Arlington, VA

by Anna Merod March 12, 2018 at 11:50 am 0

Startup Monday header

Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.

(Updated at 12:05 p.m.) John Kaufhold had been working at NIH doing deep learning research, but realized he’d be better off working on his own.

So he quit his job in May of 2013 and began Deep Learning Analytics, which is currently based in Rosslyn, just a month later.

Deep learning finds patterns in data. Some examples of deep learning and artificial intelligence are Siri, when the technology learns a user’s voice and transcribes his or her words, and self-driving cars that learn roads and driving patterns over time.

At Deep Learning Analytics, data scientists specifically focus on the content of images, Kaufhold said. In other words, they find things in images and say what they are.

“You can do that in medical, supply chain management, you can do that in biology, you can do that in defense applications. So there are plenty of applications where you can get a lot of economic value from you have an image and then you have to say what’s in it,” Kaufhold said.

Some of the first projects Deep Learning Analytics worked on included analyzing combat casualty care and predicting school dropouts for Arlington Public Schools.

One of the biggest and most surprising projects the startup won was a government program by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) on analyzing radar images. DARPA was having a problem looking at radar images and could not get past a longstanding benchmark. Research into the problem had been abandoned for years. But then Kaufhold approached the project manager at DARPA proposing that deep learning could help.

So Deep Learning Analytics sent a proposal and within six weeks they were significantly outperforming the state of the art. As a result, they were awarded $6 million for the project and had beat out major government contractors such as Boeing, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin and only two people including Kaufhold worked on the proposal.

“It was really unusual that two people could write a proposal for a $6 million program and win it,” Kaufhold said. “It’s also crazy that not only did we win that we then won the next phase while competing the companies that should have been able to outperform us.”

In July 2017, Deep Learning Analytics was awarded another $6 million for the second phase of the project. Now the startup has gone from 2 employees in 2014 to 12 today.

In November, for the third year in a row, the startup was named the one of the county’s “Fast Four” fastest growing companies by Arlington Economic Development.

“It’s great to be recognized for our growth and it also speaks to Arlington as a place to grow a small business like ours especially in a space that’s really hard to recruit in, it’s really hard to find good data scientists and talent that can do things like deep learning and artificial intelligence,” Kaufhold said.

While Kaufhold said he’s honored by the recognition, he said there isn’t enough credit given to Deep Learning Analytics for its diversity. The startup currently has six men and six women on its team.

“That’s something I wish were recognized more in the Washington, D.C. area. I think we could be a better public beacon of that kind of leadership of women in this region,” he said.

by Vernon Miles November 26, 2018 at 11:45 am 0

Startup Monday header

Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.comStartup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.

Several Arlington startups have made an appearance on Deloitte’s top 500 fastest growing technology companies in 2018.

The annual “Fast 500” list looks at companies developing everything from entertainment to biotech nationwide. Overall, the survey found that the fastest growing industry sector was software, accounting for 64 percent of the total tech company growth over the last year. On the list were four Arlington software companies: Distil Networks, Mobile Posse, Fonteva, and Higher Logic.

The highest on the list was Distil Networks, ranked at number 131.

Distil Networks is a bot mitigation network that scans incoming data to filter out “bad bot” traffic hiding among the human and “good bot” information streams. The aim is to protect websites from data mining, spam and fraud.

“Founded in 2011, Distil was at the forefront of the bot problem before bots were part of everyday discourse, particularly surrounding social media and election meddling,” said Tiffany Olson Kleemann, CEO of Distil Networks. “We’re the experts at protecting websites, mobile apps, and APIs from automated attacks. We’re honored to be listed among so many esteemed and innovative companies solving some of today’s most challenging security and business problems.”

Over the last year, the company saw 872 percent growth. The company is located in Ballston at 4501 N. Fairfax Drive.

The next highest was Mobile Posse Inc. at number 237. Mobile Posse develops non-intrusive advertising on mobile devices, which delivers messages to locked screens and home screens. The company works with major North American phone carriers like Verizon Wireless and AT&T.

