Each day, DC Inno is keeping tabs on all of the moves in the D.C. tech, startup and innovation communities. We’re chronicling who enters a market, who leaves it and, most important, how a startup decides to exit, whether through IPO, merger and acquisition or shutdown.
We hit on all of these moves in our daily newsletter, The Beat, but for those who missed a news item in 2017, we got your covered. Below is the close-to-definitive list of companies that shutdown, merged, got acquired or made an acquisition themselves.
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- Medium DC Office: On Jan. 4, San Francisco-based content publisher Medium shut down its D.C. office and laid off 50 people — or a third of the total Medium staff. Layoffs mostly affected the sales, support and other business teams. In a Medium post, CEO Ev Williams wrote, “While we could continue on our current path — and there is a business case for doing so — we decided that we risk failing on our larger, original mission if we don’t make some proactive changes while we have the momentum and resources to do so.”
- Shift: SF-based P2P car sales platform Shift paused its D.C. operations on Jan. 25 until it closes a dealer license with Hertz. With the pause, the company laid off 10 percent of its staff nationwide. The company rode into Northern Virginia in January 2016 with plans to invest $20 million into hiring new engineers and technicians. A Shift spokesperson said at the time that the pause is a part of Shift’s plan to restructure its business to sell automobiles from Hertz’s inventory, and only a handful of layoffs occurred in D.C.
- Bridj D.C. Operations: Boston startup Bridj, which operated in the D.C. metro area, shutdown on May 1 after a deal with a major car dealer went through, sister site BostInno reported. Bridj offered shuttle rides in D.C. that allows riders to schedule rides and get picked up in a Wi-Fi enabled shuttle. In a letter on its site, Bridj CEO and founder Matt George said, “This is sad and frustrating for all of us, but I firmly believe that letting pride and hope continue to push us forward in this situation would create an unacceptable level of risk for employees, investors, and customers.”
- The Iron Yard: Coding school The Iron Yard shut down all of its locations, including its D.C. campus. The Iron Yard plans to finish out all of its summer courses, including the student Demo Day and four-weeks of post-course career support, before shutting down completely on Oct. 13. The Iron Yard put its roots down in D.C. in late 2014, and its campus just moved to a new space downtown in December.
- Enterprise CarShare Program: Enterprise announced on July 6 it would be closing its CarShare program in six markets, including D.C.; however, the service will still be available to universities and businesses that rely on it. The program allowed members to rent a car by the hour, day or overnight.
- DCist: As of Nov. 2, DCist is no longer. The site shut down abruptly and without warning, turning the homepage into a letter from the CEO of Gothamist, DCist’s parent company, for about 24 hours after the shutdown. The shutdown came one week after the New York City staffs at both companies, Gothamist and DNAinfo, voted to unionize. The New York Times reports that 115 journalists are now out of jobs in all markets, including D.C., Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
The Merged and Acquired
- Invincea: Fairfax, Va.,-based cybersecurity firm Invincea was sold to UK-based Sophos for $100 million in early February. The acquisition timing was weird, seeing as Invincea had just raised a $10 million round in November, the company was valued at $130 million and it was suspected to be on track to IPO in the next year. “I’ll tell you, the best time to sell is when you’re at high velocity, high momentum. The worst time to sell is when you’re out of cash,” founder Anup Ghosh told me at the time of the acquisition.
- CEB: Arlington IT analysis giant CEB was acquired by Connecticut-based Gartner, Inc., for a not-so-shabby $2.6 billion on Jan. 5.
- Fishbowl: On Jan. 27, Fortune’s Term Sheet reported that Alexandria, Va.-based Fishbowl, Inc., a marketing analytics platform for the restaurant industry, was acquired by Palo Alto-based private equity firm Symphony Technology Group. Fishbowl had raised $19 million in venture funding since its founding in 2000.
