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Digital DUMBO considers expanding to D.C.

Digital DUMBO, a global organization that creates cross-city relationships and helps people and businesses connect with each other through technology, is considering expanding into the District. The organization, which formed four years ago in Brooklyn, NY in the DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Underpass) area, has already expanded to Boston, London and Valencia, Spain.

Andrew Zarick, the CEO and co-founder of Digital DUMBO (DD), moderated a panel Wednesday, Feb. 20 at nClud in Dupont Circle as part of Social Media Week Washington, D.C. In his introduction, Zarick explained that DD looks for cities that can be global partners. "We're looking for 'geographies of cool,'" he explained, referencing Richard Florida's 2002 book on social change, The Rise of the Creative Class. "Cities with digital innovation and culture in abundance. These cities draw high-tech companies and people with high talent."

Wednesday night's panel included Gadi Ben-Yehuda from the IBM Center for the Business of Government, Jesse Channon from PageLever, Mark Drapeau from the Microsoft Office of Civic Innovation, and Greg Kihlström from Carousel30.

In an interview following the panel, Zarick stated that DD uses pop-up events like the panel discussion to gauge interest in the organization. "We use the success of the event to decide if we want to be there for the long haul," he explained.

Reached later by phone, Zarick said that Digital DUMBO will make an official decision about coming to D.C. in a few months. Unofficially, he said, "we'll be in D.C. We're just not sure of the timeline. We're in a holding period. We want to make sure our other cities are strong before we add more."

Read more articles by Allyson Jacob.

Allyson Jacob is a writer originally hailing from Cincinnati, Ohio, and is the Innovation and Job News editor for Elevation DC. Her work has been featured in The Cincinnati Enquirer and Cincinnati CityBeat. Have a tip about a small business or start-up making waves inside the Beltway? Tell her here.
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