Your Challenge Festival Journey

The countdown is on for Challenge Festival, and we’re excited for all of the amazing events, venues, speakers, startups and people who will be there. If you haven’t already registered for your badge, hurry up before we sell out!  Join the 3,000+ people who have already said they’re attending this May.

After all, there’s no better time to visit the nation’s capital! With the beautiful spring backdrop, it’s the perfect setting to get excited about the innovative solutions coming out of Washington, D.C. and startups around the world. From in-depth panels to chance connections at rooftop parties; from the traditional halls of power to the vibrant startup scene growing in D.C.; from change-making keynote speakers to visionary entrepreneurs, the Challenge Festival will bring all of these together—and so much more—for an inspiring week of learning and connections.

Want to learn more about what’s going on during the week? Perfect—keep reading!

What is the Challenge Festival?

The Challenge Festival, produced by 1776, is a week of events in Washington, D.C. focused on transformative solutions to global challenges and innovators from around the world. This week alone, more than 100 organizations are partnering to host events focused on how to drive innovation through startups in government, foundations and corporations.

In addition to the packed schedule of panels and parties, the Challenge Festival features the culmination of 1776’s Challenge Cup, a global competition of startups revolutionizing education, energy, health and smart cities.

The 1776 team traveled to 16 cities around the world—from Tel Aviv, Israel, to New Delhi, India, to Sao Paulo, Brazil—to find the best technologies that can actually change slow-moving industries such as health and education. Sixty-four winning startups from those 16 competitions will compete to win the Challenge Cup championship title and $650,000 in prizes—making it an exciting week for the entire Washington, D.C. area.

What will I do at the Challenge Festival?

In short, you will: learn, get inspired, build connections—and party.

Sounds great, but where will I be? When will I be there? Who will I meet?

Let’s dive into the week…

FRIDAY MAY 9

  • Party – 7:00 – 10:00 pm: Kick things off in startup style with us for the opening party at 1776. We’ll feature local bands, give you a sneak peak of our 8th floor expansion and open the week with a celebration to set the tone.

ALL WEEK:

  • Learn: Studio Theater is where you want to be during the week. Organizations including Deloitte, Brookings, Indiegogo and SocialRadar are hosting incredible events showcasing their latest innovations and thought leadership. See them all here.

MONDAY MAY 12

  • Learn – 11:30 – 1:30 pm: Need some food and inspiration for lunch? Join us for the lunchtime conference: Grand Challenges – The Rise of Startups from 11:30 am – 1:30 pm on 1776′s newly completed 8th floor. We’ll explore how startups are the future in major industries like health, education and energy by hearing from those who have already started making a big dent. Speakers include top executives from companies that have successfully scaled up and made big returns for investors, as well as startups that are beginning the journey to turn important industries upside down.
  • Get Inspired – 4:00 – 7:00 pm: See all 16 education startups from around the world faceoff during the Challenge Cup Education Semifinals at Studio Theater. The U.S. and international winners will each receive a $50,000 prize. We all know there’s much work to be done in how we educate our youth— have you wondered how the industry will be revolutionized over the next decade? Join us and you’ll see first hand.
  • Build Connections – 7:00 – 10:00 pm: The evening’s VIP Gala will take place at historic mansion, Meridian International Center, where education leaders and VIPs will mix, mingle and meet the 16 education startups from around the world.

TUESDAY MAY 13

  • Learn – 11:30 – 1:30 pm:  Join 1776 for the lunchtime conference: The Corporate Revolution from 11:30 am – 1:30 pm at Ideaspace. We’ll explore how corporations are using startups as a tactic to drive growth and innovate within their companies by partnering, working with and acquiring them. Speakers include top innovation heads from corporations currently using this strategy and the founder of a recently acquired startup. Are you at a large organization trying to figure out how to drive innovation and entrepreneurial culture? Then you should register to be there!
  • Get Inspired – 4:00 – 7:00 pm: See all 16 energy startups from around the world faceoff during the Challenge Cup Energy Semifinals from 4:00 – 7:00 pm at Studio Theater. The U.S. and international winners will each receive a $50,000 prize. We’ve heard that the U.S. is now the top energy producer in the world, but what do long-term strategies look like? How are startups pushing the limit on what can be done now to save cost, time and resources? From production to storage to efficiency, you’ll see amazing solutions when these startups take the stage.
  • Build Connections – 7:00 – 10:00 pm: The evening’s VIP Gala will take place at historic mansion, Heurich House, where energy leaders and VIPs will mix, mingle and meet the 16 energy startups from around the world.

