Potomac Tech Wire - May 25, 2023
10 Local "Unicorn" Companies Cited in Recent Valuation Report
o 10 Local "Unicorn" Companies Cited in Recent Valuation Report
o DC-based Godspeed Capital Closes Second Fund with $250 Million
o Falls Church-based ConnectDER Raises $27 Million
o Michael Hoffmeyer Named Managing Director of Dingman Center
o Reston-based Agile Defense Acquires Annandale-based XOR Security
o Arlington-based Amify Raises $10 Million Investment
o Richmond-Based CoStar to Fund VCU Arts & Innovation Building
o Vienna's XTEND Acquires Performance Rotors
o Briefly Noted: Paladin Capital Group - Chris Inglis, AscentCore - Enterprise64 - Clutch Fast Growing Companies List, Validic - Trapollo, DMI - Rocky Thurston, NeoSystems - Brad Mitchell
10 Local "Unicorn" Companies Cited in Recent Valuation Report
Washington, DC – In a recent report, venture intelligence firm CB Insights lists 10 DC-area companies as unicorns – private, venture-backed companies with a valuation over $1 billion. The highest-ranked local company in the report was McLean-based Somatus, a kidney care management provider with an estimated valuation of $2.5 billion. The valuations were estimates as of April. The list is below:
Arlington-based supply chain technology company Interos ($1 billion).
DC-based public affairs software firm Morning Consult ($1 billion)
Herndon-based cybersecurity firm Expel ($1 billion)
DC-based AI defense firm Rebellion Defense ($1 billion)
DC-based restaurant chain Cava Group ($1.3 billion)
DC-based energy and climate tech firm Arcadia ($1.48 billion)
DC-based mobile retail savings app Upside ($1.5 billion)
McLean-based identification software firm ID.me ($1.5 billion)
Bethesda-based healthcare tech firm Aledade ($2.1 billion)
McLean-based kidney health firm Somatus ($2.5 billion)
Source: CB Insights (as of April 7, 2023)
At the top of the unicorn list globally was TikTok owner ByteDance ($225 billion); space company SpaceX ($137 billion); Chinese fast-fashion retailer SHEIN ($100 billion); fintech firm Stripe ($50 billion) and design software firm Canva ($40 billion). CB Insights said there are currently about 1,200 unicorn companies in the world.
DC-based Godspeed Capital Closes Second Fund with $250 Million
Washington, DC – Godspeed Capital Management, a DC-based private equity firm focused on the defense and government technology market, announced the closing of its newest fund with $250 million in commitments. The fund, called Godspeed Capital Investment Program II, will focus on lower middle-market firms in the defense and government sectors. Since its inception in 2021, Godspeed Capital has completed 16 acquisitions in three platforms – Stratus, an architectural and engineering firm; SilverEdge Government Solutions, a technology provider to intelligence agencies; and MOREGroup, an architecture and design group.
Falls Church-based Solar Technology Startup ConnectDER Raises $27 Million
Falls Church, Va. – Amid rapid growth in the residential solar, EV and energy storage markets, ConnectDER, a Falls Church-based developer of electrical connectors for homeowners using solar systems, announced that it has closed on $27 million in a Series C round. The round was led by Energy Innovation Capital (EIC), and included participation from LG Technology Ventures, Evergy Ventures, Riverstone, along with previous investors Skyview Ventures, Clean Energy Ventures, Avista Development and others. The company, which has its corporate headquarters in Falls Church and engineering operations in Philadelphia, bills its offering as a "plug & play" solar interconnection that can be installed in homes in one hour.
"We're blazing a technology path that will enable more people to switch to clean, safe, and resilient energy faster and at a dramatically lower cost," said founder and CEO Whit Fulton. "We've already demonstrated the fundamental value of our high reliability and lowest cost offering and this new round gives us the fuel we need to manufacture and deliver our game-changing technology."
Michael Hoffmeyer Named Managing Director of Dingman Center
College Park, Md. – The University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business has named Michael Hoffmeyer, a former entrepreneurship director at the University of Memphis, as the new managing director of the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship. Hoffmeyer has headed the University of Memphis' Crews Center for Entrepreneurship since 2013. He replaces Holly DeArmond, who stepped down last year to become executive director of the Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers. The Dingman Center has played a vital role in the region's technology sector for several decades, supporting startups through accelerators, pitch contests and its investor network, the Dingman Center Angels.
