January 2, 2015

The 5 Trends of 2014

We can't ring in 2015 until we look back at the big trends that hit DC tech in 2014. (Yup, we DVR'd Ryan Seacrest and are still holding our full glass of champagne.) Going down memory lane wasn't half bad

Companies Were Funded

2014 was by no means the best year for DC tech companies raising angel funds and venture capital. But plenty of companies did, making the community that much stronger. Some of the companies that raised money included LiveSafe ($6.5M), Speek ($5.1M), XAPPMedia ($3M), Salsa Labs ($5M), Triblio ($3.4M), Fundrise ($31M), Aspire ($400k), Zoomdata ($17M), Optoro ($50M), Canvas ($9M) and TrackMaven ($14M). 

They Expanded Their Square Footage

Several DC tech firms added employees, requiring bigger offices. Here's MicroPact's newly expanded HQ in Herndon. Some moved out of co-working space and incubators into their first HQ, and others set up camp near one of the new Silver Line metro stops. And as we recently reported, the real estate community expects to see even more tech taking up office space. Some of the 2014 expansion included EverFi, Tahzoo, Track Maven, Viget Labs, Social Tables, Cvent, Eastbanc Technologies and Clarabridge.

Women in Tech Blew Up

We're officially crowning 2014 the year of the tech woman. Not only did the number of DC women tech entrepreneurs increase but so did the number of organizations teaching them tech skills like Python, Ruby on Rails and Java. The growth inspired the launch of DCFemTech, an organization that collaborates on events and training. It also created a shared online calendar of tech and networking events. (See our Women in Tech profiles.)

More Help Was Offered

Business leaders realized there was something special about the DC tech scene and launched organizations to get to the next level. Some of them were incubators and accelerators like the Simulation & Gaming Institute at GMU and the bioscience accelerator launched by Prince William County. TandemNSI launched to connect startups with national security agencies and the Eastern Foundry incubator opened its doors to help companies navigate government procurement. Virginia's MACH37 incubator has churned out 17 new cybersec companies since late 2013. S&R Foundation opened Halcyon House (above) to incubate startups focused on solving social problems. Crystal Tech Fund made $50M available to tech startups and offers them space in Crystal City. The DC government started offering $1M in grants through its Digital DC Tech Fund. 

Companies Were Acquired

DC tech attracted the eyes (and wallets) of companies looking for acquisition targets. Several were scooped up, which always worries the community about whether they'll move outside of the region. So far many are keeping their DC presence, including HelloWallet (acquired by Morningstar for $52.5M) and Vocus (acquired by Cision for $450M). Other DC area acquisitions in 2014 included FireEye buying nPulse for $60M in cash, Haystax bought NetCentrics, and Metalogix was acquired by European PE firm Permira.

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More Giving Back

Continuing our feature on DC area tech companies that give back to the community, we learned HP Enterprise Security Products US Public Sector gave a percentage of sponsor proceeds from its HP Protect event to Federal IT Security Institute Foundation's Wounded Warrior Cyber Combat Academy. The company also works with the academy to train Wounded Warriors in the tech behind cybersecurity. The company also sponsors the Children's Inn, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund for the Education Center at The Wall and the Robert Packard Center for ALS Research at Johns Hopkins.

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Driving App Hits Milestone

Remember studying for your driving test with a paper pamphlet of all the rules of driving? (And if you don't, let us know when you'll be on the road, so we can take the Metro.) Maryland started offering practice driving test apps on iOS and Android three years ago and just announced that it hit the 500,000 downloads mark. The app generates a random series of 25 questions, and users can take the test as many times as needed. They can also post their results on Facebook and Twitter. Say goodbye to old-fashioned bragging during homeroom.  

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What are your predictions for DC tech in 2015? Tell Bisnow's Tania Anderson

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