Finance / Funding / Startups / Venture capital

Money Moves: Meaningful Gigs bagged $6M to grow its remote work platform

Plus, fellow RealLIST Startups honoree RNAimmune lands $27 million.

The Meaningful Gigs founding team. (Courtesy photo)
Update: A previous version of this article noted that Meaningful Gigs focuses on developers and designers from the global Black African diaspora. Instead, it focuses on professionals in those disciplines from the continent of Africa, regardless of race or ethnicity. (4/21/22, 11:28 a.m.)

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

Meaningful Gigs raised a $6 million seed

Fresh off its landing on the 2022 RealLIST Startups list, DC’s Meaningful Gigs has just wrapped a $6 million seed funding round. The startup connects product designers and developers from Africa to opportunities with  companies to Black product designers and developers based in Africa.

Stage 2 Capital led the round, with additional participation from Rethink Education, Authentic Ventures, Reach Capital, Marla Blow, Zvi Band and Michele Perry. With the funds, the startup plans to add more designers to its platform, with a goal of growing it to incorporate 100 companies in the next year.

As remote work remains popular, cofounder and COO Steph Nachemja-Bunton told earlier this year that removing location requirements brings a huge opportunity for companies to grow.

“When you expand [the applicant pool], you literally have the entire world that you can consider as [talent] possibilities to bring in,” she said. “Then you have this ability to start to think differently and more creatively, bringing in people from different perspectives, different skill sets and even making sure that they have the level of skill set that you’re looking for.”

RNAimmune lands $27 million

This week, Gaithersburg, Maryland biopharma company RNAimmune raised a $27 million Series A round.

The company, which spun out of fellow Gaithersburg biopharm company Sirnaomics, discovers and develops mRNA-based therapeutics and vaccines. Sirnaomics led the round alongside Smooth River Limited and Rotating Boulder Fund. (For the record, RNAimmune also nabbed a spot on our 2021 RealLIST Startups list in DC. Apparently, we’re either good at what we do, or there’s something in the water this month).

The company plans to use the funding to further the development of its mRNA vaccine and drug discovery. It previously submitted the pre-package for a COVID-19 vaccine to the Food and Drug Administration in October of 2021 before getting a green light in January. RNAimmune also completed a $2.3 million angel round in August of 2020 — the year of its founding — and a $10 million seed round last April.

“The support we received in this Series A financing, from this distinguished group of existing and new investors, demonstrates confidence in RNAimmune’s technology and products,” said Dong Shen, RNAimmune’s founder and president, in a statement. “This funding fuels our ability to scale the team and expand our mRNA vaccine programs. In addition, we will verify our own next-generation AI-driven mRNA delivery platform, including a PLNP delivery system.”

Here’s who else is raising around DC:

  • Halcyon, DC’s social-impact-based accelerator organization, closed a new $5 million investment fund for entrepreneurs. The Halcyon Fund will be available for past and future fellows.
  • Workforce management software company Azalio, based in DC, raised a $2 million pre-seed round that was led by the Urban Innovation Fund.
  • SparkMeter, a management software developer for utilities, raised a $10 million funding round led by Accurant International. Breakthrough Energy Ventures and Clean Energy Ventures also participated in the round, which brought the company’s total to $22 million raised. Funds will support international expansion.
  • McLean, Virginia fintech giant Capital One just inked a huge deal with Major League Baseball (MLB), to the tune of $125 million over five years. Under its terms, Capital One will be the official bank and credit card of MLB, as well as the presenting sponsor at the World Series.
  • Tysons, Virginia’s Federal Compass, which created a market intelligence tech platform for contractors, raised an undisclosed Series A from Blueprint Equity.
  • DC’s Altoida, a developer of a brain health platform, raised $14 million in a Series A extension. M Ventures and Whitecap Venture Partners led the funding. The fresh funds bring the round total to $20.3 million.
  • Tysons-based Zephyr AI, which is creating a healthcare dataset with AI for medical research, raised $18.5 million in seed funds. Lerner Group Investments and M-Cor Holdings led the round, with additional participation from Allen Chao, AME Cloud Ventures, BoxGroup, MedStar Health, Roger Ferguson, Steve Oristaglio and Verily.
  • The Maryland Tech Council landed $2.45 million to grow the state BioHub.
  •, a business automation software with a focus on job-related human potential, closed a $1.5 million seed round. The company will use the funds to grow its international presence and build out its product.
  • Maryland funding agent TEDCO reported that 15 of its portfolio companies had successful exits in 2021. According to the entity, the companies received $7 million in total funding from three TEDCO funds, which boosted their fair market value to $12.5 million.
  • Reston, Virginia defense tech company Leonardo DRS sold off its Global Enterprise Solutions business to global connectivity corporation SES for $450 million.

Government Contracts

  • Agile solutions tech company Excella, based in Arlington, Virginia, landed a Digital Innovation and Development Contract from the US Citizen and Immigration Services. It is valued at $116.6 million over five years.
  • Accenture Federal Services, the Arlington-based government arm of Accenture, landed two major contracts in March. The company won a five-year, $118 million contract from the federal Department of State for data management support, as well as a seven-year, $199 million contract from the Department of Homeland Security‘s Transportation Security Administration.
Companies: Meaningful Gigs / Halcyon / Accenture

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