Read this piece on the Washington Post website

The start-ups housed at District-based 1776 are poised to get a lift from the political strategists and data mavens who helped President Obama secure reelection.

The community hub for entrepreneurs announced a partnership Thursday with Precision Strategies, a communications and digital strategy firm helmed by several senior staffers from Obama’s 2012 campaign.

Precision Strategies will help the young companies build their brands, develop marketing strategies and gain media exposure. That’s often a challenge for founders who may know a lot about engineering or business, but have a hard time relaying their stories to others, said 1776 co-founder Donna Harris.

“If you get that right, it can be a dramatic accelerator to drive growth for your company,” Harris said.

1776 offers office space, workshops and mentorship to dozens of fledgling companies, most of them looking to shake up industries where the federal government plays an influential role. Those include energy, education, health care and transportation, among other sectors.

Harris said Precision Strategies’s background in politics made the firm a natural fit for the start-ups at 1776. It also helps that their Washington office is just two blocks away.

“We think it’s an enormous asset that they can look at these industries and understand how federal, state and local government operate,” Harris said. “They understand it because that’s the world they come out of.”

The partners at Precision Strategies include Stephanie Cutter, a former White House strategist and former deputy campaign manager; Teddy Goff, the campaign’s former digital director; and Jen O’Malley Dillon, a former deputy campaign manager and former executive director of the Democratic National Committee.

“[The partnership] allows us to work with some of the most promising start-ups all over the world who are looking to disrupt markets that don’t like to change,” Cutter said. “That’s something we have done in our own careers, whether it’s disrupting politics or policy.”

Precision Strategies previously worked as a consultant to 1776 on its Challenge Cup competition, which pits promising start-ups from cities around the world against one another for a cash prize.

“We have done some work with start-ups helping them understand how to market themselves [and] communicate about their offering and what differentiates them from competitors,” Cutter said.

“It’s very much akin to launching a political campaign and selling a candidacy,” she added.

The financial terms of the arrangement were not disclosed.

This isn’t 1776’s first connection to the White House. Obama himself visited 1776 last July to mingle with entrepreneurs, hear their business pitches and ask them questions. He also used the venue as a backdrop to discuss the improving economy and call for immigration reform.

Read this piece on the Washington Post website