"The Dingman Center is pushing forth an ambitious strategic vision to create opportunities for UMD students, alumni and community by enhancing entrepreneurship opportunity that is inclusive and contributing broadly to the local, regional, and national entrepreneurship ecosystem. Michael comes perfectly equipped to enact this vision,” said Smith School Dean Prabhudev Konana.
Reston-based Agile Defense Acquires Annandale-based XOR Security
Chevy Chase, Md. – Agile Defense, a Reston-based digital services provider to the Department of Defence, announced that it has acquired XOR Security, an Annandale-based cybersecurity company focused on the federal government and commercial sector. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Agile Defense was acquired last year by Chevy Chase-based private equity firm Enlightenment Capital.
"The synergies between our firms made joining forces the right move, giving XOR additional access to the Defense and Intelligence markets, while supporting Agile Defense's delivery of Digital Transformation services throughout the Federal Civilian marketplace," said Razwan Raja, Founder and CEO of XOR Security.
Arlington-based Amify Raises $10 Million Investment
Arlington, Va. – Amify, an Arlington-based startup providing technology for advertising and selling on Amazon, has raised a $10 million investment. The round was led by the Mercury Fund, Cincy Tech, SAAS Ventures, and various angel investors. The company, which provides real-time monitoring on Amazon, helps retailers with optimization and advertising. The company also announced that Chris Mehrabi, who has been the company's chief product officer, will become CEO. Ethan McAfee, the founder and former CEO, has been named executive chairman.
"With Amazon becoming increasingly dominant, businesses are continually searching for ways to optimize their presence and remain ahead of the competition," the company said in an announcement about the funding. "Amify has been at the forefront of this trend, leveraging its innovative technology and an experienced team to assist companies of all sizes to maximize their e-commerce potential. Amify excels in leveraging its deep understanding of Amazon to deliver tactical excellence through real-time monitoring of pricing, advertising performance, and competitor activities."
Richmond-Based CoStar to Fund VCU Arts & Innovation Building
Richmond, Va. – CoStar Group, a Richmond-based provider of online real estate marketplaces, information and analytics, said it has made an $18 million commitment to support the development of Virginia Commonwealth University's planned Arts and Innovation Academic Building. The project, tentatively named the CoStar Center for Arts and Innovation, will consolidate VCU's School of the Arts and Innovation programs under one roof for the first time. The 213,000-square-foot multidisciplinary complex is expected to break ground in the fall and open to the public in early 2027.
Vienna's XTEND Acquires Performance Rotors
Vienna, Va. – XTEND, the Israeli developer of a human-guided autonomous operating system with U.S. headquarters in Vienna, said it has acquired Performance Rotors, a Singapore-based developer of drone technology used for inspections. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. XTEND said the move will bolster its ability to offer human-guided, remote interactive operations in a range of inspection scenarios and grow its global business.
(Washington, DC) Paladin Capital Group, the DC-based cybersecurity investment firm, has named Chris Inglis, the former U.S. National Cyber Director, as a strategic advisor. Inglis served as the first-ever National Cyber Director under the Biden Administration. Previously, he served as managing director at Paladin for seven years.
(Washington, DC) Clutch, the DC-based B2B services marketplace, included two local companies on its list of the top 100 fastest-growing companies on its platform. The two companies are: Reston-based AscentCore (ranked 30th) and Bethesda-based Enterprise64 (ranked 49th)
(Herndon, Va.) Validic, a North Carolina-based digital health and personalized care company, said it has acquired the assets of Herndon-based Trapollo, a developer of connected health tools designed to help healthcare organizations care for patients at home, from owner Cox Communications. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Cox acquired Trapollo in 2015.
(Bethesda, Md.) DMI, a Bethesda-based provider of on-site and remote client support, has named Rocky Thurston to succeed founder Sunny Bajaj as CEO. Bajaj, who has been CEO since 2002, will remain on the company's board. Thurston was named DMI's chief operating officer (COO) in Jan. 2022, and has since played a key role in the acquisition and integration of three complementary businesses, including, most recently, Simplex Mobility. Thurston previously held leadership positions at Peraton, Accenture and Lockheed Martin, among others.
(Reston, Va) NeoSystems, a Reston-based outsourcer, IT systems integrator and managed services provider to the government contracting market, has named Brad Mitchell as its new president and CEO. He succeeds co-founder Michael Tinsley, who will become chairman of the board. Mitchell most recently served as the company's senior vice president of professional services and product development.