Rachel Haot, now the former chief digital officer for New York State under Governor Andrew Cuomo, announced today she has started in a new role as managing director for 1776, a global incubator and venture fund.
“I saw 1776 as the ideal intersection of tech and government, two things I’m very passionate about,” Haot says. “The thing I really like about 1776 is it focuses on technology that will change the world. That resonates with me. I’m very passionate about helping organizations modernize, and that’s at core of 1776 does.”
Haot was named one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People in business in 2011 when she was New York City’s first-ever chief digital officer. There, she was the driving force behind a number of forward-thinking initiatives to bring the city’s digital efforts into the 21st century. She overhauled NYC.gov, spurred the creation of new apps for the city, and brought Wi-Fi to public parks, among other victories. In 2013, Haot was hired by Cuomo’s office, where she helped spearhead a $1 billion plan to bring high-speed Internet to all New Yorkers and led efforts to modernize education throughout the state.
As a venture fund, 1776 focuses specifically on uncovering and supporting startups that have the potential to tackle some of the world’s most pressing challenges in industries like education, health, and energy. For example, one of its startups, CancerIQ, uses data to help cancer patients to understand best practices and treatment outcomes. 1776 hopes Haot’s extensive experience in government will help its startups navigate governmental landscapes. “Rachel’s hands-on, insider expertise in how governments think and operate will give our members and portfolio companies a leg up on scaling,” said Donna Harris, 1776 cofounder and co-CEO.
1776 is based in Washington, D.C., but Haot says she’ll remain in New York in her new role. “New York City is at an incredible moment,” she says. “I will be staying in New York because I believe in it as a technology hub. I think it’s now acknowledged as a leading tech community in the world, and I want to help support that further.”