy companies in Frederick County.
The International Business Accelerator
Location: 4031 University Dr., Suite 200, Fairfax, VA Perks: Office space, business counseling and evaluations of business development plans.
Backstory: The International Business Accelerator is designed to help non-U.S. enterprises establish a market for their businesses in the United States.
Washington D.C./Baltimore Incubators
bwtech@UMBC: Research & Technology Park
Location: bwtech@UMBC North – 5523 Research Park Dr., Suite 310, Baltimore, MD, bwtech@UMBC South – 1450 South Rolling Rd., Halethorpe, MD
Perks: Access to University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), resources, including students and faculty, office/lab space with flexible leasing terms, legal services and monthly CEO roundtables.
Backstory: bwtech@UMBC offers university and business resources for clean energy, cybersecurity and life sciences/IT companies. The research and technology park features an intern subsidy program that assists incubator companies that employ UMBC students as interns. Corporate partners include BAE Systems, Northrop Grumman Corporation and SC&H.
Emerging Technology Centers
- ETC @ Canton – 2400 Boston St., Factory Building, 3rd Floor, Baltimore, MD
- ETC @ JHU Eastern – 1101 East 33rd St., 3rd Floor, Baltimore, MD
Perks: Office space at below-market rates, flexible leases, shared basic services and equipment, mentors for participating companies and customized business and technical assistance.
Backstory: The Emerging Technology Center (ETC) is a venture of Baltimore Development Corporation, a company contracted by the city of Baltimore to help increase the city’s economic growth. The ETC incubator program features two incubator facilities geared toward growing early-stage technology and biotechnology companies in Baltimore.
Fairfax Innovation Center (FIC)
Location: 4031 University Dr., Suite 200, Fairfax, VA
Perks: Shared receptionist, high-speed Internet, classrooms, business library and monthly Lunch-and-Learn seminars.
Backstory: The Fairfax Innovation Center (FIC) is a joint initiative of the Fairfax Economic Development Authority and the George Mason University School of Public Policy. The FIC is the largest university-based incubator in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
INC.spire Business Incubator Program at the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce
Location: 1763 Fountain Dr., Reston, VA
Perks: Office space, mentorship, 24/7 building access, high-speed Internet, meeting rooms and audio-visual equipment.
Backstory: The INC.spire Business Incubator Program provides mentorship and support for local startup companies.
Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship Innovation Catalyst (iCat)
Location: 9250 Bendix Road North, Columbia, MD
Perks: Dedicated office space, educational programs, hands-on mentoring and access to investor groups.
Backstory: The Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship’s Innovation Catalyst (iCat) provides resources to emerging technology and IP-based companies. Businesses can apply to the center’s Residency program or Premier Affiliate program.
Montgomery County Business Innovation Network
- Germantown Innovation Center – 20271 Goldenrod Ln., Germantown, MD
- Rockville Innovation Center – 155 Gibbs St., Rockville, MD
- Shady Grove Innovation Center – 9700 Great Seneca Hwy., Rockville, MD
- Silver Spring Innovation Center – 8070 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring, MD
- Wheaton Business Innovation Center – 11002 Veirs Mill Rd., 7th Floor, Wheaton, MD
- Bethesda Green – 4825 Cordell Ave., Suite 200, Bethesda, MD
Perks: Office space, laboratories, conference rooms, lunch seminars, legal service and training sessions.
Backstory: The Montgomery County Business Innovation Network offers a supportive environment for emerging businesses in Montgomery County. The county operates five business incubators in addition to the Bethesda Green Business Incubator, created in 2008 in partnership with the Montgomery County Department of Economic Development to support green business initiatives.
Prince George’s County Technology Assistance Center (TAC)
Location: 1100 Mercantile Ln., Largo, MD
Perks: 24/7 facility access, workforce training and flexible lease terms.
Backstory: The Prince George’s County Technology Assistance Center (TAC) promotes the development of early-stage technology companies in Prince George’s County, Md. The center is an initiative of the Prince George’s County Economic Development Corporation (EDC).
Location: 1627 K St. NW; Washington, DC
Perks: Up to $100,000 in seed capital. Coaching, access to mentors and investors and a curriculum customized with speakers and educational seminars, all within a collaborative and open workspace.
Backstory: The Fort was founded by the team behind venture capital firm Fortify Ventures LLC, also known as Fortify.vc. The Washington, D.C., accelerator is supported by a $100,000 grant. The Fort debuted its first class of startups in March 2012. The class included Social Tables, a web-based event planning platform; and CoFoundersLab, which is described as an eHarmony for entrepreneurs.
The Highland Center
Location: 61 Highland Center Dr., Monterey, VA
Perks: Business counseling, office equipment, commercial kitchen and high-speed Internet.
Backstory: In addition to a low-cost workspace, the business incubation program at the Highland Center offers free counseling for small businesses and nonprofits. The center also partners with the Staunton Creative Community Fund to offer loans of $1,000 to $50,000 for startup and expanding small businesses.
The Science + Technology Park at Johns Hopkins
Location: 855 N. Wolfe St., Baltimore, MD
Perks: Customizable lab and office space along with proximity to Johns Hopkins University resources.
