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‘Red Hot’ local startups spotlighted during event in Rosslyn

Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups, founders, and other local technology news. Monday Properties is proudly featuring 1515 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn. 

Dozens of tech startups in the D.C. region were named “Red Hot Companies” at an event in Rosslyn last week.

During the two-hour DCA Live event, representatives from 41 startups nominated by the tech community as companies on the rise mingled with potential investors from banks, venture capital firms, nonprofits and others while enjoying drinks and various refreshments. The event was held at the Sands Capital office at 1000 Wilson Blvd.

DCA Live founder Doug Anderson gave each of the companies honored a framed certificate during a short award ceremony.

“This region has incredible talent, entrepreneurship and innovation, and I love how Doug is starting to galvanize it post-Covid,” said Scott Frederick, the managing partner of Sands Capital, in a speech. “It’s enormously important what he’s doing.”

Companies on the “Red Hot Companies” list in a group photo at the DCA Live event (staff photo by Mavis Chan)

Participants at the event said they enjoyed the networking opportunities it offered. Jeannie Plew, of SemaConnect, said she hoped to rub elbows with industry and technology leaders to learn best practices.

SemaConnect is a Maryland-based electric vehicle charging company that was recently acquired by Blink Charging for $200 million in February. This is the startup’s first time being on the Red Hot Companies list.

“I think it’s exciting because we are a red hot company, we’ve experienced high growth in the past 13 months,” Plew said.

Jennifer O’Daniel, a senior director at the nonprofit seed and early-stage investment fund Virginia Venture Partners of the Commonwealth’s Virginia Innovation Partnership Corporation, believed the event was “a great place to meet entrepreneurs.” She was a member of the host committee for the event.

Meanwhile, her organization has also invested in three of this year’s Red Hot Companies — the Ballston-based food catering service HUNGRY, the Ballston-based restaurant management software company MarginEdge and Crystal City-based customer service management software ChurnZero. Her organization specializes in investing in technology, life science and cleantech companies.

O’Daniel characterized the three startups as “tentpole companies,” which she described as companies that could “create wealth amongst its employees” and “start additional startups.”

People who went to work for startups at an early stage might later have the means, desire and managerial know-how to start their own venture, O’Daniel noted, thus helping to spur on “the next generation of startup companies.”

The event also attracted non-technology startups. Michael Gavin, co-founder of a new D.C.-based advertisement agency Uniic Marketing Solutions, said he was there for the networking opportunities.

Gavin said his company works with startups that, despite being technology-forward, often find out about the agency through decidedly old-fashioned (but effective) means: personal connections.

“Most of our clients so far — we have five within the year — they’ve all come from word of mouth,” he said. “If we can just carry that on, then we’re pretty much set.”

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