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Biz Talk: Promising Start to 2021 for Arlington’s Innovation Ecosystem

This article was written by Adam Henry, CEcD, Business Development Manager for Arlington Economic Development.

This month, Arlington Economic Development is celebrating innovation and all the business community members that contribute to the innovation economy. From venture capital raises to project announcements, Arlington has kicked off 2021 with great momentum in many areas that contribute to our innovation ecosystem.

In January 2021, Microsoft announced its decision to grow its presence in the Washington, D.C. area with a new lease at 1300 Wilson Boulevard in Arlington for its DMV Sales Headquarters. According to a LinkedIn post by Toni Townes-Whitley, President of U.S. Regulated Industries at Microsoft, “[the] new offices will feature a Microsoft Technology Center, state-of-the-art customer facilities, and innovative employee workspaces to support collaboration and innovation.”

In February 2021, Governor Northam announced the location of ZEBOX in Arlington as part of a larger announcement for the Commonwealth. According to the press release, “ZEBOX will assist innovative start-ups in developing new technologies for transportation, logistics, mobilities, and industry 4.0.” This was a great win for Arlington County as the community continues to expand its offerings of co-working and incubator spaces for tech startups.

Also announced in February 2021 was George Mason University’s President’s Advisory Council. This council, comprised of business executives and community leaders in the region, including AED’s director, Telly Tucker, will provide strategic guidance and advocacy to the University’s Arlington innovation initiatives.

Last month, DeepSig announced the opening of its 5G Wireless AI Lab in Rosslyn. According to the press release, “The lab includes an end-to-end 5G network using state-of-art, commercial grade, multi-vendor products and tools. The 5G Wireless AI Lab focuses on measuring and validating machine learning software on over-the-air calls and data using 5G Open virtual radio access network (vRAN) and signal classification for dynamic spectrum allocation and interference mitigation.”

Finally, 2021 has been a great year thus far for venture activity for Arlington-based companies. Since the beginning of 2021, notable deals include Stacklet’s announcement that it secured $18 million Series A funding and WireWheel’s announcement that it raised $20 million in Series B funding. Additionally, CareerGig announced the acquisition of Charlottesville, Virginia-based Moonlighting, a SaaS platform that empowers individuals to build their freelancer profiles and allows businesses to hire talented professionals quickly and affordably, according to a January press release.

All these announcements contribute to the success of Arlingtonʼs innovation ecosystem by helping the community attract and expand the businesses, talent and venture funding to make Arlington an ideal hub for innovation.

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