About a year ago, I got together with 6 other brilliant #dctech minds to start the Capital Tech Coalition. We created a mobilization platform for small and mid-sized tech companies in the DC region.
Our first action was on the current administration’s immigration ban.
Now, having seen the incentives DC has offered Amazon to entice them to bring HQ2 to DC, we’re asking our Mayor to for same considerations. This is a copy of the letter that went out to the Mayor yesterday. It was signed by 10 CTC member companies headquartered in DC.
Disclaimer: We are not experts in the world of private-public partnerships. Our goal is to jumpstart the conversation.
March 4, 2018
Dear Mayor Bowser,
As you know, Washington’s high-tech scene (#dctech) has grown significantly since many of us launched our companies here years ago. We’ve had the privilege to witness and drive much of that growth firsthand. While we are cautiously excited about the potential for growth that might come from Amazon opening HQ2 in this region, we are concerned that many of the incentives offered to this tech giant are not similarly made available to the District’s native tech companies.
Startups and smaller high-growth companies bring tremendous economic and cultural benefits to our region just as Amazon might do at some point in the future, only we are doing it right now. Moreover, the jobs we create are dispersed throughout the District, enabling all neighborhoods to benefit. Investing in smaller companies is good for the District because it promotes competition in the marketplace — leading to better jobs with fairer pay — and fuels a purely local engine of value creation.
We are writing to respectfully ask for your support in offering companies like ours the same benefits and incentives that have been proposed for Amazon, including, for example:
- Relocation cost reimbursements. Many of our companies have relocated talent to Washington. This talent tends to stick around and continue to add value over time. Assistance with relocation costs would help us bring even more good paying jobs to the District.
- Wage reimbursement. Many of our employees live in Washington where the cost of living is significantly higher than that of surrounding areas in Virginia and Maryland. Business tax credits for hiring District residents would allow us to provide our workforce with better quality of life benefits, and would incentivize us to hire residents or encourage current employees to move into the District. Such a credit should be higher for veterans.
- On-the-job training bonuses. One of the most vital benefits we bring to the community is increased opportunities for education and training. As just one example, we sometimes hire employees without any coding skills and train them to become full-time software engineers. The District should recognize the value job retraining has for its communities and incentivize that behavior.
- Property tax freeze. Corporate rents in the District can be twice as high as in Virginia. We would like your help in alleviating this severe economic burden with a freeze on our property taxes. This would allow us to maintain and expand our presence here.
- Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) sales tax relief. Many of our companies provide SaaS services, which have proven to be huge value creators in the market. We would like to see a threshold introduced that will provide startups relief from SaaS sales tax until they reach a certain amount of revenue.
We would greatly appreciate an opportunity to meet with you to discuss these and other suggestions we believe would further maximize a private-public partnership between our community of high-tech companies and the District.
Please contact Dan Berger who is leading this effort for us at to coordinate a follow-up.
The executives of the following CTC member organizations:
CaryRx | Hatch Apps |Humble Ventures
Insomniac Design |LayerCake | Made In Order
Optoro | Plum Relish | Social Tables | Surprise Ride
CC: Councilman David Grosso, At-Large
About the Capital Tech Coalition (CTC)
The Capital Technology Coalition is a partnership of 35 DC area technology companies who are giving voice to our community on issues affecting our businesses and our values. The CTC grew out of a group of executives from local technology companies who organized an open letter as a response to the Trump Administration policies on immigration and travel in early 2017. www.capitaltechcoalition.com