DC Entrepreneurs: AccelerateDC VMS is Here, It’s Growing, and It’s Free
August 20th, 2014
Six months after the first group of ventures were accepted into AccelerateDC Venture Mentoring Service, the program has quickly become a valuable asset for the DC tech community. A Washington, DC Economic Partnership (WDCEP) initiative, AccelerateDC VMS has introduced 30 high-tech ventures and added 78 experienced mentors thus far in its inaugural year.
A key factor in the program’s success has been the partnerships with DC I-Corps, the University of Maryland (UMD), Georgetown University, George Mason University, and George Washington University (GWU).
“DC I-Corps helps early stage technology teams explore the commercial viability of their inventions and determine if they have a product/market fit,” said Dan Kunitz, Director, DC I-Corps Accelerator. “AccelerateDC has been invaluable in helping us provide on-going mentoring and support to these teams after I-Corps as they actually launch their ventures.”
Kunitz is also the Chairman of AccelerateDC VMS’s advisory board joined by Jim Chung, the Executive Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at GWU, Jeff Reid, the Founding Director of the Georgetown Entrepreneurship Initiative, John Casey, the Founder of Venture Mentors at George Mason University, and Edmund Pendleton, the Director of UMD’s VentureAccelerator program and Co-Director of DC I-Corps. The involvement of the region’s top educational institutions has helped AccelerateDC VMS become the center of technology and entrepreneurism in the District.
Officially launched in June 2013, AccelerateDC VMS was created by WDCEP in conjunction with MIT based on a highly- successful model that grossed more than $1 Billion in investments for the Boston area over its lifetime. Through 70 mentoring sessions and over 100 hours of free, confidential mentor sessions, the program has helped startups in areas such as product development, fundraising and intellectual property protection. The ventures are in a wide range of industries including bio technology, education technology, telecommunications, and healthcare.