4th Not Quite Annual Not Quite 100 #DCTech Companies I Don’t Hate
Back in April of 2014, Mr. Steven Overly, formerly of the Washington Post, presently of Politico challenged me to name 100 DC Tech companies that I did not hate. Well, I came up with only 42. Last year, for my third try I came up with 78 companies. This year, it’s still 78. I’ve added a few companies to the list and some went off due to acquisition, or going out of business or me realizing I made a bad pick, or deciding the company isn’t really a tech company.
Not being listed doesn’t mean I hate your company. It only means that I don’t know of or forgot to mention your company. In the interest of specificity, I’ve included 10 companies that I do know of and didn’t forget to list. That’s the DC Tech companies I know that I don’t Not Hate.
The categories in this post include:
- The Hidden Gems – The companies that Technal.lyDC, DCInno, Tech.co, and Nibletz have no clue exist and even armed with a GPS, seeing eye dog and sextant, they’d still never find them.
- The Special Gem – A special company that deserves extra attention
- The Realy Big Deals – The guys you build an ecosystem around
- The Companies I Don’t Hate
- The Companies I Don’t Not Hate
- The company I don’t Hate or Not Hate but I know who they are
Lastly, the CBR listed at the end of each company is the Crunchbase Rank, which is explained on the bottom of the post. Some companies aren’t listed on Crunchbase and some, mostly the huge ones don’t have a rank.
The Hidden Gems – DC Tech Startup Awesomeness That No One Talks About
- 10Pearls – 10Pearls – Mobile app and software development. Imran Aftab is assembling an impressive executive team serving larger clients on a national scale and with impressive revenue growth. CBR 89,775 (2017 CBR: 86,347)
- Industry Dive – Industry Dive provides industry-specific mobile applications and websites for executives. The third time on the list and no know-nothings know what these guys do enough to extoll the virtues of one of DC’s top high growth company. These guys are killing it and while few people know them in DC, everyone in the markets they cover know who they are. They publish news for eCommerce, Retail, Large Corporate Internal I.T., Pharma, Construction and more. CBR: N/A
- UprightLabs – From zero to a lot more than zero in less than one year. Founded by 2 exceptional young entrepreneurs, this company has bootstrapped itself past many well-funded peers in much less time. Upright helps brick and mortar retailers of previously owned goods sell those goods online. CBR: N/A
DC Special Mention:
- Flikshop – The US has a larger prison population in real numbers (not as a percent of the population) than there are inmates in the repressive, authoritarian regime in China. Think about that, China has 4 times the population of the US and we have 50% more prisoners. There’s something wrong there and our country needs justice reform. But until that day comes there’s Flikshop, A purpose-built company to keep prison inmates in touch with their families. CEO Marcus Bullock is an extraordinary individual. A former inmate, who credits his redemption on family contact focuses his company to aid and comfort our prison population. Flikshop sponsors prison programs on entrepreneurship and hires released inmates. CBR: 40,579 (2017 Rank 151,416)
- Inflectra – Inflectra makes software development & testing tools to help you build awesome products. A little company in Silver Spring Maryland that competes with a big company from Australia… Atlassian and with HP. These guys can compete with Jira, are lower cost, are better for highly regulated companies, and aren’t evil. Plus the CEO has an American with a Welsh accent which is kind-of Australaly. CBR: 140,512 (2017 CBR: 113,497)
- TwentyTables – TwentyTables helps consumers find meals from nearby restaurants – all served at a fixed affordable price: $6. For every twenty meals ordered they donate five to the hungry and food insecure. CBR: N/A
The Really Big Deals
- Appian – Appian provides a leading low-code software development platform that enables organizations to rapidly develop powerful applications. CBR: 2919 (2017 CBR: 3349)
- CapitalOne – Capital One is a diversified banking company that offers early and later stage venture, and debt financing investments. (CBR: 1319 2017 CBR: 1111)
- Clarabridge – Clarabridge helps business win the hearts and minds of their customers with the industry-leading Customer Experience Management platform. CBR: N/A
- Cvent – Cvent is an event management platform enabling planners to manage all aspects of an event. CBR: N/A