“Our experts at Mobile Posse are dedicated to creating new and innovative solutions to put the content people love at their fingertips,” said Jon Jackson, Founder and CEO of Mobile Posse, via email. “The ‘Fast 500’ is an award that punctuates our belief that we are moving into a new era of mobile content discovery, one where innovative solutions make it simple and easy for smartphone users to thrive and win.”

Jackson said one of the biggest events for the company over the last year was the launch of Firstly Mobile, a new platform that allows advertising content to be placed on the home screen and be accessible by swiping. The new product aimed at making advertising as “frictionless” as possible.

Jackson said soon after launch, Mobile Posse topped 7 million active daily users. Overall, Deloitte said the company saw 387 percent growth over the last year. The company is located in Ballston at 1010 N. Glebe Road.

At 286th on the list is Fonteva, a company that sets up membership software for associations and organizations.

“It is an honor to be recognized among so many talented companies,” said Jerry Huskins, Fonteva CEO and co-founder, in a press release. “Our past, present and future is a testament to the passion and engagement of our employees, customers, and partners. This combination is a force to be reckoned with and has resulted in a business with products that make us incredibly proud.”

Over the last year, Fonteva saw 291 percent growth. The company is located in Ballston at 4420 N. Fairfax Drive.

Higher Logic, a cloud-based engagement platform, sits at 348 on the list. The company offers organizations new ways to set up online communities and automate marketing.

The company, located in Rosslyn at 1919 N. Lynn Street, saw 228 percent growth over the last year.

by Airey October 16, 2019 at 4:15 pm 0

Arlington County is looking for more feedback on altering a section of Four Mile Run Trail and replacing the tennis courts at Bluemont Park, among other proposed changes.

“The goal of this Parks Maintenance Capital project is to replace the tennis court complex, lighting, restroom/storage, shelter, parking lot, site circulation, section of Four Mile Run Trail, site furnishing, drainage and landscaping in the Upper Bluemont area,” noted the county on its webpage for the project.

People are invited to attend a public meeting to share their thoughts and hear about the county’s goals on Tuesday, October 29 from 7-8:30 p.m. at Ashlawn Elementary School (601 N. Manchester Street.)

In addition to overhauling the tennis courts, shelter area, and the trail, Arlington is also aiming to make the new designs compliant with newer disability accessibility standards.

County staff began soliciting feedback online for the project back in June. The results from survey indicate that almost 40% of respondents frequently visit the park and that the tennis courts (which 45% of survey respondents reported using) and the trails (used by 75% of respondents) are among the most popular amenities.

The survey drew around 350 responses when it asked for suggestions on what should be changed in the park. The majority of responses asked the county to:

  • Preserve and plant more trees
  • Resurface the tennis courts to fix cracks and improve drainage
  • Improve lighting, and add more light poles near the baseball diamond
  • Install more benches at the tennis courts and elsewhere
  • Better maintain the restrooms and water fountains by the picnic shelter.

“Drainage has been a major problem this past year, with all the rain,” one resident wrote in a survey response. “The open space has had times when it was an impassable marsh.”

Several respondents asked the county to address stormwater runoff concerns with trees, more pervious surfaces, and underground drainage features.

Part of the park and the area around it lie within the floodplain around Four Mile Run. It was one of the areas hit by this summer’s flash flood, prompting the county to close the park’s picnic shelter at the time.

Other suggestions from residents included adding a pickleball court and a Capital Bikeshare station, plus replacing grassy areas with native pollinator plants and adding bee hives to the park — à la the county’s growing urban agriculture moment.

Other respondents opposed the proposed changes, however, with one resident asking the county to make no changes.

“The area in question is perfectly serviceable and Arlington can spend the money better in other areas,” the person said.

The renovation discussion comes two years after the county finished a contested retrofit of the park’s baseball field with new sod, equipment, and fencing, with several residents saying they had concerns about the fencing part of the project and the lack of public input as a whole in the process.

