Innovators & Disruptors: The 2017 Tech 25

by Editorial

Art by Cris Clapp Logan.

Our third annual Tech 25 highlights individuals (or teams) who are making noteworthy contributions to the technological landscape of our city, whether it be through a newly-launched company, the continued development of an already-existing brand, or as funders and supporters of entrepreneurs. All were nominated by their peers, and all exhibit unparalleled exuberance, dedication and focus – likely because they are doing undeniably cool and impactful things. We also take a look at the robots among us, indispensable mobile phone gadgets, the digital sports network that is transforming how fans interact with their favorite teams and a local museum that is using cutting-edge technology to wow visitors. The future, dear readers, is here.

Jenny Abramson | Founder and Managing Partner, Rethink Impact (Twitter: @abramsonjenny)

Abramson leads the largest U.S.-based impact venture capital firm investing in female leaders using technology to tackle major challenges in health, education, environmental sustainability and economic empowerment. In March, the firm partnered with UBS Wealth Management Americas to raise more than $110 million dollars for their fund. The venture capitalist previously served as CEO of LiveSafe, a mobile security company focused on preventing school shootings and sexual assaults.

Serene Al-Momen | Co-Founder and CEO, Senseware (@SereneMomen)

“Every building contains a wealth of data,” says Al-Momen. Her Internet of Things (IoT) company, Senseware, uses software, hardware and cloud data technology to tap into that information including temperature, energy usage, air quality and water consumption in apartments and office buildings. Such data allows managers and engineers to monitor and control building systems in real time. It’s “smart building” technology that saves energy and ensures residents and workers are in a safe and secure environment. In January alone, the company was issued five patents related to wireless sensors that can be used in commercial buildings.

Aerica Banks | Patent Policy Analyst, Google (Twitter: @erikashimizu)

Banks monitors the legislative and legal patent landscape and integrates diversity initiatives into Google’s patent strategy. As part of Google’s efforts to bring more diverse voices into technology, she also leads the company’s sponsorship of BEACON, an initiative launched by D.C. area tech leaders in 2016 to support women entrepreneurs.

Michael Beckerman | President and CEO, The Internet Association (Twitter: @InternetAssn)

Beckerman represents the interests of leading global internet companies, with a focus on fostering innovation and empowering people through a free and open Internet. In September, he announced a private sector commitment of more than $300 million dedicated to K-12 computer science programs to complement a presidential memorandum that directs the Department of Education to expand access to STEM and computer science education. The contributions were led by association members Amazon, Facebook, Google and Microsoft.

Dan Berger | Founder and CEO, Social Tables (Twitter: @danberger)

Berger’s award-winning software platform, Social Tables, has been used to source, plan and execute nearly two million events since 2011. Earlier this year, the former congressional staffer rallied members of the tech community to sign an open letter to President Donald Trump in protest of his immigration policies.

Teresa Carlson | Vice President, World Wide Public Sector, Amazon Web Services (Twitter: @teresacarlson)

Carlson’s been credited with putting Amazon Web Services (AWS), a division of Amazon that provides cloud computing solutions for individuals, corporations and government, “on the map.” In 2016, AWS reached an unprecedented $12 billion in sales, cementing itself as a leader in the cloud computing space, ahead of Microsoft, Google and IBM.

Eastern Foundry’s Andrew Chang, WeWork’s Jordan McBride and Amelia Friedman of Hatch.

Andrew Chang | Co-Founder and CEO, Eastern Foundry (Twitter: @andrew_chang11)

A former counter-intelligence company commander in the U.S. Army, Chang leads Eastern Foundry, a technology incubator and co-working and networking space for government contractors. The group boasts over 200 member companies and has offices in Rosslyn and Crystal City, with plans to expand to Tysons Corner in 2018.

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Zach Christenson | Co-Founder and CEO, Crowdskout (Twitter: @zackchristenson)

Crowdskout is a data management and marketing platform that helps campaigns and non-profit and advocacy groups analyze their data, track engagement, send emails and manage personnel. The company was founded in 2014 and has since raised over $4 million in funding. It hit its stride during the 2016 presidential campaign when clients included the Republican National Committee. “Our software
was powering all their field operations, Christenson says. “We had over 1,000 RNC staffers using it on a daily basis.”

Max Duckworth and Sarah Godlewski | Co-Founders, MaSa partners (Twitter: @MaxRDuck and @SarahGodlewski)

The husband-and-wife team behind MaSa Partners, a social impact venture firm that invests in companies seeking to shape a better future, first met in 2013 on a regional volunteer board of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. The idea began to percolate then and by 2015 they had formed their for-profit entity to invest in early-stage, socially responsible companies in a financially sustainable manner. To date, they have invested in agriculture, renewable energy and healthcare startups, including mOm Incubators, a portable inflatable baby incubator for preventing neonatal complications.