- Deltek – Enterprise software and information solutions provider for professional services firms and government contractors. These guys are huge and CEO, Mike Corkery is my Candidate for DC Tech CEO of the decade. CBR: N/A
- EverFi – EverFi is the leading education technology company focused on teaching, assessing, badging, and certifying students in critical skills. Raised $$250 Million from investors that include: Jeff Bezos, Eric Schmidt, Lebron James, Richard Branson, Bono (of U2, not Sonny and Cher), Reid Hoffman and not Me. CBR: N/A
- Mapbox – Mapbox is the location data platform for mobile and web applications. Raised $225 million to date including $164 million from SoftBank in October 2017. CBR: N/A
- The Washington Post – Jeff Bezos…. it’s a tech company. CBR: N/A
- WeddingWire – WeddingWire is an online marketplace to help engaged couples plan their weddings. I don’t know a thing about these guys except everybody talks about them and the traction seems to be legit. CBR: N/A
Some Of The DC Tech Startups Were Removed From The List Thanks To Acquisition
(Real Acquisition As In Money Making A Positive Return To Investor Type Acquisition, Unlike Speek, (see the hard-hitting journalism of Tech.co on the subject of the speek “acquisition” which was more of a garage sale fire sale)):
The DC Tech Startups I Still Don’t Hate:
- 2U – 2U is a cloud-based Software-as-a-Service platform that provides schools with the comprehensive operating infrastructure. CBR: N/A
- 3ADVANCE – 3ADVANCE is a developer of mobile apps for startup companies and entrepreneurs. CBA 192,410 (2017 CBR:214,618)
- Airgility – Nextgen Unmanned Aeriall Vehicle that hovers and flies like a traditional lifting body aircraft offering, greater payload, endurance, speed, and range than traditional multi-rotor drones. Designed at the University of Maryland. CBR: N/A
- Agilian (formerly Courage LLC) – Build’s large complicated applications with experience at the DC Government and WMATA. Jamey Harvey is one of DC’s first internet startup leaders founding Digital Addiction and Ikimbo. CBR: N/A
- Apollo Matrix – Apollo Matrix, Inc. delivers mobile and related web experiences for both clients and Apollo. CBR 202,417 (2017 CBR: 140,839)
- Bloompop – Beautiful flowers from the best local artisan florists. Smart CEO keeps pivoting and adjusting the plan. CBR 166,437 (2017 CBR: 147,083)
- Brazen – Brazen helps organizations create better engagement through chat-based online events. Ed Barrientos who’s done it before surrounded by folks who are going to do it again. CBR 12,111 (2017 CBR: 10,051)
- BriarTek – Lifesaving innovative technology. When a sailor goes overboard, he’s likely found safe and sound due to the products from this Alexandria-based company. CBR: N/A
- Brightline Interactive – Some of the most fun projects coming out of DC with the worlds biggest brands at featured at the worlds coolest events like Super Bowl, MLB All-Star Game, NCAA Final Four. CBR: N/A
- Clowder (Formerly Pinxter) – A former app development shop turned software provider. Clowder offers a native app solution for associations and their members.. CBR: 23,263 (2017 CBR) 23,356)
- Contactually – Contactually is a relationship marketing platform that helps companies and individuals keep and generate business from their network. Tell these guys it can’t be done and done it will be. The little train that could and does. Another CEO who works to doggedly plow ahead. CBR 5,500(2018 CBR: 3,644)
- Coveros – Helps organizations achieve business results by delivering solutions with greater speed, flexibility, and quality than traditional approaches. CBR: 227,987 (2017 DBR: N/A)
- Custom Ink – Custom Ink is the leader in custom apparel and accessories for groups and occasions. CBR: N/A
- Eastbanc – Eastbanc is a full-service software development company focused on cloud, mobile, enterprise, and business intelligence solutions. CBR: N/A
- FiscalNote – FiscalNote uses artificial intelligence and big data to deliver predictive analytics of governmental action to determine its impact. CBR: N/A
- Framebridge – The simple way to custom frame everything you love. CBR: 4,094 (2017 CBR: 1,278)
- Fugue (formerly Luminal) – Was on the Late Harry Weller’s (of NEA) “companies to watch list.” Fugue has invented a new way to protect applications in the cloud. Has raised over $75 Million including $41 Million from NEA this January.Been a little quiet for a while. CBR 5,556 (2017 CBR: 5,549)
- GoCanvas – GoCanvas helps organizations automate their business processes, eliminate paperwork and collect and share information via mobile devices. CBR 5,556 (2017 CBR: 4,539)
- Hatch – Enables anyone to deploy software. Without code. Instantly. CBR 6964.
