A Crystal City-based startup is planning to add 184 jobs here as part of an expansion, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced Monday.
Trustify, which moved into new offices overlooking Long Bridge Park earlier this year, is planning to spend just over $1 million on building and equipment costs associated with the expansion. The 184 jobs are expected to be added over a period of three years, according to Virginia Economic Development Partnership.
A VEDP spokeswoman said Trustify will be eligible for nearly $120,000 in state reimbursement for job recruitment and training.
Trustify is a sort of “Uber-for-PIs,” using the internet to connect businesses and consumers with trained private investigators. It makes money by taking a cut of the hourly fee charged to customers.
In a press release, McAuliffe and other officials, including Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette and state Sen. Adam Ebbin, heaped praise on Trustify for its rapid expansion.
“Trustify’s impressive growth in a short amount of time is a strong example of what high-tech, entrepreneurial companies can accomplish in the Commonwealth,” said the governor. “Arlington County and the Northern Virginia region are home to a dynamic IT industry… We are proud to have this innovative business in the Commonwealth contributing to the new Virginia economy, and look forward to Trustify’s continued success.”
Trustify President Jennifer Mellon, in turn, lauded Arlington County as a place to do business.
“We decided on Arlington, Virginia for many reasons,” Mellon said. “The community here in Arlington is a fantastic place in which to work and commute. Arlington provides employers and employees many benefits and advantages that are not available in other areas and communities. We believe the DC Metro area, in general, is a beacon of inclusive innovation with some of the best percentages of women and diversity in tech compared to the rest of the country. We have transportation, office, and community options and benefits that made this area the clear choice for Trustify.”
Trustify says it raised $6.6 million in new funding this year, according to the Washington Business Journal. With that funding the company hopes to grow and capture more of the U.S. private investigations market. Figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics suggest that Trustify is after at least a $1.5 billion dollar market; there are some 28,500 private investigators nationwide making an average annual wage of around $53,500 a year, according to the BLS.
By the numbers, the company is one of the hottest tech startups in Arlington, but it is not without its critics. It has a very vocal, persistent critic in Glen Hellman, a local tech scene commentator and strategist who also goes by the nickname “Mr. Cranky.”
Hellman ripped what he characterized as an uncritical Washington Business Journal article on the governor’s Trustify announcement, despite being mentioned in that very article.
“It’s a good thing Washington Business Journal doesn’t have a sports page because they’d be writing headlines about every kid who ever received a participation trophy for being the bench warmer on the worst team in the lowest league of some minor 3rd grade soccer team,” Hellman said in an incendiary blog post this morning. “I believe the reason Trustify puts out these press releases is to counter any bad press they receive, to push down the SEO of negative stories and obfuscate… the truth in order to raise money from poor unsuspecting widows and orphans.”
The full press release from the governor’s office, after the jump.
Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced that Trustify, an IT startup that connects clients to trained private investigators, will invest $1.04 million to expand its operation in Arlington County creating 184 new jobs.
“Trustify’s impressive growth in a short amount of time is a strong example of what high-tech, entrepreneurial companies can accomplish in the Commonwealth,” said Governor McAuliffe. “Arlington County and the Northern Virginia region are home to a dynamic IT industry, including cutting-edge degree programs that support a steady pipeline of talent for both established and emerging technology companies. We are proud to have this innovative business in the Commonwealth contributing to the new Virginia economy, and look forward to Trustify’s continued success.”
Trustify, founded in 2015, is the first technology platform to connect clients across the United States to the only nationwide network of highly trained, vetted private investigators. The company was founded on the premise that it would have a social mission, be fully data-driven, and built by the most talented and diverse team in the industry. Trustify values itself as a different kind of technology startup and works to make a true difference in the community.
“Trustify truly hit the ground running in Arlington County, and we’re excited to see the company’s rapid success,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Todd Haymore. “With one of the largest, most diverse tech workforces in the nation, Virginia is a world-class center for the IT sector, which also fosters our startup culture. Trustify’s unique and impactful mission will continue to attract top-notch talent and provide Virginians with jobs of the 21st century.”
“We decided on Arlington, Virginia for many reasons,” said Trustify Founder and President Jennifer Mellon. “The community here in Arlington is a fantastic place in which to work and commute. Arlington provides employers and employees many benefits and advantages that are not available in other areas and communities. We believe the DC Metro area, in general, is a beacon of inclusive innovation with some of the best percentages of women and diversity in tech compared to the rest of the country. We have transportation, office, and community options and benefits that made this area the clear choice for Trustify.”
The Virginia Economic Development Partnership will support Trustify’s new job creation through its Virginia Jobs Investment Program (VJIP). VJIP provides consultative services and funding to companies creating new jobs or experiencing technological change to support employee training activities. As a business incentive supporting economic development, VJIP reduces the human resource costs of new and expanding companies. VJIP is state-funded, demonstrating Virginia’s commitment to enhancing job opportunities for its citizens.
“Trustify’s rapid expansion in Arlington is nothing less than extraordinary,” said Jay Fisette, Chair of the Arlington County Board. “We are thrilled to have the company as a partner in Arlington’s business community and believe our top-notch workforce will well serve the company as it continues to thrive.”
“Trustify’s growth is a testament to Northern Virginia’s burgeoning role as the nerve center for innovation and technology in the Mid-Atlantic region,” said Senator Adam Ebbin. “By expanding into Crystal City, Trustify has positioned itself to leverage Arlington’s world-class talent, highly educated workforce, and welcoming community toward future success in implementing its innovative business model.”
“I want to thank Trustify for expanding its business and making critical investments in Arlington,”said Delegate Rip Sullivan. “We were thrilled when this innovative company chose Crystal City for its new headquarters, and its further commitment to the region is more proof that Arlington continues to be a great place to start and grow a company thanks to its pro-business environment, highly skilled workforce, and strong infrastructure.”