Funding for the new renovations is slated to be included in an upcoming Capital Improvement Plan budget.

Draft designs are expected to be presented at two additional public meetings scheduled this fall before renovations move forward next year, per the county’s website.

Images 1, 4 via Arlington County 

by Airey April 22, 2019 at 4:45 pm 0

A developer is planning to raze two office buildings on 601-701 12th Street S. in Pentagon City and build four new towers with residential, office, and retail space.

That’s according to a preliminary site plan filing with Arlington County. The plan also notes that the property’s current occupants — the Transportation Security Administration — are soon leaving the county.

Renderings in the filings from property owner Brookfield Properties depict four buildings planned for the area:

  • a 14-story, 240-foot high southwest tower for office space
  • a 20-story, 235-foot high southeast tower for residential or hotel use
  • a 24-story, 275-foot high northeast tower for residential or hotel use
  • a 26-story, 300-foot high northwest tower for residential use, with a penthouse

The company’s proposal says the development will occur in phases and will include “new access to the Pentagon City Metro, upgraded streetscapes and sidewalks, a new internal pedestrian pathway, public open spaces and outdoor seating” as well as public art.

Brookfield’s plans indicate that retail space is planned along the ground floor of the four towers and along 12th Street S.

Tysons-based law firm Venable LLP submitted the proposal, which included a request to make an exception to the site’s limits on building height and density for the project, on behalf of Brookfield.

The document notes that, “the proposal will help address the significant increase in demand for residential housing and hotel space, which will only grow considering the potential for office development in the region.”

The plan says it aims to “ease congestion on surrounding roads by integrating with nearby sites, improving internal circulation, and connecting to Metro.”

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is currently using the two buildings on-site and is scheduled to move out next fall, per agency spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein.

“The new building will be located at 6595 Springfield Center Drive, Springfield,” said Farbstein.

The TSA had been planning to stay at the property, which is next to the Drug Enforcement Administration headquarters and across the street from the Pentagon City mall, until mid-2020.

TSA announced in 2015 that it would move to Alexandria in a bid to save $95 million over the next 15 years, but the move was later overturned by a federal judge.

Brookfield Properties describes the two, 12-story buildings currently occupied by the TSA as, “aging, obsolete” and “unattractive.”

The county posted the address of the project on its website under “Preliminary Development Proposals” last week. However, the process of obtaining the plans revealed the county’s permitting and zoning offices were adapting the way they process records requests.

(more…)

by Alex Koma February 5, 2019 at 1:30 pm 0

New school enrollment projections have reignited the long-dormant debate over the wisdom of building a fourth comprehensive high school in Arlington, as officials plot out the best strategy to educate a student population that won’t stop growing.

The issue reemerged in earnest late last month, when Arlington Public Schools planners unveiled some startling new data that could upend the School Board’s long-term construction plans.

It was not exactly breaking news when planners revealed that the school system’s enrollment is projected to grow by about 24 percent over the next 10 years. APS has added an average of 800 students annually for the last five years, after all.

But school leaders were a bit surprised to see that growth continuing apace, after initially expecting the number of students flowing into the county start falling through 2028, not rising. Even more notably, the new projections show about 2,778 additional elementary schoolers set to enroll in Arlington schools over the next 10 years, about 1,000 more than school planners projected just a year ago.

Considering how young those students are, that number could demand a major reexamination of the school system’s plans to add new high school seats.

The Board decided back in 2017 to build room for 1,300 high schoolers split between the Arlington Education Center and the Arlington Career Center, avoiding the expensive and difficult task of finding space for a fourth comprehensive high school in the county. But these new projections have some Board members wondering if that will be enough to meet these enrollment pressures.

“One of the bottom lines of this is that the 1,300 high school seats is not enough,” Board member Barbara Kanninen said at the group’s Jan. 24 meeting. “This looks, to me, like we’re really going to need that full, comprehensive high school after our Career Center project. And, to me, that means we need to start thinking about what that package of high school seats is really going to look like.”

