Executive Briefings

As Amazon Competition Heats Up, D.C. Mayor Heads West to Talk Tech

Stretched for talent, big tech firms are looking outside of Silicon Valley to expand, and increasingly one of the beneficiaries has been the D.C. area.

The region has long been home to information technology contractors specializing in federal ­government work. But more recently, the District has become an ­outpost for name-brand new ­economy ­giants. It has the third-largest office of Uber and the ­second-largest presence of WeWork, the co-working office start-up. Yelp plans to add more than 500 jobs in the city over the next five years.

And the Washington area is in the hunt for the biggest prize yet: Amazon.com, which is considering the region as a location for its second headquarters, with as many as 50,000 employees. (Amazon founder ­Jeffrey P. Bezos owns The Washington Post.)

When D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) journeyed to the Bay Area this month, she sought to keep the momentum going. During a three-day visit, she met with the chief executives of Yelp and Netflix, toured a next-generation Apple store, and rode in one of Uber’s new autonomous vehicles.

She sat across the table beaming as Yelp chief executive Jeremy Stoppelman said his $3.2bn company increasingly looks to Washington when it expands outside of the Bay Area.

“We’ve tried to pick places where people want to be,” Stoppelman said, sitting in the company’s boardroom at its headquarters here. “If you ask someone if they’d be interested in living in D.C., a lot of people say, ‘Oh, that’s an interesting place.’”

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The region has long been home to information technology contractors specializing in federal ­government work. But more recently, the District has become an ­outpost for name-brand new ­economy ­giants. It has the third-largest office of Uber and the ­second-largest presence of WeWork, the co-working office start-up. Yelp plans to add more than 500 jobs in the city over the next five years.

And the Washington area is in the hunt for the biggest prize yet: Amazon.com, which is considering the region as a location for its second headquarters, with as many as 50,000 employees. (Amazon founder ­Jeffrey P. Bezos owns The Washington Post.)

When D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) journeyed to the Bay Area this month, she sought to keep the momentum going. During a three-day visit, she met with the chief executives of Yelp and Netflix, toured a next-generation Apple store, and rode in one of Uber’s new autonomous vehicles.

She sat across the table beaming as Yelp chief executive Jeremy Stoppelman said his $3.2bn company increasingly looks to Washington when it expands outside of the Bay Area.

“We’ve tried to pick places where people want to be,” Stoppelman said, sitting in the company’s boardroom at its headquarters here. “If you ask someone if they’d be interested in living in D.C., a lot of people say, ‘Oh, that’s an interesting place.’”

Read full article