- Hilton – Come on don’t make me explain who they are. If you stayed in a Hilton lately, you know why I call them a tech company. CBR 669 (2017 CBR: 22,589)
- Homesnap – Homesnap is an online platform that provides real estate services. CBR 3062
- Hurdlr – Hurdlr is a mobile app for independent workers, freelancers and solopreneurs. Self-funded, mix superior strategy with flawless execution. This one is on its way to thinghood. Raj Bhaskar is one of the smartest, most disciplined and focused CEOs I’ve ever met. The founder of this puppy bootstrapped a real estate app to a profitable company and a nice private exit. CBR 73,625 (2017 CBR: 71,319)
- ICX Media – Data analytics platform and marketplace that connects creators to opportunities across web, mobile and connected TV channels and apps. CBR N/A (2017 CBR: 4,512)
- ID.me – it’s an identity management thing
- Kajeet – Kajeet offers kids and teens with mobile phones with prepaid options, parental controls, and GPS tracking features. CBR: 21,574 (2017 CBR: 15,845)
- LogiAnalytics – Logi Analytics offers a web-based reporting and data visualization platform that provides business intelligence solutions. CBR: N/A
- Marigold & Grey – Marigold & Grey offers everything needed to create the perfect wedding welcome gift…tote bags, reusable shopping bags, boxes, baskets as well as gourmet snacks, candy, toiletries, region-specific souvenirs and small keepsakes. Gifts are fully assembled by M&G and shipped nationwide. CBR: N/A
- Measure – Aerial Drones as a Service. CBR: N/A
- Mercaris – Market data service and trading platform for organic and non-GMO agricultural commodities. We provide up-to-date, accurate information for identity-preserved agricultural markets. Our goal to help the sustainable agricultural sector to grow. CBR: 19,848 (2017 CBR: 22,924)
- Modus Create – product strategy and solutions design expertise in digital media and publishing, enterprise, and mobile applications. CBR: 93,496 (2017 CBR: 91,664)
- MPOWER Financing – lends to high-promise international students at top US universities. CBR 5,694 (2017 CBR: 3,565)
- nClud – nClud provides web-based strategy, design, and development solutions for its clients. CBR: 175,664 (2017 CBR: 107,226)
- NTELX – NTELX solutions provide decision automation for the broader market, so everyone can be sure their resources are dedicated to the most important work. CBR: 379,605 (2017 CBR: 252,312)
- Owl Analytics – Predictive Data Quality provides a faster and more elegant way to manage your datasets by learning through observation rather than rules. CBR 30,397
- Optoro – Help companies sell excess and returned inventory. CBR 2,272 (2017 CBR: 1,754)
- Ordway – New to this years list, Ordway, is a billing and revenue automation platform. CBR 11,170
- Phone2Action– Phone2Action creates mobile, web and voice tools that organizations use to engage their employees and supporters. CBR: 9,149 (2017 CBR: 11,163)
- Pie Insurance – Pie Insurance is a new workers’ compensation insurer with a direct distribution model and a fully digital experience. CBR 4,347
- Plants Map – Makes custom, interactive plant tags and signs that connect mobile devices to information about that particular plant. CBR: 77,883 (2017 CBR: 60,750)
- PrepFactory – Provides high-quality standardized test preparation videos from the best instructors in America. For free. Test takers can watch videos online and, if needed, get personalized instruction from a competitive marketplace of user-rated tutors and application coaches available on-demand 24 hours a day. CBR: N/A
- Qrvey – Feedback Automation platform, brought to you by the founder of Logi Analytics. CBR: 33,660
- Radius Networks –Radius Networks is the leading provider of mobile proximity technologies used by app developers. CBR: N/A
- Recity – Recity reveals the entire pipeline of new real estate developments, with custom analytics to power your deals. New to the list. This Husband and Wife Team are competent, serious, and on to something. Recity is a Zillow for property developers. Another analogy would be that property management gorilla Costar, serves the sell side while Recity addresses the buy side of this market. CBR: 31,470 (2017 CBR: 24900)
- Retrium – Retrium makes agile retrospective easy and effective, whatever that means. CBR: 26,956
- Ringio – Ringio offers a CRM-friendly phone-based solution for small businesses to enhance the customer engagement. CBR: 38,284 (2017 CBR: 42,579)
- RunSafe Security – RunSafe Security is the pioneer of a unique cyber hardening technology for vulnerable embedded systems and devices. CBR: 17,535
- Snag (Formerly Snagajob) – Offers hourly workers and hourly employers the tools they need to make instant and quality connections with each other. CBR: N/A
- SnobSwap – Empowering resale stores with e-commerce solutions to keep pace with the explosion of online shopping. CBR N/A
- Stardog Union – A tech company which provides an enterprise data unification platform built on smart graph technology. CBR: 5,476 (2017 CBR: 5,891)
- SworKit (formerly Nexercise) – Mobile workout application. CBR: 8,196 (2017 CBR: 13,620)
- Talk Local (Formerly Seva Call) – Connecting consumers to companies. CBR: 14,367 (2017 CBR: 15,724)