- Information Innovators: Fairfax, Va.-based Salient CRGT, a data analytics, software development, cybersecurity and infrastructure solutions provider, acquired Springfield, Va.,-based Information Innovators for an undisclosed amount on Feb. 6. Information Innovators is a mission-driven tech company that usually works with the federal government and specializes in healthcare IT services, and the acquisition allows Salient to expand its healthcare and cloud services. According to a press release, the deal brings Salient’s annual revenue up to $500 million, an increase of about $200 million for the company.
- ServicePower: Diversis Capital completed its take-private acquisition of McLean, Va.-based ServicePower, a provider of workforce management software, on Feb. 13. The deal was valued at just under $19 million.
- nvite: D.C.-based event tech startup nvite was acquired by San Francisco’s Eventbrite. Nvite CEO Martin Ringlein confirmed on March 31. The relatively small nvite was one of many event tech startups that have found a home in the D.C. metro area in recent years. Marty Ringlein’s company came on the scene around 2013, and the software is used by a number of DC Tech members to host and share their events. Nvite raised a $1 million seed round in 2014 led by Paul Singh’s Crystal Tech Fund.
- Parking Panda: Baltimore’s Parking Panda was acquired by Chicago’s SpotHero on April 13. Parking Panda had raised $4.73 million and established over 800 event partnerships, including deals with several NHL, NFL, MLB and NBA teams. The acquisition beefs up SpotHero’s East Coast presence.
- EverFi: D.C. edtech company EverFi acquired Austin-based Workplace Answers, an online compliance training developer for an undisclosed amount, on April 21. The acquisition includes Workplace Answers’ Campus Answers brand, which provided online faculty and staff training on campus issues like sexual harassment prevention training. The now combined companies will serve over 1,700 campuses. Prior to being acquired, Workplace Answers raised venture funding from the likes of RHV Capital and The Operand Group.
- 2U: 2U, the publicly-traded Lanham, Md.-based education technology company, acquired Cape Town, South Africa-based online education startup GetSmarter for $103 million, on May 2. GetSmarter offers online short courses (not to be confused with MOOCs) to working professionals in partnership with institutions like the University of Cambridge, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and HarvardX. Since its inception, the startup has served more than 50,000 students, with 88 percent of them completing the courses.
- Distil Networks: Distil Networks acquired Detroit-based Are You A Human, a startup focused on analyzing and understanding how humans interact with the Internet, according to a company press release on May 18. Are You A Human analyzes real-time interaction data, such as how your mouse moves, what your scroll patterns look like, combined with longitudinal data and fingerprinting metric to determine if your website’s visitors are humans or bots. With the acquisition, Distil plans to integrate the startup’s real-time human detection technology and interaction dataset into the Distil Bot Defense Platform.
- Deloitte: Deloitte made a strong move for its federal contracting arm on June 6. The company announced they have acquired Austin, Tx.-based innoWake, which brings the ability to translate software code, data and applications to Deloitte. InnoWake is being folded into Deloitte’s Application Modernization service, according to a press release. InnoWake’s software is particularly helpful for Deloitte’s federal contracting arm. The federal government currently relies on COBOL-based technology (i.e., “common business-oriented language”) for most of its HR functions. However, no one really teaches COBOL anymore, with about 50 percent of all COBOL-certified workers being over the age of 50. InnoWake is designed to translate COBOL into a new, more commonly known language—thus, now, giving Deloitte an advantage in its further endeavor.
- Split: Remember ride-sharing company Split? The company used to offer low-cost rides inside D.C. before shutting down its operations in September and made the transition to being a transportation-related software company. Now, as reported in The Washington Post on June 2, the company sold itself to Volkswagen Group-affiliated transportation software company MOIA. MOIA is looking to revolutionize ride-sharing, commuting and how people travel. “This is an incredibly exciting day for us, as it represents a road forward for us with a fantastic partner who shares our ambitions to make cities better by providing cutting-edge transportation solutions,” Split CEO Ario Keshani said in a Medium post. “The Split team will be working as part of MOIA in the coming years to continue innovating and pushing the envelope on the future of transportation.”