Amelia Friedman | Co-Founder and COO, Hatch (Twitter: @ameliafriedman)

Hatch, an automated app development platform, enables companies and individuals to develop custom apps without knowing code for a fraction of the cost of hiring a software development firm. The company has grown from two to 17 employees in the first year. Friedman also helped launch the Vinetta Project in D.C, an organization which supports and backs female tech founders in the Washington area.

Kate Goodall | CEO, Halcyon (Twitter: @goodallkate)

Goodall is the strategic force behind Halcyon, a non-profit which supports innovators with aspirations in science, art and social entrepreneurship. She helped develop and launch the prestigious Halcyon Incubator, which has shepherded 55 ventures that went on to raise more than $23 million in funding, create more than 360 jobs and impact half a million lives around the world. In 2016, Goodall aided Halcyon founder Sachiko Kuno and Salamander Hotels and Resorts CEO Sheila C. Johnson in creating WE Capital, a consortium of local female investors supporting gender diverse and women-led companies.

Kyle Hendrick | Founder and General Partner, Arab Angel Fund (Twitter: @ArabAngelFund)

Hendrick’s early stage venture capital firm helps U.S.-based startups enter the Middle Eastern, North African and Western Asian markets. In October, the firm announced it was closing its $25 million dollar flagship fund after raising an additional $15 million from high net worth individuals and private family offices in the Middle East. “The oversubscription is a testament to the growing demand from the region for early stage venture investing in North America,” Hendrick says, “as well as an interest to diversify into an asset class that invests in cutting-edge technologies.”

Todd Hitt | CEO, Kiddar Capital (Twitter: @toddhitt)

This year, real estate and construction veteran Todd Hitt’s private equity firm Kiddar Capital launched the Big World Fund aimed at investing in companies with innovative technology that modernizes America’s most fundamental industries: real estate, construction, automation and logistics. “This fund is the natural next step for Kiddar’s growth,” Hitt says. “We are on the verge of the next industrial revolution.” Hitt has million of his private capital at work in his technology portfolio.

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Big World has thus far invested in the likes of energy management company Aquicore, known as “a Fitbit for buildings,” and Building Connected, a tool that revolutionizes the construction bid management process.

Rachel Holt | Vice President and Regional General Manager, Uber (Twitter: @RachelJHolt)

The District-based Uber executive who oversees the company’s business in over 200 cities across the United States and Canada say she sometimes moonlights as a driver to “see where the pain parts are.” Holt, who helped launch Uber’s Washington office before rising through the ranks to senior management, unveiled her secret at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Next Gen Summit last year. “You learn so much about what the driver experience is from actually doing it,” she said.

KnoNap’s Danya Sherman, Scoop News Group’s Goldy Kamali and Michael Beckerman of the Internet Association.

Goldy Kamali | Founder and CEO, Scoop News Group (Twitter: @goldykamali)

Kamali’s Scoop News Group, a government technology news, information and events platform which she launched nine years ago as a single newsletter has grown into four full media properties—CyberScoop, FedScoop, StateScoop and EdScoop—each with its own website, daily newsletter and video offerings. Her properties boast one million monthly web visitors and half a million subscribers.

Marc Katz | Chairman and CEO, Custom Ink (Twitter: @marc_katz)

Fairfax, Va.-based CustomInk has created over 60 million custom t-shirts, hoodies, bags and hats since launching online 17 years ago, when Katz left a job on Wall Street to start the company with two former college pals. The gamble paid off. CustomInk has raised over $40 million in funding, the bulk of it from Revolution Growth. Revolution’s co-founder Ted Leonsis sits on the company’s board of directors. In 2016, the retailer made over $300 million in sales.

Jonathan Marks and Alex Wirth | Co-Founders, Quorum (Twitter: @QuorumAnalytics)

While still undergraduates at Harvard University in 2013, Marks and Wirth founded Quorum Analytics, a data analytics platform that helps break down the workings of Congress, including tracking legislation and who is most active on certain issues. Today, the company hails itself as “the world’s most comprehensive database of legislative information.” It’s a product in high demand from lobbyists and activists looking to target members, as well as from Senators and congressmen themselves who want to know who they can work with to get things done. High-profile subscribers include Walmart, Lyft, GM, The Podesta Group and the National Restaurant Association.

Anna Mason of Revolution’s Rise of the Rest.