WEDNESDAY MAY 14

  • Learn – 11:30 – 1:30 pm:  Join 1776 for the lunchtime conference: Accelerating Impact from 11:30 am – 1:30 pm. Deviating away from the non-profit-only model, we’ll explore how foundations are increasingly working with startups to accomplish their missions. Speakers include leaders at major foundations who are utilizing tools including investments, program initiatives and competitions that see real results.
  • Get Inspired – 4:00 – 7:00 pm: See all 16 health startups from around the world faceoff during the Challenge Cup Health Semifinals at 4:00 – 7:00 pm at Studio Theater. The U.S. and international title winners will each receive a $50,000 prize. No one has to be convinced that the U.S. health care system is incredibly inefficient. These brave entrepreneurs are taking on health care systems all over the world in order to improve health outcomes at lower costs.
  • Build Connections – 7:00 – 10:00 pm: The evening’s VIP Gala then will take place at historic mansion, Mansion at O Street, where health leaders and VIPs will mix, mingle and meet the 16 health startups from around the world.

THURSDAY MAY 15

  • Learn- 11:30 – 1:30 pm:  Join 1776 for the final lunchtime conference: Returns on Capital from 11:30 am – 1:30 pm at Union Market. While venture capitalists are investing in startups disrupting entire industries, venture capital itself is undergoing massive change. With tools like equity and non-equity crowdfunding, the rise of angel investors and platforms like AngelList, investors and entrepreneurs alike are finding new ways to fund companies. Join us to learn about these trends—and how to take advantage of them.
  • Get Inspired – 4:00 – 7:00 pm: See all 16 smart cities startups from around the world faceoff during the Challenge Cup Smart Cities Semifinals at 4:00 – 7:00 pm at Studio Theater. The U.S. and international title winners will each receive a $50,000 prize. Is your city lagging behind or ahead of the curve? Come see these startups show what the city of the future looks like.
  • Build Connections – 7:00 – 10:00 pm: The evening’s VIP Gala will take place at the new Dock5 in Union Market, where smart cities leaders, mayors, and VIPs will mix, mingle and meet the 16 smart city startups from around the world.

FRIDAY MAY 16

By Friday, you’ll be ready for something different, so we’re hosting an all-day startup government conference and a BIG keynote night.

  • Learn & build connections – 10:00 am – 4:00 pm: How can government be motivators, rather than detractors, of change? Join us for the Startup Government Conference at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to hear top public and private sector leaders discuss how federal, state and local leaders and their policies can enable innovation. Speakers will include members of Congress, mayors, White House officials and startup executives who have learned from their experiences working with regulations and government.
  • Learn, get inspired, & build connections (The Trifecta) – 7:00 – 10:00 pm: The must-attend Keynote Night at the historic Lincoln Theatre on U Street will feature prominent national leaders. Want to hear what the future looks like before anyone else? Be at Lincoln Theater on Friday night.

SATURDAY MAY 17 – THE CULMINATION

  • Featured: The Elite Eight startups—two from each industry—will compete for $650,000 in prizes and to become the Challenge Cup Global Champion during the Global Finals at 5:00 – 8:00 pm at the gorgeous U.S. Institute of Peace overlooking the Lincoln Memorial. Come and be stunned by the intense show of ideas from around the world. The Global Finals will also feature all 64 startups that will pitch their companies in quick-fire presentations for a crowd-favorite prize. We went all around the world to find the most-promising startups; now you can see the best of the best right in your own backyard.
  • Party: To celebrate the entire week of amazing events and the Challenge Cup Champion, iStrategy Labs will host an unmissable closing party at IdeaSpace. Trust us: You don’t want to miss a Peter Corbett & iStrategyLabs party.

The Festival is more than the events, the startups or the venues.  It’s truly about innovators and passionate people from around the world coming together to tackle the big challenges of our time. As a global city with so many people already working on these issues, Washington, D.C. is the perfect place to host the Challenge Festival’s ambitious mission.

The most important part of this is YOU being there—building a strong community around these challenges and startups is critical to making the change a reality. (Want to know who else will be here—aka VIPs? Check back later this week for the first round of Festival speaker announcements!)

If there are a few things you won’t be lacking by May 17, it will be food, creative ideas and new friends. Don’t forget to register for your badge—it’s an exciting time to be in Washington, D.C.!