In covering the D.C. innovation economy comes the inevitable: funding news. Trust us, there’s a lot of it floating around the D.C. metro area, and we cover it everyday in our daily newsletter, The Beat. Here’s a roundup of all of the major funding news from the region in March:
D.C. food startup PlumRelish raised an additional $650,000 funding round led by Boston-based Indie.vc, as reported by The Washington Business Journal on March 1. About $500,000 came from Indie.vc, while the remainder came from other investors. The new funding will go towards helping PlumRelish reach profitability — which they estimate they’ll hit once they’re delivering between 600 to 1,000 lunches a day.
D.C.-based Lavrock Ventures has closed its first fund at $25 million, according to a report in VentureBeat on March 2. The plan is to invest in early-stage startups focused on enterprise software, cybersecurity and national security, but, even before the first fund closed, Lavrock was investing in a handful of companies. Founded in 2016, Lavrock counts New York-based Graphika and Annapolis, Md.-based Sixgen, among others, as portfolio companies.
Upskill can now add Accenture and Cisco to its list of notable investors. On March 6, the enterprise augmented reality startup announced a $17.2 million capital raise to support its growth and product development plans. Both Accenture and Cisco’s investment arms were a part of the round, along with existing investors Boeing Horizon, GE Ventures, New Enterprise Associates and others.
Maryland-based cybersecurity startup Bandura Systems closed a $3.5 million seed round, according to a press release on March 7. Investors included Blu Ventures, Gula Tech Adventures, the Maryland Tech Development Corp. (TEDCO), Prosper Women Entrepreneurs (PWE), SixThirty, SixThirty Cyber and UMB Financial Corporation. The new funding will be used to expand the executive team and for future product developments. Bandura Systems also announced a new dual headquarters location in Missouri. Columbia, Maryland will house the company’s business HQ, and Lake St. Louis, Missouri will house its engineering HQ.
Robotic VISION Technologies
Silver Spring, Md.-based robotics company Robotics VISION Technologies closed its first funding round at $10.5 million. The company develops a suite of robots who are able to “see,” or have vision capabilities, primarily for manufacturing companies. The investment comes from “a mix of CEO and director funding, as well as investments from technology funds from Silicon Valley, Northern Virginia, Canada and Germany.” The sole named investor is Ric Edelman, the founder and executive chairman of Edelman Financial Services, an investment management firm with $22 billion in assets under management.
- Fairfax, Va.-based OB1 raised a $5 million Series A round, the company announced on March 13. OMERS Ventures led the round and participating investors include Bitmain, Andreessen Horowitz, Unique Square Ventures, BlueYard Capitaland Digital Currency Group. OB1 built OpenBazaar, an online marketplace that allows users to buy and sell goods and services online using bitcoins.
According to The Washington Business Journal on March 19, D.C. startup Remodelmate already has $100,000 committed for a $420,000 funding round to fuel its growth. Founded in March 2016 by Chad Hall, Remodelmate is an online platform designed to connect homeowners with contractors who are verified and recruited by the startup.
- Balitmore’s Dracen Pharm closed a $40 million Series A round on March 23, with Deerfield Management leading the round. Deerfield put up $36 million of the round, and the funds will be used for clinical trials for the startup’s cancer programs. Founded in 2017, Dracen Pharma is working on developing cancer treatments based on research from Barbara Slusher and Jonathan Powell at Johns Hopkins University.
Iggbo, a Richmond, Va.-based health tech startup, has rebranded to Workpath, reorganized its executive suite and brought in $1.5 million in private equity funding as of March 27. Formerly a healthcare startup, Workpath has now fully transitioned into being a tech platform, with the goal of selling the technology it used in its former product offerings. Eddie Peloke has replaced Nuno Valentine as CEO.
McLean, Va. cybersecurity provider ZP Group closed a Series C funding round for an undisclosed amount, the company announced on March 27. New funding will be used for product improvements, office expansions and hiring.