Anna Mason | Director of Investments, Rise of the Rest (Twitter: @AnnaMasonDC)

Mason helps guide the strategy for Revolution’s Rise of the Rest campaign, a nationwide effort to find and support entrepreneurs. The brainchild of Steve Case, the campaign and bus tour has traveled 8,000 miles to 33 cities and counting. A pitch competition at each stop results in the winner taking home a $100,000 investment from Case. Mason manages the bus tours and the web platform, and maintains contact with companies who have received investments from her boss. She is also the co-director of the Vinetta Project in D.C., an organization that helps empower early-stage female founders.

Jordan McBride | Operations Manager, WeWork DC (Twitter: @JT_McBride)

McBride oversees operations and logistical support across ten buildings and 10,000 desks in the D.C. area for co-working juggernaut WeWork. The company’s most recent valuation tops $20 billion, making it the fourth most valuable startup in the U.S. after Uber, Airbnb and SpaceX.

Nigel Morris | Co-Founder and Managing Partner | QED Investors (Twitter: @QEDInvestors)

The founder and former President and CEO of Capital One Financial Services now uses his vast knowledge of the consumer lending industry to invest in disruptive financial technology companies around the globe. Current investments include online lending platform Avant, credit score tracker Credit Karma and Zopa, the UK’s leading peer to peer lending service. In October, QED took part in the largest-announced venture capital funding of 2017 in Latin America when it contributed to a $39 million round for Brazilian financial hub startup GuiaBolso.

Laura O’Shaughnessy | Co-Founder and CEO, Social Code (Twitter: @SocialCodeInc)

SocialCode, founded in 2010 by O’Shaughnessy, a granddaughter of the Washington Post’s Katharine Graham, manages digital advertising for large international brands, including Capital One, Visa and Nestlé, across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Snapchat. The platform also analyzes media engagement, giving its customers invaluable insight about their audiences. In 2017, SocialCode acquired Israeli predictive marketing technology platform MentAd, widening its international reach.

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James Quigley | Co-Founder and CEO, GoCanvas (Twitter: @James_Quigley)

Quigley’s GoCanvas helps businesses save time and eliminate paperwork by allowing them to create forms such as work orders and invoices via a mobile app. Since launching in 2008, GoCanvas has raised over $29 million in funding, grown to over 100 employees and is used by businesses in 70 countries. Fun fact: their technology has replaced more than 35 million paper forms—enough paper to wrap around the Earth two times.

Danya Sherman | Founder and CEO, KnoNap (Twitter @Real_KnoNap)

Whiles studying abroad in 2016, Sherman was drugged at a party by a person she considered a friend. The experience served as the inspiration for KnoNap, a detection device disguised as a napkin that detects rape drugs. KnoNap formally launches in December. Sherman says she is passionate about combining human rights and technology innovation to create lasting, sustainable social change.

Archana Vemulapalli | CTO, District of Columbia (Twitter: @dccto)

As the District’s chief technology officer, Vemulapalli established the nation’s capital as a global leader in Smart City innovation, working to improve efficiency and productivity in the local workforce. She is also helping to lead East Coast expansion of the San Francisco-based Startup in Residence, which connects government agencies with startups to develop technology products that address civic challenges.

Tammy Wincup | COO, EverFi (Twitter: @tmwincup)

EverFi is the nation’s largest online education network. More than 15,000 schools, colleges and universities now use the platform to teach off- curriculum subjects such as digital and financial literacy, harassment prevention and health and wellness. The company raised $190 million in Series D funding in 2017.

Innovators and Disruptors Hall of Fame 

Reggie Aggarwal
Charlene Brown
Michelle Brown
Evan Burfield
Steve Case
Alan Clifford
Gregory Coleman
Kevin Conroy
Ian Costello
Jack Davies
Donn Davis
Mark Ein
Phil Esterman
Trever Faden
Raul Fernandez
Allen Gannett
Miles Gilburn
Kate Glantz
Sean Glass
Shana Glenzer
John Gossart
Paul Guthrie
Richard Hanlon
Donna Harris
Gary Hensley
Yuriko Horvath
Mariama Kabia
Jim Kimsey
Ajay Kori
Daniel Kuenzi
Ted Leonsis
Zach Leonsis
Ben Lundin
Meagan Metzger
Jose David McPeek
Ben Miller
Todd Moore
Mario Morino
Carey Anne Nadeau
Rob McGovern
Bill O’Hara
Geoff Orazem
Garrett O’Shea
Dale Nirvani Pfeifer
Rep. Jared Polis
Jon Powers
Susanna Quinn
Sage Salvo
Steve Senkus
Juan Pablo Segura
Fred Schaufeld
Jeff Sheely
Eric Shih
Alex Skatell
Manu Smadja
Chris Spanos
Lisa Throckmorton
Susan Tynan
Benjamin Young
Daniel Yu
George Vradenburg
Mark Walsh
Mark Warner
Elise Whang
Tom Wheeler
Stacie Whisonant

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