When it comes to innovation and disruption, the DMV is certainly no stranger to investment in social-equity-minded causes and companies. Even with a reputation as a nonprofit and activism hub, tech certainly is not left behind for thinking about the next steps for the world around us. And funding rounds are no exception.
From renewable energy to wildfire fighting to education, DC-area companies are investing in the future this month.
Lanham, Maryland edtech firm 2U officially completed its $800 million acquisition of Cambridge, Massachusetts education platform edX, the company announced this week.
2U first announced the news back in June, saying it would operate edX as a public benefit entity and maintain its current leadership. At the time, the company also said that it expected to reach near $1 billion in annual revenue by the end of this year.
Following closure of the deal, founder and CEO of edX Anant Agarwal will join 2U as chief open education officer. In the acquisition, the pair will be removing barriers for university and corporate partners to provide online courses and partners Harvard, MIT, UC Berkeley, Google and IBM will all launch new programming on the edX platform. The pair also pledged $1 million for nonprofit partners to develop courses for human skills in the virtual age.
“There is an urgent need across society to make learning affordable, accessible and equitable – for all learners, at every stage of life. Meeting that mission made edX a global brand and a top destination for learners everywhere,” said 2U cofounder and CEO Christopher Paucek in a statement. “That’s the mission we now advance together, helping higher education institutions and employers build a sustainable future, offering the continuum of high-quality learning experiences people need to enhance their lives and careers, and making all of it possible on one of the world’s most comprehensive free-to-degree online learning platforms.”
Bioenergy Devco, a biofuel firm with headquarters in Annapolis, Maryland, completed a $100 million megaround for facility development in the US.
The financing was from funds managed by Irradiant Partners, a California management firm. Bioenergy will use the funds to develop additional anaerobic digestion facilities, which generate waste into renewable energy and soil products. It currently manages 140 facilities worldwide, with 20 digesters currently under development. A facility under development in Maryland will have the capacity to process 115,000 tons of waste annually, which Bioenergy says has the same carbon reduction impact as a forest 40 times the size of Central Park in New York City.
“We are thrilled that Irradiant has joined us in our mission to make our planet healthier through the natural power of anaerobic digestion,” said Shawn Kreloff, founder and CEO of Bioenergy in a statement. “Anaerobic digestion, as evidenced by our success throughout Europe, is the most environmentally responsible way to recycle food waste into renewable energy while reducing emissions and achieving decarbonization and climate goals in North America. Bioenergy Devco’s technology can sustainably divert food waste from landfills, and in turn, give this discarded organic material a valuable second life.”
Geospatial and data analytics firm Hydrosat, based in DC, landed a $10 million seed funding round, the company announced this week. OTB Ventures led the round, with additional participation from Freeflow Ventures, Cultivation Capital, Santa Barbara Venture Partners and Expon Capital.
Using satellite infrared sensors, Hydrosat collects surface temperature data. The funds will be used for the commercialization of its ground temperature analytics product, which can help ecologists better understand wildfires, droughts and water stress.
“Earth’s freshwater resources are under stress brought on by the collision of climate change and population growth,” said Pieter Fossel, Hydrosat CEO, in a statement. “Megadroughts, such as the one currently impacting the western and central United States lead to declines in crop yields. Meanwhile wildfires and environmental damage create further economic loss with a devastating impact to human life. With this investment, we will be able to assess the temperature of the Earth’s surface at high resolution on a daily basis to help organizations make more informed and timely decisions.”
Check out below to see who else is raising in the area:
- Herndon, Virginia-based cybersecurity company Expel raised a $140 million Series E round, reaching unicorn status with a valuation of over $1 billion.
- District cybersecurity firm SnapAttack nabbed an $8 million funding round led by Volition Capital following the company’s spinout from conglomerate Booz Allen Hamilton. Booz Allen and Strategic Cyber Ventures also participated in the round.
- KeyCaliber, a DC automated Crown Jewels assessment company, raised $2.6 million in seed funding from Lytical Ventures, Unusual Ventures, and HearstLab and industry investors Brian NeSmith, Sumit Agarwal and Dov Yoran. The funds will be used to bring on tech and sales hires.
- Aerospace company Northrop Grumman, headquartered in Falls Church, Virginia, pledged $12.5 million to the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus, which is currently being built. The university will be putting the funds towards research and teaching, graduate fellowships and new faculty as well as a new Center of Quantum Architecture and Software Development.
- Renewable energy battery manufacturing firm Dynami Battery, based in DC, received an undisclosed amount from the angel network of Potential Energy DC.
- Arlington, Virginia medtech firm OxiWear, a 2020 RealLIST Startups nominee, which developed an oxygen monitoring device that can be worn on an ear, raised a $1.25 million seed round led by Virginia Innovation Partnership Corporation, formerly Center for Innovative Technology.
- Norfolk, Virginia’s SVT Robotics, a software developer for robots, closed a $25 million Series A round led by Tiger Global.
- Netography, an Annapolis, Maryland-based security company, raised $45 million in a Series A round led by Bessemer Venture Partners and SYN Ventures. Existing investors Andreessen Horowitz, Mango Capital, Harpoon Ventures and Wing Venture Capital also took part in the round.
- Gaming studio and virtual world developer Dubit, which hosts its US headquarters in DC, raised $8 million to launch an esports league in the metaverse via the Roblox platform.
- Germantown, Maryland biotech firm Deka Biosciences, completed a $20 million Series A raise led by Leaps by Bayer and Lumira Ventures. O-Bio, Viva BioInnovator and Alexandria Venture Investments also participated in the round.
- Professional services firm Accenture Federal Services was awarded a $618 million task order to modernize the mission-critical IT systems for the US Marshals Service.
- IT and AI solutions firm NCI Information Systems, based in Reston, Virginia, won a two-year recompete for a $14 million Federal Communications Commission contract.
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