DC daily roundup: Equitable innovation growth; Millions for gun detection and battery R&D; Y Combinator policy head talks AI

Plus, a Silicon Valley firm scoops up a local health tech company.

The US Treasury Building in DC. (Sameer Rao/

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Baltimore (and DC) can grow with or without EDA funds

Five days before the EDA announced its decision for Phase 2 tech hub funding, economic leaders from the region used The Baltimore Region Investment Summit, to stress the area’s potential for innovation possibilities.

After the announcement, leaders said building Baltimore into a leading tech hub is still doable without this federal funding. Business, university and government leaders emphasized a similar message during the summit: that collaboration and equity are key to this goal.

“One thing that’s for certain, in my opinion,” wrote Patrick Rife, a local founder who wrote about the summit for, “is that we need stakeholders and leadership from every sector if we’re going to successfully shepherd Baltimore and the surrounding metropolitan area to its full potential.”

One such stakeholder, CEO Kathy Hollinger of the Greater Washington Partnership, discussed the organization’s own efforts (including $3.2 billion raised for an entrepreneurial support initiative) to build an innovation corridor from Baltimore to Richmond.

➡️ Read more about the summit and industry leaders’ commitments here.

$53 million for ZeroEyes

This firm, which created software to detect guns through security cameras, landed a major raise in June,’s Philly reporter Sarah Huffman writes.

ZeroEyes was founded by a group of military veterans and former Navy SEALs in 2018. It now has 180 employees and customers in 42 states, spanning different industries like education and transit. The company will use the $53 million — a significant amount in the current difficult fundraising environment — to continue developing its technology and reach.

“The ultimate goal at this point is to get on more cameras,” said Sam Alaimo, the company’s cofounder and chief revenue officer. “The more cameras are on, the more likely we can stop a mass shooting.”

➡️ Learn more about ZeroEyes’ mission, AI-enabled product and new funding here. 

News Incubator: What else to know

• Ion Storage Systems, a University of Maryland battery tech spinoff based in Beltsville, received $20 million from the US Department of Energy. The grant is part of the Seeding Critical Advances for Leading Energy Technologies with Untapped Potential (SCALEUP) program. [UMD]

• A Silicon Valley investment firm acquired the Bethesda health tech platform GetWellNetwork Inc. [Washington Biz Journal]

• The head of public policy at the California startup accelerator Y Combinator spoke with TechCrunch’s editor-in-chief and general manager about AI policy and regulation at the federal level during a recent event in DC. [TechCrunch]

• The Senate Commerce Committee is set to hold a hearing about privacy and AI on Thursday. [The Hill]

• Tech leaders see AI deployment, data center power and regulation looking a bit different during a prospective second Trump term. [Semafor]

🗓️ On the Calendar

• Semafor will bring together policymakers and industry leaders for an event about fintech on July 10. [Details here]

• There’s a biotech-focused networking event at the Germantown Innovation Center on the morning of July 11. [Details here]

• Improve your pitch skills at the NEXT powered by Shulman Rogers virtual workshop PitchMasters on July 17.  [Details here]

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