DC Startup Week Sep. 9-13

MIT Enterprise Forum Washington DC & Baltimore is proud to partner with DC Startup Week.

DC Startup Week (DCSW) is the fastest-growing startup community in the DMV region with over 6,000 entrepreneurs. Once a year, we bring together our expansive community over 5-days to connect, collaborate, share resources and celebrate our thriving ecosystem. Throughout the year, we strengthen our united community by curating inclusive, thought-provoking, and meaningful events and partnerships.

This year DC Startup Week is in Washington, D.C. from Monday, September 9, 2019, 8:00 AM to Friday, September 13, 2019, 8:00 PM.

  • This is no charge for this event.
  • Meet fellow founders, entrepreneurs, developers and investors in casual venues to talk shop, share code and make plans
  • Be part of a culture that celebrates sharing and learning from one another
  • Learn from incredibly smart entrepreneurs and experienced mentors
  • Network with the entire DC startup community and interact with startup teams and hiring managers in meaningful and impactful ways

To learn more, visit www.DCstartupweek.org

To register, use this Eventbrite link, https://www.eventbrite.com/e/dc-startup-week-2019-tickets-60100700814.

Nominations Committee Report: The 2019/20 Board

The nominations committee is happy to report on the new MIT Enterprise Forum Washington DC & Baltimore board. The board has been voted in and is already hard at work on the upcoming year. The committee is confident that this board will be successful in growing MITEF’s capacity to serve the start-up community here in DC.

The nominations committee was tasked with recruiting a new Chair as Matthew Falls was term limited. Matt had served as Chair for two successful consecutive terms of growth for the forum and we thank him for his enthusiasm and unstinting work on behalf of our chapter. Our ideal candidate would be someone who is part of the DC startup community, who is an experienced entrepreneur who wanted to give back to the community, and who had participated or supported MITEF Washington DC & Baltimore. Our search was successful.

Our new chair is a long-time friend of the forum Cynthia Traeger. Ms. Traeger has moderated panels and taught entrepreneur skills at MITEF events. Cynthia Traeger serves as CEO of Pacific, a diversified technology & media holding company, and concurrently serves as President of VSI Pacific.  She leads Pacific’s efforts across aerospace, defense, sports, entertainment, and other industries. Additionally, Cynthia serves as a Trustee to the Board of Trustees, Harrisburg University of Science and Technology where she chairs the International Affairs Committee of the Executive Board; and is a Mentor/Advisor to the NIH Commercialization Accelerator Program and Feedback Sessions. She was a participant and author with the American Bar Association’s Digital Evidence Work Group, and a contributor to the Journal of the ACM Special Interest Group on Graphics. Cynthia is a partner to the State Department’s Global Innovation through Science and Technology (GIST) program and is an active mentor for GIST companies. In partnership with GIST, she is an executive mentor to the Research Competitiveness Program for the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). She holds multiple patents in the areas of real-time data analysis for proximity and movement of objects.

Matthew Falls remains on the board as the Immediate Past Chapter Chair and is the Volunteer Chair. Mark Johnston has moved from Programming Chair to Vice Chair but will still be involved in programming. Andrew Polcha has moved from Vice Chair to Nominations but is still advising the programming committee. Our new Programming Chair is Michael Novak. Michael worked on the programming committee last year. A list of all the board members is below. We are currently working to update our website and when it is ready, we will add the new biographies for your review.

Our other goal was to recruit volunteers who demonstrated an enthusiasm for supporting startups in DC. To accomplish this, we recruited six new board members, 30% of the board. Complementing this change four board members changed roles, 20% of the board. Half the board is returning in their role from last year. We believe that by bringing new board members on board will not only diversify the capabilities of the board but will make the chapter stronger as we move into the 2020s.

