When the general public and even techies think of tech startups and where the geographical hot spots are for the industry, Northern Virginia, also referred to as NOVA, doesn’t always come to mind. Most people think – naturally – of San Francisco, the home of Silicon Valley, a place where techies get big and profit big. But the Bay Area in Northern California isn’t the only place for tech startups.

Indeed, NOVA is now well-known, at least among techies, as the Silicon Valley of the East Coast, a place where many IT companies, such as DNS Made Easy (!), as well as other types of startups have set up shop and are also making it big. In addition, this is a place where interesting and innovative people are coming together and shaking up the IT world.

AOL recognizes the potential, the intellectual capital, to be found in the Northern Virginia region, and offers startups an opportunity to work in an amazing office surrounded by enormous forests. Their site – Fishbowl Labs – offers aggressive and vivacious, innovative and creative entrepreneurs the chance to build and expand their incubatory business ideas. Located right near Dulles, VA – and not far from the famous and stylish Dulles Airport – AOL Fishbowl Labs is a place to meet other entrepreneurs in an open work space.

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Photo Credit: Angela B. Pan

In order to even be considered as an applicant, you must have already raised $250,000 in startup funds. If you are lucky enough to be chosen to work at AOL Fishbowl Labs, it is clear that the benefits are enormous. According to the website, you get “direct access to some of AOL’s greatest people that work on designing, engineering, and distributing AOL’s content and products to over 250,000,000 people.” With that sort of reach to such an enormous population, not to mention working with amazing folks from AOL’s top talent, it is no wonder that AOL Fish Bowl Labs is high on the list for DC metro startups.

For further information on applying to Fish Bowl labs, visit their application site here.

You can follow them on twitter @FishbowlLabs.