- EZShield: Private-equity firm The Wicks Group of Companies acquired Forest Hill, Md. identify theft protection company EZShield from EdgeStone Capital Partners on April 5. The New York-based Wicks Group invests in middle-to-late stage information, education and media companies.
- FiscalNote: Washington, D.C.-based FiscalNote acquired Baton Rouge, Louisiana-based VoterVoice on July 31. The government analytics startup plans to bring in the entire company’s 24 employees and 1,100 clients into FiscalNote.
- Measure: Washington, D.C.-based Measure, a B2B drone company, acquired Pilatus Unmanned on Aug. 3. Doing so allows Measure to expand the company’s drone engineering and equipment capabilities, add new leadership and a new design facility to its mix in Huntington Beach, Calif. Josh Kornoff, Pilatus Unmanned’s CEO, will now lead Measure’s engineering team in Huntington Beach as a part of the acquisition. The news comes after Measure closed a $15 million funding round in January.
- Search Technologies: Accenture acquired Herndon, Va.-based technology service firm Search Technologies on Aug. 4. The terms for the deal were not disclosed. Search Technologies’ 200-person team will be joining Accenture, according to a press release.
- Omniplex: Reston, Va.-based Constellis acquired Chantilly, Va.-based Omniplex, which provides protective and investigative services to government and commercial customers, on Aug. 15. No financial terms were disclosed.
- Personal: Personal, a D.C.-based data privacy company, is merging with London-based digi.me, according to an announcement on Aug. 17. Personal has been backed by both Revolution Ventures and Monumental Sports & Entertainment owner Ted Leonsis. Under the merger, most of Personal’s 22 employees will be folded into digi.me. Personal’s enterprise data privacy business will be spun out into its own separate company called TeamData.
- RedOwl: Baltimore, Md.-based security analytics company RedOwl was acquired by Forcepoint on Aug. 29. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. RedOwl raised more than $21 million in venture funding from investors such as In-Q-Tel, Blackstoneand Conversion Capital. RedOwl’s teams will be merged with Forcepoint, and it’s not clear how many employees will be transferred over in the move. Forcepoint is a division of cyber firm Raytheon.
- RainKing: Bethesda, Md.-based sales intelligence provider RainKing was acquired by DiscoverOrg, a portfolio company of TA Associates, according to a press release on Aug. 29. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. RainKing raised about $67 million in funding from Spectrum Equity prior to the deal. Each company has ranked on the Inc. 5000 list multiple times.
- Masquerade: D.C.-based startup Masquerade was acquired by D.C.-based consignment shop SnobSwap, according to an email press release on Sept. 6. Masquerade provided a one-stop shop for consumers who wanted to sell apparel and accessories across different sites and platforms. Masquerade’s tech will be absorbed into SnobSwap’s existing e-commerce platforms.
- Baltimore Sound Engineering: Baltimore Sound Engineering was acquired by Corbett Technology Solutions on Sept. 7. Baltimore Sound was a Baltimore, Md.-based maker of solutions for communication systems. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
- Surefire Local: Tysons Corner-based digital marketing platform Surefire Local acquired Sequoia IMS, according to reports on Sept. 11. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the deal will add more than 400 customers and about a dozen employees to Surefire’s roster.
- Kesala: Columbia, Md.-based company Kesala was acquired by Silent Circle, according to a press release on Sept. 14. Kesala, which gained initial startup support from DataTribe, created the product GoSilent, a compact mobile firewall. The product fits in nicely with Silent Circle’s existing product suite: security products for desktops, laptops, servers, mobile phones and IoT devices.
- TeamPeople: It looks like Falls Church, Va.-based TeamPeople was acquired by Pittsburgh-based System One, according to reports on Sept. 18. TeamPeople, which specialized in staffing in the multimedia industry, will be known as “TeamPeople Division of System One.” Financial terms were not disclosed.
