2016 is almost over, and it’s been an incredibly busy one for the D.C. area and its startup community. Now, as everyone breathes a sigh of relief at the end of the year and starts bracing themselves for the year to come, we thought we’d gather together 17 of the local startups to watch out for in the new year. Some have made headlines aplenty already, others are just now starting to gather attention. Whether or not they get their names splashed across front pages in 2017, they’ll be important to keep an eye on as we dive into 2017.
New Frontier Data
New Frontier data offers unique ways to apply data analytics to the legal marijuana industry. The company is gearing up for a busy year after recently closing a $5 million funding round. There are plans for multiple satellite offices, necessary in the wake of new states following D.C.’s lead in legalizing marijuana.
Founded this year by HelloWallet founder Matt Fellowes, United Income is creating digital financial planning tools for those getting close to, or who have already reached retirement. The company has already raised $5 million, $2 million directly from Morningstar, the investment research firm that paid $52.5 million to buy HelloWallet in 2014. Now, the startup is positioned to rapidly raise its profile and help people manage their finances as they get older.
Matt Greer and Tim McLaughlin have been quietly building an impressive reputation at Caboose Brewing in Virginia for the past two years. Now, they have a license to operate as a brewery and winery on-site and are working on scaling up beer production and adding cider to their offerings, potentially even other features like distilling, roasting coffee or some wholesale food.
Event marketing and management platform took things to the next level in 2016, handling events for a top athletic brand during the Rio Olympics and closing a $6.1 million funding round. It’s partnerships that bring high-tech experiences like hologram selfies, virtual golfing and drinks paired with individual music selections to events have brought no small list of clients. Thanks to the investment this year, the company has now pushed ahead with a reporting dashboard to integrate various relevant data sets and leap even more into the high-end international event space.
Axios is the new media company from former Politico execs Roy Schwartz, Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen. After working under the name Next Great Media Company, the company only recently unveiled the final decision. Whatever the final shape of Axios, there’s no doubt that everyone else in the media will watch closely to see how they get the public to “consume media more efficiently,” as Schwartz put it.
Cybersecurity startup PhishMe offers phishing threat management solutions against malware and other attacks, making it a hot commodity in the days of endless cybersecurity attacks. After the company raised $42.5 million this summer, it’s now capable of handling pretty much any size client. Phishing scams are so high profile now, after one allegedly let Russian hackers get Clinton campaign emails, PhishMe is a good bet to reap the benefits of decision makers being more aware of the dangers they help protect against.
Virtual and augmented reality developer NotionTheory has been coming up with new ways to use VR tech. Games, video conferences and other creative angles done with relatively low-cost. After getting attention for their virtual reality arcade this year, the company has a lot of exciting options lined up, talking to groups as varied as university oncology departments and major sales teams.
Real-time messaging and collaboration platform Brazen raised $4 million this fall, putting it in a good position for its next step in helping address talent shortages at companies and educational institutes by developing an API. The API will add a whole slew of new clients integrating Brazen’s software into their talent hunt. That client list is already at four figures, mostly companies with more than 1,000 employees, including more than 100 universities. Expect to see that number grow in 2017.
Zoomdata’s data visualization tools picked up investment this year from two huge names. Goldman Sachs all but threw $25 million at the company in February, and In-Q-Tel, the venture capitalist facet of the country’s intelligence community invested this fall. It now has a Silicon Valley office and is pushing ahead with its goal to make everyone a “big data expert.”
Ivy City’s Republic Restoratives is one of the largest crowdfunded distilleries in the United States, having raised $119,000 on Indiegogo in May. Having set a precedent for success, the distillery scored an early spot on Indiegogo’s equity crowdfunding platform, opening it up to all that that entails in terms of future growth and getting its products to a much larger market more quickly than it could if relying on revenue alone.
Moonlighting is the developer of a mobile app that serves as a marketplace where people can find small businesses and freelancers looking for short-term work in activities like gardening, graphic design, dog walking or even a wedding officiant. The startup closed a $2.3 million funding round led by some of the biggest media syndicates in the country this year, giving it a potential 200 million-person audience that it can strive for in 2017.
A year after beginning to brew, three of Aslin’s beers have made BeerAdvocate list of the world’s top 250 beers, beating every other local brewery. Though currently only selling beer from its tasting room, Aslin is working to sale up its production, setting up 2017 to be a year when a lot more people will get a chance to enjoy its brews.
In addition to opening several new stores in the District, &pizza raised $25 million funding round to boost its expansion this year. That funding sees it poised for new locations in new cities and a raised profile from features like full-service bars and, of course, its offer of free ampersand tattoos to employees.
Virtru’s encryption software earned it a $29 million funding round this year, which helped it get a major contract with Maryland to move emails to the cloud and keep them secure from hackers. With that test successful, 2017 will likely see even more interest in the company, even as it keeps its own program of free service to qualifying non-profits and charities.
Restaurant discovery and savings platform Spotluck had a very successful year, growing in D.C. and adding Philadelphia and Baltimore to its list of cities. In 2017, Spotluck will be looking to do the same in New York. If it’s impressive marketing campaigns (which helped it win DC Inno’s Tech Madness in March) are any indication, 2017 will be even more of a banner year for the company.
Shiplync, a platform for managing shipping logistics in real-time, is not a flashy startup, but it’s been quietly amassing an impressive system for carrying out large scale shipping more efficiently. In 2017, its process, which cuts down on hassles like paperwork and dealing with red tape, will offer an attractive option for companies in international commerce to turn to for an advantage.
Social enterprise startup GoodWorld raised a bunch of money this year, not only for itself but for the charities it works with, including $25,000 in a single tweet. In the next year, look for even more big money tweets and arrangements with new philanthropic causes, not to mention a probable new funding round.