Volunteer Title
Cynthia Traeger Chapter Chair
Matthew Falls Immediate Past Chapter Chair /
Volunteer Chair
Mark Johnston Chapter Vice Chair
Helen Shimbo Chapter Treasurer
Steve Britt Chapter Secretary
Shyam Chidamber Sponsorship Committee Chair
Andy Tucker Sponsorship Committee Vice Chair
Jason Ware Operations Chair
Michael Novak Program Committee Chair
Vered Sharon Program Committee vice Chair
David Beck Membership/Volunteer Chair
Mahesh Joshi Educational Partnerships
Scott McKeever Marketing co-Chair
Kirsten Johnson Marketing co-Chair
Ed Harrell Program Committee
Nir Adhikari Program Committee
Amu Fowler Entrepreneur Ambassador
Beverly Bugos Outreach Chair
Larry Trotter II Volunteer Coordinator
Andrew Polcha Nominating Committee Chair

Survey Says!

Our survey respondents have spoken. Thank you for your feedback to our summer survey. It will help us guide our chapter’s strategy and programming.

Thank You

We would like to thank the many survey respondents for the valuable information they have provided to the leadership team and the programming committee. Your answers will be used to help formulate the programming for our events this fall and next spring. Not only did the respondents help answer our set questions but they provided extra information to help us better define our events. Also, a special thanks to those who have volunteered their time and expertise to help our chapter.

What Is Important?

The first question helps us formulate the content of the events. The respondents overwhelming wanted networking at our events. We will make sure that each event has adequate time to network and is structured to bring in people who are active in the DC entrepreneur community. Second, the respondents wanted MITEF to support our local entrepreneurs. We will work to feature local entrepreneurs at our events.


Our next question focused on potential topics. Networking, this time as a topic and not an event theme, was a top priority for the respondents. We hear this interest loud and clear and will work to make our events great for networking. In the next group, the future of work is aligned with MIT’s Work of the Future initiative (https://workofthefuture.mit.edu/), we are planning a voice/AI event in October, and we will work to have events on business growth and entrepreneurial leadership.

Event Locations and Times

This question confirmed that our typical respondent can attend evening events mid-week in Washington DC or Arlington. We feel that the location bias is due to our chapter’s focus on DC and Northern Virginia events over the last several years. We have met many entrepreneurs and their supporters from the Baltimore area and know that there is an interest to hold MITEF events there as well. This fall we will focus on holding mid-week evening events in DC and Arlington. Beyond that, we will work on developing or supporting events in the Baltimore and northern Montgomery county.

MITEF Wants Your Input: Help Us Develop Our 2019/20 Programming Season

We are now working to develop our 2019-2020 programming calendar. We would appreciate your help to balance our forum events among networking, cool new tech, networking, entrepreneur education, networking, and supporting the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Washington DC & Baltimore.

The MITEF Washington DC & Baltimore programming team brought nine events to our 2018-2019 schedule.

  • May, Celebrating Entrepreneurship in Our Nation’s Capital
  • April, Early Investor in Entrepreneurs: What Makes for a Fundable Venture?
  • March, New Opportunities in Neuroscience in France and the US
  • February, Leadership Challenges and Solutions
  • January, co-marketing event: www.BlockChaingeDC.com
  • December, Cybersecurity for Startups—a mentor event
  • October, IP in the Software World
  • September, How to Build Your Advisory Board (an NVTC event)
  • September, Networking event: Winery and Brewery Tour with CEO talks

Here are a few ideas that have been proposed to our board over the last year.

  • The Future of Work
  • Blockchain technology
  • Appapalooza—bring together app developers and new companies that need apps.
  • Entrepreneur in a Day—a longer format Saturday forum featuring entrepreneur education topics
  • Leadership for the entrepreneur
  • FinTech
  • Quantum computing
  • New business growth
  • Voice/AI technology
  • Ethics in startups
  • Remaking healthcare
  • CEO challenge
  • Networking

Please help us by filling out a survey. We want to make events that you want to attend. We will publish the results in late July.

Thank you.