Backstory: The Science + Technology Park at Johns Hopkins offers space for early-stage, growing and established life-sciences companies. A new building planned for 2014 will provide over 1 million square feet of office and facility space.
The Southwest Regional Enterprise Center at the Crossroads Institute
Location: 1117 East Stuart Dr., Galax, VA
Perks: Business assistance, consulting services, flexible workspace, teaching kitchen, classrooms and a conference room.
Backstory: The Southwest Regional Enterprise Center (SREC) is a business incubator facility that provides workshops and assistance to small- and medium-sized businesses in Southwest Virginia.
The Technology Advancement Program at Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech)
Location: 2120 Potomac Bldg. 092, College Park, MD
Perks: Affordable office space, business coaching, funding programs and access to University of Maryland resources.
Backstory: The Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech) has been offering programs, courses, workshops and competitions for faculty, student and regional technology entrepreneurs since 1983. The institute’s Technology Advancement Program (TAP) works with high-potential advanced technology companies committed to housing their operations in Maryland.
TowsonGlobal Business Incubator
Location: 7801 York Rd., Suite 342, Towson, MD
Perks: Access to Towson University faculty and staff, legal services, potential sources of funding, IT support and furnished office space.
Backstory: Located on the campus of Towson University, TowsonGlobal Services provides individualized resources for early-stage companies, both domestic and foreign.
Washington D.C./Baltimore Co-Working Spaces
Location: 716 S. Broadway, 2nd Floor, Baltimore, MD
Perks: Full-time access to the facility, dedicated workspace, a conference room and flexible membership options.
Backstory: 716 Broadway is located in Baltimore’s Fells Point neighborhood. The co-working space offers membership options ranging from flex time at $20/day to full time at $295/month.
Location: 1657 West Broad St., Suite 3A, Richmond, VA
Perks: Flexible workspace, parking, rooftop Wi-Fi garden, classes, storage options and no lease.
Backstory: 804RVA is located in the heart of Richmond’s Fan District. It is home to a community of developers, graphic designers, entrepreneurs, startups and freelancers. The space offers four membership options ranging from DayTripper, $25/month for one day per month, to Coworkaholic, $250/month for five days per week.
Location: 920 U St. NW, Washington, DC
Perks: 24/7 access to a 5,000-square-foot facility, high-speed Internet, month-to-month membership (no long-term commitments) and programs such as happy hours, meetups, classes and seminars.
Backstory: Berit Oskey, Phillipe Chetrit and Charles Planck founded Affinity Lab in 2001. Its website describes the space as “shared office space meets incubator meets entrepreneurial club-house.” Affinity Lab’s current membership consists of nearly 50 startups, nonprofits, services and arts organizations. The space offers levels of membership ranging from a virtual membership at $325/month to a full membership at $895/month.
Location: 1111 Light St., Baltimore, MD
Perks: Full-time and part-time memberships, a classroom that accommodates more than 50 people, meeting rooms, wireless space and an 80-inch television.
Backstory: Betamore is a co-working/education space located in Baltimore’s Federal Hill neighborhood. The space offers community or dedicated memberships for $200 or $400 per month, per employee, respectively. In addition, Betamore offers classes taught by industry experts and Betamore members. The classes are open to anyone in Baltimore. Betamore officially opened in December 2012.
Location: 9 N. Loudoun St., Suite 200, Winchester, VA
Perks: Personal workspace, shared meeting areas and high-speed Internet.
Backstory: Bright Cowork is a collaborative space located in historic Old Town Winchester in Bright Center, a 38,000 square foot creative office building. Membership ranges from a $25/day Day Tripper option to a $250/month full-time option.
Perks: Flexible membership levels, open-flow workspace, access to HubDC events and workshops, profiles on the Hub DC and Hub Global online platforms.
Backstory: Hub DC will open in the spring of 2013. It will be a member-space of Hub Association, a consortium of collaborative spaces in cities around the world.
Location: 1300 Bank St., 2nd Floor, Baltimore, MD
Perks: Office space with dedicated desks for members, a community of creative “Capitalists” to network with and a membership subscription that can easily be terminated.
Backstory: Capital Studios is a co-working space located in downtown Baltimore’s Tack Factory, described as “bricks and mortar for the independent worker.” Its members, referred to as “Capitalists,” include software engineers, small startups, designers and social media strategists.
Location: 1203 19th St. NW, 3rd Floor, Washington, DC
Perks: 24/7 access, opportunities to attend industry events, presentations and meet-ups.
Backstory: Canvas is a co-working community designed for creatives, freelancers, independents and startups. At 6,000 square feet, it is the largest co-working space in Washington, D.C. Canvas offers six membership options ranging from a daily membership at $30/day to a full membership at $600/month.
CEO Business Cafe
Location: 6305 Ivy Ln., 1st Floor, Greenbelt, MD
Perks: Nine personal workspaces, five meeting rooms, two state-of-the-art conference rooms, on-site shuttle bus to nearby Metro/MARC stations, access to “members-only” business events and free “members-only” advertising.
