How DC Tech Will Become Even Cooler In 2015
DC tech is finally at the cool kids' lunch table. So what’s in store for 2015? We talked to three experts about startups, funding, federal IT and real estate.
Disruption Corp. and Crystal Tech Fund founder Paul Singh says the DC startup community will continue growing, since it’s never been cheaper to build a product and more industries like retail and education have become more tech enabled. He also predicts that companies will continue to raise small early rounds from local angels and seed funds, but the big money will continue to come from outside of the region. He also predicts that co-working and real estate options for startups will continue to grow, with even some room for new real estate options for companies too big for co-working but too small for a long-term lease.
NextGen Angels founder Dan Mindus, who left CIT in September to focus on the angel investing group full-time, has several predictions: Local tech companies like Urban Stems will help disrupt traditional retail; co-working companies like Uber Offices will expand and other new spaces will open; industries like cybersecurity and tech solutions that give knowledge workers better access to information will continue to be hot; dollars invested through equity crowdfunding sites like local startups Fundrise and EquityEats will increase five times over 2014; and more money will go into VC funds. One downer is that truly big tech ideas like SpaceX will continue to be neglected by VCs, and most of their funding will come from the super-wealthy like Bill Gates and Elon Musk.
The federal IT community had a tough 2014, with shrinking federal IT budgets, says BirchGrove Consulting president Ray Bjorklund. And it will be more of the same in 2015. The industry will get more commoditized, and the 3,000 local IT contractors will clamor for a piece of the smaller federal IT pie. Ray also predicts some more failed big government IT projects on the same level as healthcare.gov. Why? Agencies are trying to apply too many private-sector best practices within an outdated procurement system. Ray also predicts more embarrassing and ugly data breaches a la Sony's The Interview.