Survey Link

Celebrating Entrepreneurship in Our Nation’s Capital

MIT Enterprise Forum joins with Defense Entrepreneurs Forum, Vive DC, Stanford Alumni, French American Chamber of Commerce and IEEE to celebrate entrepreneurship in the DC region with a happy hour and networking event featuring talks by Jim Hunt, the managing Director of Lavrock Ventures and Jeff Grass of Hungry. Jim will speak on Entrepreneurship in Our Nations Capital. Jeff will speak on his experience as a DC entrepreneur and his latest venture HUNGRY.

The event will be a roof-deck happy hour (rain date is 5/23) which is all about networking, networking, and networking. Early bird pricing is $20.

Come meet like minded professionals for a fun evening of networking in a beautiful, relaxed environment, with an adult beverage in your hand. This event’s theme of Entrepreneurship is reaching multiple sectors such as Government, Technology and Medical; you won’t want to miss this.

Your admission includes light fare, beer, wine, and soda.


A special thanks to Accelspace and Gould | Oxford for providing the event space.

Early Investing in Entrepreneurs: What Makes for a Fundable Venture?

Originally scheduled for April 4, 2019, this event is now postponed and will be held in the fall. Our apologies for this late change in our schedule.

As the fundraising process for early-stage startups grows ever-more competitive and and ever-more elusive, we invite you to take part in an event designed especially to answer the question: “What makes for a fundable venture?

Join the MIT Enterprise Forum of Washington, DC & Baltimore and the American University Center for Innovation on April 4th from 5:45pm until 8:45pm for an evening filled with startup pitches, startup tabling, “open mic” elevator pitches, Q&A and discussion, during which a moderator, host and panelists will all comment and share their expertise on how successful entrepreneurs achieve early-stage financing.  The event will take place at American University’s Don Myers Tech and Innovation Building Room 221 in Washington, DC.  Please note that dinner is included and parking is free after 5pm. 

Moderator: Edgar C. Harrell, EiR, Harrisburg University of Science and Technology and Managing Partner, Harrell Capital Partners

Panelists: Eric Koefoot, Founder and CEO, Public Relay Inc.; Dan Loague, President, DC Arch Angels; Judy Schramm, Founder and CEO, ProResource

Venture Presenters: Peter Tippett, Founder and CEO, Healthcelerate Inc.; Debra Cancro, Founder and CEO, VoiceVibes Inc.

Questions? Contact Mark Johnston at johnmark@alum.mit.edu

American University Center for Innovation and MIT Enterprise Forum Washington DC & Baltimore
American University Center for Innovation and MIT Enterprise Forum Washington DC & Baltimore

March 13 2019 New Neuroscience Opportunities in France and the U.S.

Neuroscience research continually provides insight in to improving the human condition. Today, more than ever before there are new business opportunities to bridge science and engineering to help people. Given the complexity of the human brain, it is no small undertaking and often involves academic research, government support, and a determined innovator to create a successful business proposition.

Please join us at the Washington, D.C. French Embassy on Wednesday, March 13 from 6-9pm to hear leaders from France and the U.S. present their perspectives on the public private partnerships that are often essential in creating the opportunities for new businesses in healthcare.

Dr. Oliver Blin, of ISERM and IMI and Stephanie Fertig, SBIR Project Manager, National Institute of Neurological Disorders & Stroke at NIH will give short presentations on the state of neuroscience. They will then be joined by Dr. John Reppas, Director of Public Policy of the Neurotechnology Industry Organization, for a conversation about public-private partnerships.

We will take a break for light refreshments, including French wine.

Dr. Kenneth Carter, Executive Chairman at Neuralstem—a company approved for an FDA phase 1 trial—will discuss his experience as an experienced entrepreneur in this field where it can take a long time to get your product to market.

After a networking break, we will hear several short presentations from entrepreneurs who have started new companies: Dr. Samantha Scott of JuneBrain, Sam Jazzo of Kinometrix, and Dr. Dan Gura of AlgometRx.