While it’s not about Wall Street, DC’s world of finance offers plenty of ways to get hooked up, whether it’s personal investing, a VC, or other avenues.
But it can be quite difficult to demystify the world of local and regional investing, with so many threads and moving parts. So we asked a finance professional.
Mark Andersen is a Global Customer Service Principal Partner at EYthe global investment and banking giant also known as Ernest and Young, which is based in Northern Virginia. He spoke to Technically on what makes the DC marketplace so special, what we can look for, and how founders can get the most out of the local ecosystem.
Jhis conversation has been edited for length and clarity.
How would you describe the current investment environment in DC?
Anderson: DC is really interesting from a specific market point of view. It is anchored by the largest consumer of goods and services in the world: the federal government. The ecosystem [manifests] around that, in terms of the people who provide a direct service to that ecosystem and those who support them. In addition, there is quite an interesting investment in biotechnology and other [somewhat] adjacent sectors.
The importance of this is that it constantly stimulates investment in innovation because, even in times of growth or times like the challenges that arise from COVID, the government is responding. He’s an interesting client, if you will, or an interesting resource for the market.
If you step back from the region, you really see, from an academic perspective, schools like George Mason, Virginia University of Technology and many schools have a public-private partnership in place – sometimes formally, sometimes informally. It’s about providing resources: tech-ready, tech-enabled, tech-specific resources, because there’s an endless demand for talent in this market.
And companies, when assessing their own portfolios and who they want to be, they want to understand both the weight and power of government as a customer, as well as the ability to market some of the offerings related to that market. . So even in off-peak times, DC is a good market.
What trends do you see in the market?
Coming out of COVID, we’ve all got our feet a little bit now. We are beginning to understand: what does the way forward look like? Now it’s just a different way of working for us.
From a business-specific perspective, particularly on the tech side, we’re still on the cusp of driving change through things like 5G or quantum computing and things like that where a lot is happening big things. There’s this massive consumption of government, government-related, and sometimes commercial offerings, but we’re still at the forefront of the innovations and investments associated with some of those innovations – both in terms of bringing talent into the workforce- of labor and simply of creating these investments.
DC had its biggest year of investing yet in 2021. How do you think this year will measure up? Does it get cold?
I don’t think DC is cooling down the way other markets can be cooling down, just because of customer ingrain and some of the issues that people are trying to solve. In fact, it might even pick up where people are starting to look: where do I want to place bets? And DC is probably a safer bet, compared to other markets or other kinds of problems that you’re trying to solve, especially in tech, cyber, and some of these very specific kinds of solutions.
So I don’t see it necessarily cooling down. He can maintain. It might even grow a little bigger.
What attracts investors to the DC market?
You start with a framework, business-friendly environments by local governments. We have very strong educational resources and commitment from these institutions. There is therefore a deliberate connective tissue between these academic institutions, employers and government to create a workforce. So you benefit from a business-friendly environment and a commitment to education and development. And the other thing that keeps people here is that you have businesses here because the government wants to bring in other businesses, and you have opportunities. So this engine feeds on itself.
What trends are you keeping an eye on?
With the investments being made in the technology around 5G and the applications that will enable or create, and then this culmination of quantum computing, which is only going to change the speed and the capacity of computing, the ability to solve the problems – it opens up a whole new world. The ability to go faster, to go better, to move information earlier.
I think we will continue on this path. And then, we are still at the beginning of the development of applications to monetize 5G, quantum, and they will still be, like anything else: you will do it and you will arrive at a place where you will see differently. Or you can apply it differently. So I think that’s the next thing to come for people.
What advice do you have for local businesses and founders?
The first is to take a step back and perhaps understand the opportunity that DC and DC technologies present in terms of market, resources, business environment, and the ideal place to live or play for employees. It’s just outstanding, and it’s appealing.
And then also understand that one of the things that’s interesting around DC is the ecosystem itself, the way people associate and interact with each other. There are so many resources out there, so get involved, meet people, understand the opportunities.
DC is a very open environment where people want to collaborate and engage in order to succeed. So there is an opportunity to be part of it.