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INNOVATE2016: Tech’s revolutionary promise hinges on strong government relationships

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1776, Washington DC’s leading incubator of technology start-ups, describes itself as “where revolutions begin”. But according to Brandon Pollack, 1776’s Director of Global Affairs, that revolution will only begin in partnership with government.

1776, as Pollock notes, invests in what he calls “entrenched” verticals – regulated areas of the economy like healthcare, energy, education and smart cities which can’t be disrupted by working completely outside the political process. Thus 1776’s place both in Washington DC and as the most prolific incubator in areas like healthcare, energy, education and smart cities.

The view from DC of the Obama administration’s record on innovation is quite rosy Obama, Pollock says, gets an A on innovation – a grade with which not everyone in Silicon Valley will agree. But Pollock appears less optimistic about a post Obama America.

It’s “quite unique” – the “weirdest” election the DC veteran has experienced and he’s disappointed with the absence of discussion about innovation amongst the candidates. As Pollock notes, the only candidates who have stressed the innovation economy – Marco Rubio and Martin O’Malley – are no longer in the race. So much, then, for innovation in 2016.

As always, many thanks to CALinnovates for their help in the production of this interview.