DC daily roundup: the DMV’s VC cooldown, SmartSigns for safer driving; Rep. Schiff’s AI copyright bill

Plus, $60 million for a Reston firm.

The Washington Monument on a cloudy day. (Robb Hill for

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DC VC cools in Q1

After an astonishing year-end total, Q1 was a quieter quarter for venture capital in Washington, with the lowest deal count in a decade.

In DC proper, $49 million was invested through 12 deals. Virginia saw $603 million, through 41 deals, and Maryland saw $304 million through 31 deals. The top regional deals of this quarter were in healthcare, energy and information technology.

The quiet quarter isn’t just a DC situation: The rest of the country also had a calmer few months.

➡️ Get the details on the latest regional venture capital trends here.

New traffic signs detect distracted driving

The SmartSign, a new traffic safety device, aims to make driving safer in the district. The signs sense whether a driver is on their phone, not wearing a seatbelt or driving too fast. The tech just launched in DC, with devices attached to a mobile trailer unit and placed along some of the most dangerous roads in the city.

“The goal of these trailers is to provide instantaneous feedback to motorists so that they have that opportunity to make a better choice,” the director of the DC Highway Safety Office told me.

➡️ Learn about how the SmartSign works in my latest report.

News Incubator: What else to know today

• Delaware tech leaders met with the Biden administration at the White House to discuss federal funding for local projects. []

• Reston software engineering firm Raft LLC landed more than $60 million in new funding from an Arlington investment firm. [Washington Biz Journal]

• Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) introduced a bill that would require companies to outline copyrighted materials used to develop AI models. It’s garnered support from groups like the Writers Guild of America and the Screen Actors Guild. [The Verge]

• Pava LaPere, the CEO and cofounder of EcoMap Technologies who was murdered in 2023, is being honored through a new a building-sized tribute and a national fellowship. []

• The Gaithersburg-based telecom service provider GL Communications Inc. has designed a new tool for analyzing data in IP networks [GL Communications]

🗓️ On the Calendar

• Unstuck Labs hosts its “Unstuck Tuesday” pitch feedback sessions weekly. The next date is April 16.  [Details here]

• The Women in Tech DC conference takes place from May 15 to 16. It will feature more than 70 expert-led sessions, networking and a career advice hub. [Details here]

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