Investors look to DC as entrepreneur pool grows

One of the top innovation investors in the region shares impressions of what the national capital has to offer, and why business is booming.

Investors are turning to the greater Washington region for investment opportunities thanks to the huge, diverse population and high concentration of experienced, innovative entrepreneurs, said Jay Gamble, managing principle at Blu Venture Investors.

Of all the cities where he has lived, Gamble chose Washington, D.C. as his place to be a seed-stage investor. He says it was an easy choice.

“Compare Washington, D.C. to, say, Richmond, or Houston, or Atlanta. They’re all great cities in their own right, but D.C. has a complexity and different communities that some of those other cities don’t have,” he said.

Specifically, D.C. entrepreneurs stand out because there are a huge number of untapped technology professionals.

“Not every city has that. Every city has technically skilled people, they just don’t have as many as we do here in a very small space,” Gamble. said.

“We don’t exactly look for an individual entrepreneur. We look for a team,” Gamble said of Blue Ventures’ guidelines for judging investment opportunities. Entrepreneurs are most successful when they work together as a close-knit group, he said.

“A founding team that has actually founded and launched and run a previous company, and now they’re working on their next company,” he said, “that indicates to us that this is a highly functioning, very capable team.”

In failed investments, there simply isn’t a market for the product to sell. “Doesn’t mean it wasn’t a good idea. It doesn’t mean that, technologically, it wasn’t very solid,” he said. As of yet, Blue Ventures has found no shortage of investments.

“Our pipeline, in terms of due diligence, companies that have approached us, is full. We have been running at a very high speed talking to a lot of companies for over two years now,” Gamble said. “There is no let up whatsoever.”

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