For 15 years, David Zipper has shaped strategies for cities to catalyze economic growth through innovation and new technologies. His perspective on urban development is rooted in his experiences working within city hall as well as being a venture capitalist, policy researcher, and startup advocate.
David is currently the Managing Director for Smart Cities and Mobility at 1776, a global entrepreneurial hub with over 1,300 member startups concentrated in life-critical sectors like transportation, smart cities, energy, health, and education. David oversees 1776’s work in transportation and smart cities, including ventures investments in startups and the establishment of over $3 million in partnerships with groups including the City of Pittsburgh, Cisco, Smart Dubai, Uber, and the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority.
He has organized many programs connecting city leaders and entrepreneurs, including the Startups and the Smart City Challenge workshop with US Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.
David previously served as the Director of Business Development and Strategy within the mayor's office in Washington DC under mayors Vincent Gray and Adrian Fenty. In that role his responsibilities included attracting technology businesses to Washington, promoting entrepreneurship, and overseeing the city’s economic development strategy. Under his leadership the city created the DC Tech Incentives program and launched the city's first startup incubators.
David holds an MBA with highest honors from Harvard Business School, an M.Phil in Land Economy (urban planning) from the University of Cambridge, and a BA with high honors from Swarthmore College. While attending Swarthmore he co-founded Empowered Painters, a business that trained inner-city Philadelphia residents to work as house painters in the suburbs. He has been selected as a Truman Scholar, Gates Scholar, and Lang Scholar.