- Tech2000 – Because you can’t not like Tien Wong. Tech 2000, is an Apple Authorized and Cisco Certified training company featuring some of the most creative and customized training. CBR: N/A
- Technology Rivers – Enterprise software development company applications. CBR: 249,610 (2017 CBR: 269,670)
- Territory (formerly Power Supply) – Territory is prepared meal service company that focuses on delicious and healthy meals pre-made by professional chefs. CBR:8,050 (2017 CBR: 5,173)
- Thinking Storm – Completely bootstrapped profitable EdTech company that is a DC secret. CBR: N/A
- TransitScreen – First time on the list because Sean Griffey and Dave Sandrowitz like the company. A software platform for real-time transportation and city information. CBR: 10,690
- UpsideDoor – Built a better way to sell a home and are helping our customers keep thousands more. How could you not love a company run by Bobby Siani and Ric Fleisher CBR: 19,546 (2017 CBR: 94,923)
- Urbanstems – Hello, happiness! Stunning bouquets delivered on demand in NYC & DC, starting at just $35 with free delivery. CBR: 5,779 (2017 CBR: 5,220)
- Urgent.ly – Roadside assistance service that provides facilities through mobile apps and websites. CBR: 4,519 (2017 CBR: 7,983)
- Venga – CRM and business intelligence platform for restaurants to analyze their customers’ purchases, habits and preferences. CBR: 13,971
- Wireless Registry – Contextual Awareness of Wireless Things and Spaces. CBR: 15,590 (2017 CBR: 11,322)
- Zoomdata – Zoomdata is a next-generation data visualization and analytics system optimized for real-time and historical big data backends. Don’t know what’s going on these guys have a been a little too quiet. CBR 4,483 (2017 CBR: 1,856)
- Zoomph – Zoomph is an audience insight and engagement platform for marketers looking to understand their consumers on a human level. CBR 30,007 (2017 CBR: 22,541)
Status Change Off The List
- Caarmo Caarmo is Fitbit for your car. – Is a North Carolina Company
- CHIEF – acquired by ByteCubed
- Interfolio – Acquired. Nearly 20 years in the making. Interfolio, founded in 1999 raises $15 million and sells in 2018 for a reported $110 million.
- Qu (formerly Gusto POS) – Investors axed the founders, the company has rebranded and appears to be flailing. I don’t hate them I just don’t think about them.
- Revmetrix – No longer a thing.
- Social Tables – Acquired for a reported $100 million cash deal by local company Cvent.
- TrackMaven – Reportedly merged or acquired. The number was not reported.
- YoSabe – seems to be no more
The DC Tech Companies I Don’t Not Hate
- 3SI Venture Capital – This isn’t a company, it’s a clown car driven by one clown, Jason Feimster.
- Basket Savings – I’ve been warned that you must receive your cash up front if you’re going to do any work for them.
- Chalant Health – Investor Beware! These guys are raising money and as I checked them out… this is a goldmine! When I say goldmine, I don’t mean for investors, I mean for blog dirt.
- Lifefuels – 2 Year Consumer Electronics Show Innovation Award Winner… pretty good for a 4-year-old company that has never shipped a product. Hurry up and get yourself on the waiting list. All hype, no execution.
- MicroStrategy – Michael Saylor, his stockholders hate him. One of the most successful exited DCTech entrepreneurs he’s doing very little for the DCTech scene… he’s no Steve Case. The positive redeeming quality of MicroStrategy is all the great people left that company to found strong DC Tech companies like Clarabridge, ZoomData, Ringio, and 10Pearls.
- Nehemiah Security – I know nothing about them except there’s a senior exec that I’ve dealt with in a past life who is shady. Very Shady President. I wouldn’t do business with anyone who would hire that guy (hint, he’s on this blog and he’s not Peter Noce). Update 12/22- one of my trustworthy readers saw Nehemiah on the list and said the CEO is also a problem. So the top two execs have dubious reputations.
- Surefire Local – CEO, Chris Marentis can’t put together 2 sentences without saying um 10 times. He’s been through 6 VP of Sales in 4 years. Maybe the fact that the company can’t make their number has something to do with the only guy who hasn’t changed… the CEO. AddThis seemed to do well as soon as the VCs fired Marentis. Maybe if he didn’t change his strategy and company name more often than his panties, his team could execute.
- Trustify – Do you have to even ask? Will be on the list of companies out of business in the next list.
- Union – Evan Burfield has killed more companies than Terminix killed roaches. Here’s he’s trying to sell a software, to startup ecosystem companies that can’t afford it, often go out of business and can get the same thing for free.
I Know Them… And Intentionally Left Them Off The List Although Hate Is Probably A Strong Word… Maybe Just Don’t Like.
- 3Pillar – Just so many people I know, like and respect who have stories about how this company screwed them over.
- Sky Creek – Listed by me last year as a Hidden Gem. I blew this call. The only guy in a leadership position from this company retired and the remaining guys are subject matter experts with no business expertise. They live in a hefty bag. I don’t hate this company, but I don’t respect it any longer.