D.C. the New Silicon Valley?

Brittany Charles 

Take a walk around Washington D.C. and you might see something you never noticed before: an influx of technology companies in the area. It is true that Washington D.C. is the mecca for individuals seeking to work within all facets of American politics, from federal government to non-profit organizations. However, the historically government-oriented city is seeing a dramatic shift in its professional demographics.

In 2013, Forbes Magazine declared D.C. the “No. 1 New Tech Hot Spot” in the country[1]. Furthermore, Forbes has also consistently ranked D.C. on the “No. 1 New Tech Hot Spot” and “10 Top Software Hotspots” lists[2].In 2014, one year later, over 1,000 tech start-ups called D.C. home, challenging the notion that Silicon Valley was the undisputed king of all things tech[3]. More recently, large tech companies such as Google have all opened or expanded offices in the D.C. area[4]. While Silicon Valley remains the most concentrated area for tech companies, D.C. is quickly becoming the east coast capital of the technological boom[5].

The reason? It’s disputed. In 2012, D.C.’s local government officials begun implementing several measures to create the largest tech hub on the east coast within the city, including tax incentives for startups[6]. However, an increase in information technology, biotech and cybersecurity positions throughout the federal government has also drawn more techies to the area[7]. While experts dispute the rationale behind the growing technological sector in the city, it’s undisputable that D.C.’s mix of a highly educated populace, centrality to government and accessibility to the rest of the country makes it an attractive hub for the tech world. Silicon Valley may reign the U.S. tech sector, however, Washington D.C. is quickly becoming an east-coast solution for those interested in the industry without abandoning their coastline loyalties.

[1] America’s New Tech Hot Spots, Forbes, (Jan. 2013), https://www.forbes.com/pictures/edgl45eldd/no-1-washington-arlington-alexandria-dc-va-md-wv/#5b85c0474f12.

[2] Joel Kotkin, America’s Software and Tech Hotspots, Forbes, (Apr. 14, 2016 at 12:06), https://www.forbes.com/sites/joelkotkin/2016/04/14/americas-software-and-tech-hotspots/#40252ba0180f.

[3] Rebecca Sheir, Is D.C. Transforming From a Government Town Into A Tech Hub?, , Wamu, (Nov. 14, 2014), http://wamu.org/story/14/11/13/dc_going_from_a_government_town_to_tech_hub/.

[4] Id.

[5] Id.

[6] Id.