Environment / Finance / Funding / Investing / Venture capital

Money Moves: Soil tech company EarthOptics raised $27.6M

Plus, Hypori and Slate Bio nabbed funding rounds in January.

EarthOptics is a Arlington-based soil tech company. (Photo by Flickr user Editions Photoart, used via a Creative Commons license)
Full disclosure: This article lists news involving TEDCO, a Ecosystem Builder client. That relationship is unrelated to this report.

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

EarthOptics added $27.6 million in funds

EarthOpitcs, which develops machine learning-based tech for agricultural insights and soil measurement, raised $27.6 million in a Series B led by Conti Ventures. Rabo Food and Ag Innovation Fund, CNH Industrial, Louis Dreyfus Company Ventures, CHS and Growmark’s Cooperative Ventures took part in the round alongside existing investors Leaps by Bayer, FHB Ventures, S2G Ventures, iSelect Fund, Route 66 Ventures and VTC Ventures from Middleland Capital.

The Arlington, Virginia company announced that the funds will support building out sensor suite capabilities, accelerating the number of acres covered and scaling service providers. The company credited this funding boost to growing customer demand from farmers and ranchers.

“With small margins and unpredictable input prices, farmers are looking for ways to improve productivity,” said Lars Dyrud, CEO of EarthOptics, in a statement. “Our product does that in a way that fits seamlessly into individual operations. Farmers no longer must rely on expensive soil analysis from labs.”

Hypori nabbed $10.5 million

Reston, Virginia-based mobile data software company Hypori closed a $10.5 million Series B investment round this week.

The round, which was led by Hale Capital Partners, also includes funds from GreatPoint Ventures and David Petreaus, among additional participants. These funds are part of a larger, $18 million round to expand the company and its Halo product. The round already has additional commitments.

“Hypori is changing the way the industry thinks about cybersecurity and operating at the speed of cloud to achieve mission success,” said Jared Shepard, Hypori president and CEO, in a statement.

The Department of Defense is already using the company’s Halo product, and the company hopes that the fresh funds can help with scaling the product’s rollout to the Army, Army Reserve and National Guard. The deal will also bring Martin Hale of Hale Capital and former Hypori CEO Rich Sawchak onto the company’s board.

Virginia’s Slate Bio raised $1.75 million in VC

Charlottesville, Virginia-based biotech Slate Bio just closed a $1.75 million venture round led by Epidarex Capital.

The University of Virginia’s Licensing and Ventures Group Seed Fund, Center for Innovative Technology’s GAP BioLife Fund, the VTC Seed Fund and PharmaDirections also took part in the round.

Slate Bio is an immunology-based biotech company in the pre-clinical stage whose work draws from research conducted at the University of Virginia School of Medicine. The company’s lead drug, IL233, assists with the treatment of autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.

“We welcome the backing of Epidarex Capital, a highly regarded early-stage investor,” said Andrew J. Krouse, president, and CEO of Slate, in a statement. “They bring a superior track record of success in building companies stemming from their deep pharmaceutical industry and immunology experience as well as their strong understanding of the marketplace.”

Alongside the funding, Kyp Sirinakis and the University of Virginia’s seed fund managing director Bob Creeden will join the company’s board.

Here’s who else kicked off 2023 with funding news:

  • Maryland funding entity TEDCO invested $750,000 in community solar developer Neighborhood Sun. The company is based in Silver Spring, Maryland, and is a certified B Corp.
  • TEDCO’s Open Institute for Black Women Entrepreneur Excellence program was also awarded $418,000 in direct federal funds.
  • Rockville, Maryland’s X-Energy, a small modular nuclear developer, raised $25 million from nuclear companies DL E&C and Doosan Enerbility. In December, the company announced a SPAC-based acquisition agreement that could value the company at $2 million.
  • Chicago, Illinois-based SpiderOak raised $16.4 million in funding in a Series C round led by space tech firm Empyrean Technology Solutions. With the funds, the company plans to move headquarters to Reston, Virginia, and open a space cybersecurity laboratory.
  • The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, which is based in Bethesda, Maryland, is investing $15 million into Silicon Valley-based ReCode Therapeutics. The round totaled $210 million.
  • Arlington’s Second Front Systems, a govtech software company, expanded on its Series A. The company received an additional $2 million from Gallos Technologies in a “secondary close” from its $22 million raise in December.
  • HighTide Therapeutics, a biopharma company based in Rockville and China, raised $107 million in a round led by TCM Healthcare Fund. Yuexiu Fund and Yuthai Fund also participated in the round, which will be used to advance the company’s global work, commercialization and clinical trial program expansion.
  • Virginia’s George Mason University is set to receive $1 million in federal funds to build its latest project, the Mason Center for Excellence in Government Cybersecurity Risk Management and Resilience. U.S. Representative Gerry Connolly of Virginia helped make the funding possible, according to the school.

Government Contracts

  • Herndon, Virginia’s HawkEye 360, a space data and analytics company, was awarded a contract from Slingshot Aerospace for an undisclosed amount. Through the contract, HawkEye will provide data for Slingshot’s monitoring and detection of threats from space.
  • Columbia, Maryland-based nabbed a $900 million multiple-award contract from the U.S. Air Force.
Series: Money Moves

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