- InfoZen: A Northern Virginia company has acquired Bethesda, Md.-based InfoZen for $180 million in cash on Sept. 19. Herndon, Va.-based government contractor ManTech International Corp. acquired the company, which is also a government contractor. InfoZen will add 300 employees to ManTech’s company, including CEO Raj Ananthanpillai. ManTech’s president said he didn’t anticipate layoffs in the merger.
- Vivabox: Gaithersburg, Md.-based Vivabox was acquired by Lion Equity Partners on Sept. 20. Vivabox provides products and services for the sample and subscription box industry. Financial terms were not disclosed.
- CIS Secure Computing: Dulles, Va.-based CIS Secure Computing, a provider of computing and communication solutions for government and commercial customers, has been acquired by private equity firm Acorn Growth, according to a press release on Sept. 26. Financial terms for the deal were not disclosed.
- Xebec: McLean, Virginia-based Xebec, a provider of human intelligence solutions and services to businesses in the Intelligence Community, was acquired by DC private equity firm Arlington Capital Partners on Oct. 3. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
- Aurora Flight Science Corporation: A Manassas, Va.-based company was scooped up by Boeing on Oct. 6. Aurora Flight Science Corporation was acquired for an undisclosed sum. Aurora is a developer and manufacturer of advanced aerospace platforms, specializing in autonomous systems tech. Aurora has 550 employees across six different locations, and once the deal goes through, Aurora will simply be a subsidiary of Boeing.
- Avizia: Avizia announced on Oct. 10 that it will acquire Seattle-based Carena, a competitor in the telemedicine space. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Avizia will still be headquartered in Reston, and it plans to have a Seattle office. Ralph Derrickson, Carena’s president and CEO, will become Avizia’s senior vice president of corporate development.
- 1776: On Oct. 16, 1776 and Benjamin’s Desk made their merger official. The two entities would stay under the 1776 brand with Benjamin’s Desk leadership taking over the two co-CEO roles. 1776 co-founder Evan Burfield is now the executive chairman, and he is the CEO of UNION, a software startup that spun out of 1776.
- Booz Allen Hamilton: In an attempt to expand its commercial business, Booz Allen Hamilton acquired Cincinnati-based tech firm Morphick on Oct. 20. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Morphick employs about 40 people, and the company closed a $10 million funding round about a year ago.
- BroadSoft: Gaithersburg, Md.-based BroadSoft entered an agreement to be bought by Cisco, the two companies announced on Oct. 23. In a $1.9 billion all-cash deal, Cisco has access to all of BroadSoft’s small-to-medium sized clients, a plus for the company that mostly features large company clientele. Cisco plans to add BroadSoft technology to its existing “Cisco Spark” product, if the deal goes through.
- Arlington, Va.-based mPower Health, a mobile technology provider for life sciences companies, was acquired by Wayne, Pa.-based Bracket, according to a press release on Oct. 25. Bracket provides tech and speciality services for clinical trials. Both technology products are aimed at digitizing clinical trials.
- Logi Analytics: McLean, Va.-based Logi Analytics was acquired by private equity firm Marlin Equity Partners, according to a press release on Oct. 27. Logi will remain a privately held company, and it will be able to leverage Marlin’s resources to continue to grow. Marlin specifically invests in growing software companies. Logi produces embed analytics technology to make it easier to analyze and share data.
- Strayer University: Herndon, Va.-based Strayer University is merging with Minneapolis-based online university Capella Education in a $1.9 billion all-stock deal as of Oct. 30. Once the merger is complete, the merged entity will be known as Strategic Education Inc., but both institutions will continue to operate independently. Strategic Education will be based in Herndon, Va.
- ICF: Fairfax, Va.-based ICF, a consulting and digital services provider, acquired The Future Customer, a London-based boutique loyalty strategy and marketing company, on Dec. 15. The acquisition, announced Thursday, is expected to close by the end of the year. Once completed, The Future Customer will work with ICF Olson’s 1-to-1 loyalty practice program.