Business / Finance / Funding / Venture capital

Money Moves: A Rockville lab testing firm is one of the first to trade on a crowdfunding stock platform

Plus, a $4.5M round for barbershop tech company TheCut, and DC's Dcode inks a deal with the Air Force's technology accelerator.

Jonathan Cohen is CEO of 20/20 Gene Systems. (Courtesy photo)

Rockville, Maryland-based clinical laboratory testing company 20/20 GeneSystems is among the first to trade its shares on the StartEngine Secondary platform, which focuses on crowdfunding. The firm also ranked #770 on the 2021 Inc 5000 list, released earlier this month.

StartEngine is an alternative trading system for companies interested in equity crowdfunding. Jonathan Cohen, founder and CEO of 20/20, told that the company has raised over $10 million from nearly 8,000 individuals through the platform. He added that less than 1% of startups go public on the Nasdaq of NYSE or are acquired at a large premium within their first decade, making equity crowdfunding a real asset.

“For equity crowdfunding to reach its full potential shareholders need to have an option to sell their shares (hopefully at a nice profit) without waiting too many years,” Cohen said. “So a secondary market specifically for crowdfunding companies and investors is essential and will be the next big thing in the world of startup financing.”


TheCut, the DC company that developed a platform for the barbershop experience, raised $4.5 million in a round led by Nextgen Venture Partners. Elevate Ventures, Singh Capital and Leadout Capital also participated in the round, which brings its total funding to date to $5.35 million.

Best friends from high school Obi Omile Jr. and Kush Patel cofounded the company, which connects potential clients with barbers through a mobile app. According to TheCut, the company has raised over $500 million in revenue for barbers since its launch in 2016. It’s also adding at least 100,000 users each month with an average of 1.5 million bookings.

The funding will be used for hiring, marketing and general growth nationwide, Omile told TechCrunch.

“We’ve gotten to a place where we are hitting our stride and seeing business catapulting, so we are in hiring mode,” he said.

(P.S. Check out guest posts from Omile and Patel on stretching funds and establishing long term growth)


Alexandria supply chain software developer Savi, a Lockheed Martin spinout, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in August.

In response, the company will be restructuring existing defense contracts as well as put its commercial software business company to bed.

“We want to reassure our customers that Savi will continue to honor our commitments for exceptional service, products, and support as we restructure the business and focus on delivering intransit visibility and asset tracking capabilities to the warfighters,” the company said in a statement.

Savi is the sole recipient of a $42 million active RFID V contract with the Department of Defense (DoD). In the height of the pandemic last year, it also signed two multimillion dollar agreements with the DoD to provide logistic tech to help Covid-19 first responders.


DC accelerator Dcode is making moves in the contracting space. This week, the company announced that it won a five-year contract with AFWERX, a technology accelerator from the Air Force. The initial contract is for $1.9 million, but a spokesperson told the Washington Business Journal that it could change to meet demand.

Through the contract, Dcode said it will be providing education and advisory services tech and innovation for AFWERX.

“AFWERX is on the leading edge of DoD’s efforts to leverage America’s defense industrial base and maintain our military’s competitive advantage,” said Dcode Government Managing Director Lisa Gaisford in a statement. “We’re excited to continue partnering with AFWERX and other organizations across the DoD as they identify, adopt, and scale the best-in-class commercial tech needed to help U.S. service members keep our country safe.”


Check out these other funds moving around the DMV:

  • Silver Spring, Maryland’s Curiosity, a factual film media company, invested in creator-owned streaming platform Nebula. Curiosity will receive board representation and a minority position in the company, which is valued at an excess of $50 million through the deal.
  • The Center for Innovative Technology, a DC org that invests seed funds in local startups, invested an undisclosed amount in ArchiveCore as part of its CIT GAP Funds program. ArchiveCore, which is based in Roanoke, Virginia, develops cloud-based technology to help credential healthcare professionals.
  • McLean, Virgina’s Alion Science and Technology nabbed an $18 million, 60-month task order from the Air Force Spectrum Management Office. The contract is part of the Department of Defense Information Analysis Center’s multiple-award contract program.
  • Halvik Corp, a Vienna, Virginia engineering and professional services govtech company, landed a five-year, $62 million contract from the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff.
  • Herndon, Virgina’s ViON Corporation, an IT infrastructure as-a-Service solutions firm, was awarded a $184 million contract with the Internal Revenue Service’s Managed Infrastructure Data Service program.
  • Riverdale, Maryland-based medtech company Medcura raised $7.4 million in private equity to assist with product development.
  • Satellite developer Hughes Network Systems was one of several companies awarded a position in a $950 million contract from the Air Force. As part of the deal, the Germantown, Maryland company will offer satellite communications systems, software and algorithm development.
  • As part of its second quarter earnings, Reston, Virginia-based Science Applications International Corp said it landed $664 million in 2022 deals from space and intelligence organizations.
  • The General Service Administration awarded Reston IT modernization firm Octo, with a $31 million, five-year contract. The deal is an Operations and Maintenance of Federal Procurement Data System Next Generation and System for Award Management Integration Environment contract.
  • Richmond, Virgina’s Naborforce, which uses tech to connect older adults with care providers, raised $2.5 million in a seed round led by Claritas Capital and the Artemis Fund.
  • Denver, Colorado’s Palantir Technologies made an equity investment in Herndon’s BlackSky Holdings, a geospatial tech platform. The investment follows a joint pilot project between the two firms to predict events using satellite images. The deal is scheduled to close after BlackSky’s merger with Osprey Technology.
  • McLean networking company GTT Communications is planning to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy following its sale of an infrastructure division to I Squared Capital. In a statement, GTT said that it reached a restructuring agreement with key stakeholders and will continue to run through this period. Just last year, the company made it onto the 2020 Technology Fast 500 from Deloitte.
Companies: Dcode

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