Backstory: CEO Business Cafe is located near a host of government institutions, including the U.S. District Court and the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. The space offers a range of monthly membership options, including a $75 Cafe membership and a $225 Annual Individual membership.
Center for Green Urbanism
Location: 3938 Benning Rd. NE, Washington, DC
Perks: Wi-Fi, meeting rooms and offices for up to 20 members, plus a 120-person-capacity conference room and event space.
Backstory: Dennis and Zandra Chestnut founded the Center for Green Urbanism in 2010, with the mission of creating a “green business incubator." The center was built with environmentally safe materials and uses Energy Star appliances and CFL lights bulbs. Inside the center is the Tubman-Mahan Gallery, a space that can be used for exhibitions, openings and events.
Location: 113 South Columbus St., Suite 100, Alexandria, VA
Perks: 24/7 facility access, four conference rooms, two Wi-Fi zones, full kitchen and VoIP telephone with free long distance.
Backstory: Connect113 is located in the heart of Old Town Alexandria. The space offers several membership options, including a $50/day membership and a month-to-month membership for $375/month.
Location: 44900 Prentice Dr., James Kimsey Center, Dulles, VA
Perks: Access to AOL campus amenities, including a gym, cafeteria, conference room and free working space and Wi-Fi.
Backstory: Fishbowl Labs is located on the AOL campus in Dulles, Va., and provides free office space and support to tech startups in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. It accepts new companies on a rolling basis.
Flashpoint Incubator Residency Program
Location: 916 G St. NW, Washington, DC
Perks: Free or discounted admission to all CulturalDC Professional Development roundtables and workshops. Office, exhibit, rehearsal and performance space as well as full-time support staff members who provide space management, public relations expertise, business planning, fundraising strategies and technical support.
Backstory: The Flashpoint Incubator Residency program is a project developed by the Cultural Development Corporation to assist arts organizations and creative businesses. The program offers options for full-time, part-time and virtual residency ranging from $120 to $535 per month. Applications to the program are accepted on a rolling basis.
Location: 3140 Washington Blvd., Arlington, VA
Perks: Meeting rooms for 8 to 18 people, 14 nomad desks, 12 perma-desks, kitchen, lounge areas and Wi-Fi, according to In the Capital.
Backstory: Link Locale is a community of freelancers, startups and small organizations located in Arlington’s Clarendon neighborhood.
Location: 455 Second St. SE, Suite 100, Charlottesville, VA
Perks: High-speed wireless Internet, collaborative work studios, kitchen, validated parking close to downtown Charlottesville and an on-premises coordinator for meeting planning and services.
Backstory: OpenSpace is located in Charlottesville’s Warehouse District. The space offers two membership options: an occasional-use membership at $9/hour and an unlimited membership at $250/month.
Roanoke Business Lounge
Location: 126 Campbell Ave., Roanoke, VA, and 131 Kirk Ave., Roanoke, VA
Perks: Floating desk space, 24/7 membership access, attorney access for legal questions, marketing firm access for marketing advice and members-only discounts to local businesses.
Backstory: Roanoke Business Lounge opened its doors in May 2012. Interest for a co-working space in Roanoke became so high that the Roanoke Business Lounge opened a second location on Kirk Avenue in September 2012. Membership options range from a $50/Half-Day co-working membership to a $500 Hi-Tech Upgrade co-working package. The space also features a photography studio that is available for hourly rentals.
Smartly Spaced LLC
Location: 1302 Concourse Dr., Suite 204, Linthicum Heights, MD
Perks: Event area, conference room, classroom, community lounge, private and semiprivate offices and free Wi-Fi.
Backstory: Smartly Spaced LLC was formed by Tom and Kim Wesley in June 2011 and is currently managed by Small Business CEO, an educational resource for small business owners.
The HIVE + The HIVE 2.0
Location: The HIVE – 2027 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. SE, Washington, DC, The HIVE 2.0 – 1231-B Good Hope Rd. SE, Washington, DC
Perks: 24/7 access, Wi-Fi, receptionist, free business services and workshops and free on-street parking.
Backstory: The HIVE 2.0 offers over 5,000 square feet in co-working space, with four membership options, including 115–156 square feet of private office space starting at $1,200/month and a common area and meeting room for $250/month.
Location: 1400 Key Blvd., Suite 1000, Rosslyn, VA
Perks: 24/7 building access, Wi-Fi and Ethernet, discounted services from select partners, on-premises day care and gym, plus programs such as office hours with angel investors, educational seminars and member-exclusive cocktail parties.
Backstory: Monika Jansen and Raymond Rahbar founded UberOffices in May 2012. Its members are a diverse group of technology and media companies. Memberships range from a reserved conference room for $50/hour to an 8-person office for $3,600/month.
Location: 1801 Reston Pkwy., Reston, VA
Perks: Conference room, café, design studio, common areas for work and collaboration as well as Wi-Fi access.
Backstory: weSpace is located in the heart of Northern Virginia’s tech corridor and next to Reston Town Center. This collaboration space offers three membership options ranging from Drop-In Daily membership at $30/day to a Private Space membership for $750/month.