1776 (company)

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1776 is a startup incubator founded in Washington, D.C. by entrepreneurs Evan Burfield and Donna Harris in 2013.[1] 1776 is a public benefit corporation focused on solving societal challenges in regulated sectors such as education, energy, transportation, and healthcare. In October 2017, 1776 merged with Philadelphia-based Benjamin's Desk to become the nation’s largest network of incubators with 10 campuses on the east coast.[2] 1776 is now led by Benjamin's Desk co-founder Jenn Maher.[3] Currently, the company has over 2700 members representing over 1000 companies with 200,000 square feet under management.


1776 started with 200 member companies in its first year and has now grown to have an international presence with offices across the United States and in Dubai.

1776 was started in partnership with several established organizations including Comcast, Microsoft and the District of Columbia which serve as 'Founding Partners'.[4] In 2015, 1776 closed its first seed fund at $12.5 million.[5]

Since its founding and prior to its merger, more than 700 companies have gone through the incubator program which includes startups across the fields of healthcare, transportation, energy, education, and smart cities. Some of the health companies include: Babyscripts, CancerIQ, Cognotion, Dorsata, and Orchestra One.[6]

Many prominent policymakers and industry leaders, including President Barack Obama and Prime Minister David Cameron have visited and toured the business incubator.[7][8]

In October 2017, 1776 merged with Benjamin's Desk. Jenn Maher co-founded Benjamin’s Desk in 2012 with her husband, Mike Maher, and her brother-in-law, Anthony Maher.[9] Over its first five years, Benjamin's Desk expanded from its original location near Philadelphia's Rittenhouse Square to seven campuses throughout the region, including a partnership with the University of Pennsylvania's Pennovation Center.[10]


1776 startup members have access to a network of mentors, classes, and resources to build their businesses.

The 1776 Campus opened in April 2013. A partnership with entrepreneurial educational institution General Assembly was announced on September 9, 2013, and as a result, 1776 now holds full-time immersive programs, courses, classes and workshops in technology, business, and design at the Campus.[11] Classes cover a range of startup-related skills and disciplines, including law, marketing, data visualization, and web development.[12]


  1. Lorenz, Taylor. "This Incubator Only Accepts Startups That Can Actually Improve The World". http://www.businessinsider.com/1776-startup-incubator-2015-1. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  2. https://technical.ly/philly/2017/10/16/benjamins-desk-1776-merger/
  3. https://technical.ly/dc/2018/05/09/1776-names-jenn-maher-as-sole-ceo-as-part-of-leadership-shift/
  4. O'Connell, Jonathan. "Tech hubs in D.C. and Arlington combine with 1776 acquisition of Disruption Corp.". https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/digger/wp/2015/04/16/tech-hubs-in-d-c-and-arlington-combine-with-1776-acquisition-of-disruption-corp/. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  5. Clabaugh, Jeff. "Calling all startups: 1776 closes first seed fund. Check out the details.". http://www.bizjournals.com/washington/blog/techflash/2015/09/calling-all-startups-1776-closes-first-seed-fund.html. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  6. Baum, Stephanie. "1776 will lose cofounder as leadership departures at incubators, accelerators continue". http://medcitynews.com/2016/11/1776-co-founder-donna-harris-departure/. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  7. https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/blog/2014/07/03/president-obama-visits-1776-incubator-all-sorts-tech-startups
  8. https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/on-small-business/british-prime-minister-cameron-tours-dc-start-up-hub-1776-before-white-house-visit/2015/01/16/90498afe-9da0-11e4-a7ee-526210d665b4_story.html
  9. https://technical.ly/philly/2012/02/09/benjamins-desk-naval-officer-michael-maher-launching-corporate-coworking-in-center-city/
  10. https://www.bizjournals.com/philadelphia/news/2015/10/08/benjamins-desk-pennovation-center-incubator.html
  11. "1776 Creates Startup Hub In DC". http://upstart.bizjournals.com/companies/hatched/2013/03/18/1776-creates-startup-hub-in-dc.html. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  12. "U.S. Chamber, Startup Incubator 1776 Release Innovation that Matters, Spotlight Methods to Build Successful Innovation Economies in Cities". https://www.uschamber.com/press-release/us-chamber-startup-incubator-1776-release-innovation-matters-spotlight-methods-build. Retrieved 9 January 2017.

External links[edit]

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