Meet 50 players changing Greater Washington’s startup and innovation scene

Jul 9 2021

The original article was published on Washington Business Journal on July 8, 2021 by Sara Gilgore

It’s time, once again, to single out the Greater Washington companies, investors and players who are setting its startup ecosystem ablaze.

That’s right. We’re unveiling the 50 winners of the Washington Business Journal and DC Inno Fire Awards of 2021. The honorees range from nascent to mature, across industry and geography within the DMV.

These are companies that closed new rounds of funding, launched new products, reinvented themselves and not only survived the pandemic, but helped others through the crisis as well. They are growing headcount, expanding their footprints within and beyond the region, promoting equity and elevating the local startup universe. They are founders and funders, first-time business owners and seasoned executives, builders and believers.

They are all on fire.

We compiled this list from a combination of audience nominations, expert input and editorial coverage. Some have made the list previously; most have not. Of course, it’s impossible to highlight every impressive innovator in this ecosystem. But each member of this group deserves the recognition — and we will tell you why.

Keep an eye out for more about these companies in mid-August, when we’ll also be revealing a top “blazer” from each category and celebrating the honorees at our virtual event.

Until then, read on for this year’s winners.


Consumer tech


  • Everything Legendarya Hyattsville company whose vegan burger patty made its debut at a District community center, then on ABC’s “Shark Tank.”
  • Puzzle Huddlea D.C. family-owned business with jigsaw puzzles and other products depicting diverse, career-driven characters.
  • Holistic Industries Inc.a D.C. cannabis operator with products, growing and processing facilities, and dispensary locations spreading across the country.
  • Remodelmatea College Park startup with a marketplace for bathroom remodeling projects.

Cybersecurity, software & IT

  • ScienceLogica Reston software company whose products allow customers to monitor applications and systems across their networks.
  • ID.mea McLean unicorn that helps customers manage and verify their online identities.
  • Xometry Inc.a Derwood startup whose artificial intelligence-based platform matches engineers and product designers with manufacturers.
  • Base Operationsa D.C. safety startup that helps security professionals protect company staff and provides information to business travelers.
  • ThreatQuotient Inc.a Reston software startup that provides threat data and cybersecurity tools.
  • ChurnZeroa D.C. customer retention software firm with a platform to help reduce customer loss and boost retention for its client companies.

Biotech & life sciences


Health care


Inno picks


  • Meagan Metzgerfounder and CEO of Dcode, a D.C. accelerator that connects tech companies with the federal market.
  • Sally Allain, who’s leading Johnson & Johnson Innovation’s JLabs incubator at Children’s National Hospital’s campus at Walter Reed, which is now live.
  • Shelly Bellfounder and CEO of Black Girl Ventures, a District nonprofit that connects female founders of color with opportunities and resources.
  • Alfred Duncan, a musician and entrepreneur who created Black Men Ventures to foster access to capital for Black male founders.
  • Juliana Cardona Mejiafounder and CEO of D.C. nonprofit Street Entrepreneurs, which runs an accelerator for underrepresented entrepreneurs.
  • Dahna Goldstein, who’s overseeing impact investing for D.C. social entrepreneurship nonprofit Halcyon.
  • Patty Simontondirector of Bethesda Green’s Be Green Business program, whose programming supports startups addressing environmental challenges.

Read original article here: /