Finance / Funding / Policies / Small businesses / Startups

Money Moves: The SBA has $4M for veteran-owned startups

Plus, DC's Exponential Exchange raised $1.4 million in pre-seed, Chantilly's CoolR nabbed $10 million from First Analysis, and 14 more raises and government contracts announced by DMV companies recently.

The US Small Business Administration. (Courtesy image)

Money Moves is a column where we chart the funding raises of tech companies across the region. Have a tip? Email us at

The SBA has a fresh $4 million

The US Small Business Administration (SBA), which is based in DC, has a new $4.1 million available for startups, nonprofits and more.

Up to $400,000 will be available to 12 selectees, which can be private organizations, colleges and universities, private-sector companies, nonprofits, and state, local or tribal government agencies, the agency announced last week. The funds must be put toward training and counseling for aspiring or current veteran small biz owners as a Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC).

The program is open to organizations in Alaska, Central California, Colorado, Kentucky, Nebraska, Iowa, Nevada, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, South Carolina and South Florida. The awards are designed for a base project period of 12 months with four 12-month option periods beginning in May of next year.  

“This expansion will grow the VBOC program from 22 to 34 locations nationwide and assist in supporting veteran small business owners in all U.S. states and territories,” said Larry Stubblefield, associate administrator for the SBA’s Office of Veterans Business Development, in a statement. “The additional locations aim to enhance the experience for veteran small business owners by reducing appointment wait times, increasing local presence, providing additional local training opportunities, meeting the needs of Boots to Business participants, and ensuring that all VBOCs have the necessary resources to perform required counseling and training functions.”

Apply here by Nov. 23

CoolR Group raised $10 million

Chantilly, Virginia-based CoolR Group just raised $10 million in funds, the company announced Friday, in a round led by First AnalysisMoneta Ventures and Remarkable Ventures also took part in the round.

CoolR Group is an internet of things-based, visual AI solutions company for consumer packaged goods brands and retailers. Using cameras, third-party apps and devices, it collects real-time images from refrigerated, frozen and ambient shelves to tell sellers when something is out-of-stock, needs attention or isn’t being executed properly. Customers include soda, ice cream, beer and pet food companies.

With the funds, CoolR said it plans to expand its business reach and invest in research and development.

Exponential Exchange nabbed a $1.4 million pre-seed round

DC-based Exponential Exchange, a fintech startup, has raised $1.4 million in a series of convertible notes.

The company is developing technology and financial instruments designed for new opportunities and risks in the “transportation revolution.” According to Exponential, it uses modernized datasets and data science for risk management products. Its first product is targeted at the risks found in price changes for used vehicles.

“This is a totally new and much-needed approach to asset risk mitigation, for which the current solutions are few, inefficient, and extremely expensive,” said Ryan Naughton, Exponential Exchange CEO, in a statement. “Giving asset holders the ability to transfer their residual value exposure to a willing third party through an established derivatives market represents a critical ability for portfolio-heavy entities. It also closes the gap between auto and other industries like agriculture, energy and manufacturing that have benefitted for decades from the ability to hedge financial exposure through derivatives.”

These companies are also fundraising in the DMV:

  • Fiber installation company TRAXyL, based in Gainesville, Virginia, completed an oversubscribed seed round at $5 million. Draper Associates led the round, and the company will use the funds to continue developing its fiber-optic installation tech.
  • Herndon, Virginia-based cyber firm Expel has expanded on its $140 million, unicorn-status unlocking Series E from 2021. The company announced in October that it had raised an additional $31.3 million from CapitalG and Paladin Capital Group, bringing the round total to $171.3 million.
  • DC’s Village Capital announced the startups selected for its ADAPT accelerator program for startups developing solutions for climate change, healthcare, wellness and economic mobility. DC climate resiliency software company Rhizome was one of the 20 companies selected to participate. At the end of the program, four startups will be selected to receive a $50,000 investment.
  • Unmanned aircraft designer RapidFlight is investing $5.5 million to establish a 25,000-square-foot headquarters in Manassas, Virginia.
  • DC cybersecurity company Tidal Cyber raised a $4 million round led by Ultratech Capital Partners. Access Venture Partners, TFX Capital, Virginia Venture Partners, Dreamit, Adam Vincent, First In, BlueWing Ventures, SaaS Ventures, Riverbend Capital, Blu Venture Investors and StoneMill Ventures also participated in the round.
  • Howard University, located in DC, was one of the investors in a $5.3 million seed round for Scale3. The California company is building faster and more secure blockchain nodes.
  • ESAB Corporation, based in North Bethesda, Maryland, acquired Ohio Medical for $127 million. ESAB is also anticipating an additional cash tax benefit featuring a net present value of $15 million.

Government contracts

  • Arlington, Virginia’s Accenture Federal Services won a three-year, $189 million contract from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to accelerate its move to the cloud. The contract is part of the CDC’s larger work to update its technology.
  • Federal IT and professional services firm Electrosoft, based in Reston, was awarded a contract from the Defense Logistics Agency for AGA audit support. The contract is worth $2.1 million with two one-year extension options, reaching a potential total of $6.5 million.
  • Reston’s Empower AI won a task order from the US Army Information Systems Engineering Command Service IV contract. The contract is worth up to $14 million. Earlier this year, the company rebranded from NCI Information Systems to Empower AI.
  • McLean, Virginia-based Huntington Ingall Industries’ (HII) mission technologies decision was awarded a $76.7 million task order from the Air Force. HII will provide research, analysis and testing regarding electronic warfare and electromagnetic spectrum development.
  • Leonardo DRS, a defense developer in Arlington, won a $579 million contract for thermal weaponry from the Army.
  • Fairfax, Virginia-based Iteris received a fourth task order worth $2.95 million from the Federal Highway Administration. The new task order is part of a five-year contract worth up to $19.5 million for the Intelligent Transportation Systems architecture program.
  • Iron Bow Technologies, a tech solutions company in Herdon, was awarded a fourth estate Cisco software enterprise agreement for 2022 to 2027, with a $743 million contract ceiling.
Companies: U.S. Small Business Administration
Series: Money Moves

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