Each year, we publish our own list of the local startups to watch in the coming year. Now, D.C. area VCs and investors are weighing in.

DC Inno reached out to a handful of local investors asking them to send a list of the startups they’re watching. Some, of course, the investor has already invested in. Below is a recount of what each investor said, verbatim from our email conversations.

So, without further adieu, here are the local startups the DMV’s VCs and investors are watching in 2018—

Nick Gillette, analyst at SWaN & Legend Venture Partners:

Nick Gillette, analyst at SWaN & Legend

Mars Reel (Portfolio company) 

“Next-gen media company out of L.A. focused on millennial mobile content for high school sports, originally from the DMV area. Just finishing their Series A financing with some very strategic investors. Met them 2+ years ago, they’ve made some incredible progress since then, and I love what these guys have in store moving forward.”

Editor’s Note: While Mars Reel is currently based in Los Angeles, the company’s founders are born and bred in the D.C. metro area. 

Real Time Cases (not an investment, but affiliated with)

“D.C.-based edtech company attempting to improve higher education by cultivating real-time content from executive teams at companies of all shapes and sizes, and then publishing that content as interactive case studies for students across the nation. Really innovative platform in today’s education space, with exciting growth plans for these next couple years.”

Katie Kiewel, principal at 1776 Ventures

Katie Kiewel, 1776 Ventures principal

Quorum (Not an investment)

“Quorum is heading into 2018 with significant momentum after launching three new products and doubling its number of employees in 2017. The startup remains 100 percent bootstrapped and offers the only software solution for monitoring federal, state, and local governments as well as the European Union, in addition to being fully integrated with grassroots advocacy and CRM tools.”

Vite.Money (1776 Member)

“Anyone in D.C. looking to jump on the crypto train should know Christian Duffus, founder of Vite.Money. As a former fintech entrepreneur and ex-Goldman Sachs executive, Christian is leveraging his experience to build Vite.Money, a new web-service that enables anyone to invest their spare change into a diversified portfolio of the top cryptocurrencies.”

VEDA Data Solutions (1776/Medstar Innovation Lab Cohort) 

“VEDA is a dashboard-free machine learning and AI solution working with health insurers and systems to increase data accuracy through automation. In 2017, VEDA saw a number of highlights from being The 2017 Vinetta Project Venture Challenge Winner to closing their Seed round. After the most recent capital injection, I am excited to see how they execute and grow in 2018.”

Rize (Not an investment)

“Rize raised $2.9 million in seed funding and are expected to raise a Series A round in 2018. Rize allows consumers to save automatically for personalized goals in one place (while earning 1.16 percent interest), while giving consumers the option to make long-term investments in a unique portfolio of cash, stocks and bonds.”

MPOWER Financing (1776 portfolio company) 

“MPOWER Financing offers student loans to high potential U.S. and international students who are neglected by the current U.S. lending market. MPOWER is expected to significantly increase its loan portfolio growth and expansion in 2018 due to new strategic partnerships.”

Ashley Larson, vice president at Revolution Growth

Ashley Larson, VP at Revolution Growth

Expel (Not an investment)

“Expel is led by a seasoned management team of cybersecurity experts, including CEO Dave Merkel, who were responsible for building the technology and services that accounted for the majority of Mandiant’s revenue when it was acquired by FireEye for $1 billion in 2014. The company takes a unique approach to fix some of the most persistent issues in cybersecurity for enterprise customers including (a) too many confusing security products delivering too many inconsequential alerts; (b) not enough security talent to appropriately prioritize alerts and manage risk; and (c) deficiencies of legacy managed service providers such as poor customer engagement and outdated technology platforms.”

Virtru (Not an investment)

“Historically, enterprises and individuals have been forced to choose between data protection and ease of use in selecting tools to secure sensitive information like emails and documents. Virtru’s platform allows users anywhere, on any device to work the way they do today, with no new log-in information, user interfaces, downloads, or applications, required to seamlessly protect and control data as organizations move to the cloud. Personal privacy depends on the businesses, governments, and institutions that hold our information; making this data easier to protect benefits us all.”

Distil Networks (Not an investment)

“Website bot attacks have led to some of the world’s most catastrophic security breaches in recent years, and have been insufficiently addressed by solutions like catchpas. The Distil team pioneered bot mitigation in 2011 and has been leading the way ever since; in fact, its analysts have more years of experience fighting bad bots than competing bot defense products have been in existence. The combined forces of a newly appointed CEO Tiffany Jones, a rockstar veteran cybersecurity executive, with its highly talented technical co-founder Rami Essad is sure to be a winning combination.”

Patrick Conroy, vice president at Revolution Growth

Patrick Conroy, Revolution Growth VP

Cava Grill (Portfolio company) 

“A hometown hero and emerging leader nationally in the ‘better for you, Mediterranean culinary’ space. Look out for continued growth in new markets (expanding from the DMV, NY Metro, and SoCal into Boston, North Carolina, Austin and beyond). In addition to an already strong footprint of restaurants and CPG outlets, CAVA is focusing on bringing its delicious food to customers in new and exciting formats this year.”