Back in January, we compiled our annual list of hot startups to watch, called RealLIST Startups. These startups represented what we saw as the crème de la crème of new(ish) DC tech companies. Qualifying companies needed to be less than three years old, generate their revenue from a specific product and not have experienced any sort of exit, merger or acquisition. The resulting honorees worked in fields as varied as edtech, govtech, app development and financing.
Where are they now, nearly seven months after we deemed them startups to watch? We asked the question, and several responded. Here’s an assembly of their responses, as well as updates about featured companies that did not return our comment requests.
10. Electo Analytics
Electo’s founders Naeim Khanjani and Soraya Bagheri didn’t offer up any news about the company at our request. But, from what we can tell, the company has been hard at work hosting and partnering with different regional events that support govtech, social impact and the DC tech ecosystem. In June, the company was featured as a partner in SelectUSA’s annual Investment Summit.
9. Derm to Door
The McLean, Virginia-based startup created an AI-based app to virtually diagnose skin issues with, according to Derm to Door, 98% accuracy. After a beta launch in the DC marketplace, the app’s reach has grown to offer teledermatology in 33 U.S. states.
The company’s founder said that it has some big plans for the fall, too, though we don’t know the details yet.
“We have an exciting HUUUUUGE national partnership in the works, however, I cannot release the information until it has been finalized,” founder Lily Talakoub told Technical.ly in an email.
Since making it onto the list, DC’s Meaningful Gigs closed a $6 million seed funding round in March led by Stage 2 Capital. Rethink Education, Authentic Ventures, Reach Capital, Marla Blow, Avi Band and Michele Perry also took part.
The founders said they wanted to use the funds to add even more designers to its platform, which connects product designers and developers from Africa to US companies seeking workers. It also hoped to incorporate 100 companies onto the platform this year.
“When you expand [the applicant pool], you literally have the entire world that you can consider as [talent] possibilities to bring in,” cofounder and COO Steph Nachemja-Bunton told Technical.ly earlier this year. “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.”
Baby gear rental startup JoyLet has made some huge changes since appearing on this list. Founders Allison Cavasino and Natalie Poston both left their other jobs to work on the startup full-time. The company also won Georgetown’s GEA Alumni Pitch Competition, closed $250,00 in pre-seed angel investment, and landed partnerships with key baby and toddler gear suppliers, according to Poston.
If that wasn’t enough, Poston also said the company plans to make a big announcement before 2022 is over.
“JoyLet has had an exciting start to the year and is looking forward to even bigger things in the coming months,” the cofounder said.
We didn’t hear back from founders Adrian Abrams and Kamar Mack, who created a no-code platform for app development. But, around the time the startup was selected as a winner of Fiverr’s Future Collective for Black-Owned Businesses, it did win placement in an 1863 Ventures-hosted accelerator that has likely begun.
According to Urvin Finance founder Alex Cohen, the company has been super busy since we last checked in. The company completed its initial raise for its flagship product, The Terminal, and moved on to its crowd-equity seed round, seeking $5 million to launch the platform. It’s already raised about $340,000 from just over 470 people on its WeFunder site.
Urvin Finance launched the alpha version of its product to over 500 users, as well as investment knowledge-facilitating site features Lyrical Learning and We The Investors.
Along with that raise, Cohen said that Urvin has 10,000 users on its beta waitlist, with plans to launch the beta in early fall before officially going live in early winter.
4. Aneta Ed
Aneta ED had a rough start to 2022, as a large portion of its development team is based in Ukraine. When the conflict broke out earlier this year, locally-based founder Afua Banful had to figure out the best way to help her team from across the world.
Since then, the company has been on a bit of an upswing. It participated in the Founders University LAUNCH workshop, as well as a Jobs for the Future Career Navigation cohort in the JFF Labs accelerator.
While Laudable doesn’t appear to have made any public moves in 2022, it continued its hiring streak throughout the year. It’s currently in private beta for Laudable 2.0, the next iteration of its B2B marketing platform.
The company has also found some success on B2B TikTok, generating almost 12,000 likes overall.
Hotglue has added some updates to its software, like widgets and a Google Sheets integration, since making the RealLIST. The company also received SOC 2 Type II certification, and a company statement said it will continue to gain reports from the assessment as part of its cyber journey. The company has also grown to 11 employees, who are spread all across the globe.
Our top pick for this year has maintained an upswing over the past few months. It’s landed deals for its software, which helps brands create peer-to-peer selling and takeback sites, with the likes of KILLSTAR and Badgley Mischka In May, the company raised a $14 million Series A led by Jump Capital, with additional participation from Gradient Ventures, XRC Labs and Victress Capital. With the funds, founders Adam Siegel and Wilson Griffin said they would be growing the team to add things like digital IDs, NFTs and new software suite capabilities.
“We’ve already rolled out integrations with e-commerce platforms, loyalty programs, fulfillment/logistics providers and digital ID technologies,” Siegel said in a statement at the time. “With this investment, we are excited to bring even more innovative solutions to brands so they can benefit from the explosion of interest in resale.”
Lastly, here’s how some of our honorable mentions are faring, in no particular order:
- RegScale, a Tysons Corner, Virginia-based compliance tech company, raised more in 2022 (so far) than any other entity on this list. Earlier this month, RegScale raised $20 million in a Series A led by SYN Ventures.
- Halen Technologies, a “super app” company founded by Edward Mbeche, nabbed $1 million from tech partner Kiwitech. Mbeche told Technical.ly that the company also won $100,000 from Google for Startups’ cloud startup program, added 11 developers from fellow tech partner Quiddity Infotech and created its downloadable MVP.
- Over the past six months, hydrogen tech startup Ally Power has presented in Egypt for potential inclusion in COP27 and in front of a Saudi Arabian delegation at DC’s Willard Hotel. Founder Joseph Alfred also said the company is working on several partnerships with contacts made in the aforementioned countries, as well as developing hydrogen and carbon capture hubs in the US.