Skip to Content

This Incubator Wants to Help Startups Cope with Tough Regulations

Rachel Haot of 1776 says that by spending time with government officials, entrepreneurs can learn to navigate red tape.
October 19, 2016

If you’re building a new social network, creating a tech-enabled food delivery business, or developing an artificial-intelligence translation tool, there aren’t many demanding rules to adhere to. But if your startup deals with issues such as health care, finance, or education, things can be rather more difficult.

“Because [these industries are] so essential to human needs, government is involved,” explained Rachel Haot, managing director of the startup incubator 1776, speaking at EmTech MIT 2016 on Wednesday. By necessity, that leads to regulation. “Government has to protect the rights and safety of people,” Haot said.

Rachel Haot, right, speaks with MIT Technology Review's editor in chief, Jason Pontin.

Problem is, startups are often naive about this: they may have a good idea, but they can be unaware of onerous rules that sometimes make implementation difficult. Haot says 1776 can help by offering guidance to startups navigating heavily regulated areas.

She points to procurement—the formal process through which large organizations and governments purchase products and services—as a good example of an area where her organization can help. Meant to prevent corruption and reduce risk, the rules around procurement are intended to give the buyer assurance that a given company won’t go out of business before delivering the promised product or service.

“These requirements can be so onerous that startups that could provide a better, cheaper service may not be able to enter the procurement process,” Haot said.

To overcome such problems, 1776 has eschewed the traditional incubator model, Haot said, and instead views itself as sort of a “college campus.” It offers entrepreneurs and innovators from large institutions the chance to network with government officials and learn about the regulations that are most relevant to them.

That way, the company hopes, red tape may no longer seem quite so burdensome.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

computation concept
computation concept

How AI is reinventing what computers are

Three key ways artificial intelligence is changing what it means to compute.

still from Embodied Intelligence video
still from Embodied Intelligence video

These weird virtual creatures evolve their bodies to solve problems

They show how intelligence and body plans are closely linked—and could unlock AI for robots.

conceptual illustration showing various women's faces being scanned
conceptual illustration showing various women's faces being scanned

A horrifying new AI app swaps women into porn videos with a click

Deepfake researchers have long feared the day this would arrive.

pig kidney transplant surgery
pig kidney transplant surgery

Surgeons have successfully tested a pig’s kidney in a human patient

The test, in a brain-dead patient, was very short but represents a milestone in the long quest to use animal organs in human transplants.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.