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Ryan: Had an awesome time at our Tech Madness Kickoff last night. I met some great people, got to talk with Sam, Harry Alford of Humble Ventures and Aaron Gregg from the Washington Post about some of the promising companies in this year’s bracket and then, yeah, we closed down the bar with some Fireball shots. 

Thanks again to our Tech Madness sponsors Zendesk, Justworks and the Georgetown University School of Continuing Studies for making the event possible, and to Votion for hosting our bracket.

Ryan: SPEAKING OF THE BRACKET…here it is in all its glory. 

The selection and seeding of the companies is based on a number of factors, including amount of funding raised, age, number of employees and insights from our editorial staff on trajectory, product and industry. You’ll find some familiar names and some brand new upstarts. Don’t count anyone out; last year 16-seed Spotluck made an improbable run to the championship.

So here’s how this works. Over the next few weeks we’ll have six rounds of voting, where you the readers weigh in on which company you think will be most valuable in five years. So Sam, who ya got?

Sam: Wow, OK, loaded question. For me, it all just depends on the market, but I do feel like—right now, at least—it’s gonna be a company that banks on data in some way, shape or form. My (Monopoly) money is on Xometry right now. It’s a 7 seed, but they did just close a $7M round in early February and as what they call an “Amazon for manufacturing,” the company’s clients include General Electric, NASA, the U.S. Army, and MIT Lincoln Laboratories.

But I also can see one of the newer edtech companies, like Real Time Cases or Interfolio, taking it, too. 

Ryan: Xometry definitely has some potential, as more small businesses have needs for high tech manufacturing and they serve as a platform to help find that.

My final four matchup is Optoro, Zoomdata, ParkMyCloud and Senseware, with Optoro and Zoomdata facing off in the final and Zoomdata taking home the title. Zoomdata’s data analytics and visualization has attracted the eye of investors like Goldman Sachs (to the tune of $25M) and In-Q-Tel, the venture arm of the CIA. So they’re my pick. Don’t @ me.


Sam: 1776 has officially hired New York-based Marvel Architects to design its permanent Brooklyn Navy Yard campus, according to a press release. The campus opened in the fall, and the new site will be on the top floor of Building 77 as the anchor tenant in the building that is currently undergoing renovations.

Ryan: Some news out of local coffee roaster Vigilante: the Hyattsville business is planning a second location in College Park. I talked with founder Chris Vigilante (real name) recently for my look at D.C.’s coffee scene. He was mum on the plans at the time but it comes at a time when other shops like Qualia, Swings and Dolcezza are all planning new locations around the area. 

Sam: CNBC unveiled its first Upstart 25, a list of quickly growing companies, earlier this week. On the list are two pretty big D.C. names: Cloudistics and Virtru, at 5 and 6, respectively. The list was compiled out of a list of 500 nominations.

Ryan: Oh, you mean Tech Madness Competitors Cloudistics and Virtru? Looks like we know how to pick ’em.

Sam: Ever thought about coding school? Want to meet some people IN REAL LIFE (????) and chat about it? Head on down to The Iron Yard‘s Open House tonight to learn more about the program and the ~ world of possibilities ~ there. All the details and more events in this week’s Inno Approved.

Ryan: I walk through Dupont/Golden Triangle every day and there’s something we really need to talk about: the Golden Triangle Business Improvement District (BID) Haiku contest. Every winter, the group takes submissions for their haiku contest and they put the winners on signs all around the Golden Triangle come spring. 

But…NONE OF THEM ARE HAIKUS. Ask pretty much anyone what a haiku is and they will tell you “a three line poem with 5-7-5 syllables.” Yet for some reason, all of the winning haikus in the Golden Triangle don’t seem to fit any sort of pattern! 

For instance…

Via Twitter @ruthyoest


Off to a strong start but then 6 and 3? What is this madness. 

Tweet me your best haikus or, more likely, your angry academic rants about how I’m probably wrong about the structure of haikus.


Ryan: Snap, the parent company of Snapchat, went public today and immediately jumped up to a $36B market cap driven by thirsty traders. With all the talk of whether the company can live up to the hype, I greatly appreciated this list that puts in perspective just how ludicrous that market cap is.

via Twitter @stevekopack 

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GM: Ryan Ferguson

Staff Writer: Sam Sabin

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