New County Board member Matt de Ferranti also raised some eyebrows by suggesting in his introductory remarks on Jan. 2 that the county should fund a new high school, but not all of Arlington’s elected leaders are similarly convinced.

Superintendent Patrick Murphy urged the Board to “take a breath, look at this one year, and see if these patterns begin to play themselves out over a long period of time,” and some members agreed with a more cautious approach to the new projections.

“APS enrollment is growing faster than the available funds we have to address our growth, for operating needs (teachers, textbooks, buses) as well as for capital projects (building and expanding schools),” School Board Chair Reid Goldstein wrote in a statement to ARLnow. “It’s important to remember that student enrollment and projections are just a snapshot of one major factor. That’s why we will continue to emphasize flexibility in our planning so we can be responsive and adaptable to address our future community and operating landscape.”

But, for some parents who have long demanded a new comprehensive high school in the county — joining Wakefield, Yorktown and the newly renamed Washington-Liberty — the new projections only underscore the urgency of what they’ve been asking for this whole time.

“I think the data have been suggestive for quite some time that Arlington will need a fourth high school, and it seems to make the most economic sense to do that project all at once and not in pieces,” Christine Brittle, a market researcher and APS parent who has long been active on school issues, told ARLnow via email.

But Brittle did add that it was “surprising” that Kanninen sees a need for a new high school even after the Career Center project is finished.

It remains an open question just how the Career Center will look once the school system can add 1,050 new seats there, work that is currently set to wrap up by 2025 or so. As part of deliberations over its latest 10-year construction plan last year, the Board agreed to build some of the same amenities at Arlington’s other schools at the Career Center.

But the county’s financial challenges meant that the Board couldn’t find the cash to build all of the features to make the Career Center entirely equivalent to a comprehensive high school, and a working group convened to study the issue urged the Board to open it as an “option school” instead of requiring students in the area to attend a school without the same amenities as others elsewhere around the county.

Accordingly, Brittle would rather see the Board simply expand its plans for the site instead of setting out to build a whole new school.

“I’m actually agnostic about whether the Career Center is the correct location for a [fourth high school], so perhaps APS is going to revisit that decision in light of these new projections,” Brittle said. “However, assuming they are going forward with the Career Center project, it certainly makes the most sense to do that project now as a full, fourth high school.”

Such a switch would come with its own complications — as the school system’s Montessori program leaves Drew Model School, it’s currently set to move into the old Patrick Henry Elementary, which sits next to the Career Center. Any move to transform the site would likely require finding a different home for the Montessori students instead, at least in the long term.

“It would be far cheaper to find some additional, offsite-but-nearby field space, add a pool to the already robust Career Center plans, and find another building to repurpose for elementary Montessori, rather than building a large choice high school, which they may or may not fill, and then having to turn around and build a fourth comprehensive high school elsewhere (with money Arlington does not have),” Megan Haydasz, an APS parent who’s advocated for more amenities at the Career Center, told ARLnow via email.

However, Kristi Sawert, the president of the Arlington Heights Civic Association and a member of the Career Center working group, pointed out that APS is already pretty far down the path when it comes to moving the Montessori program to the Henry building. The Board recently agreed to reprogram hundreds of thousands of dollars to renovate the building to prepare for the Montessori students’ arrival, which she sees as an admission that “APS has no plans to tear it down to create a full-scale fourth high school (especially given that APS has a huge money deficit).”

“But I could be wrong,” she wrote in an email.

Still, that sort of option may well be on the table. Some Board members saw a need for more high school seats, but they didn’t share the same conviction that a fourth comprehensive school is the only way to achieve that goal.

“We’re going to have to put [these students] in a high school,” said Board member Nancy Van Doren. “1,300, 1,400 seats, that’s not enough, and we don’t have a school for all those kids in the [Capital Improvement Plan].”

Yet part of what drove Kanninen’s conviction that APS needs both new seats at the Career Center and a new high school is her belief that the county’s 10-year enrollment projections don’t tell the whole story.

Many of the new students planners expect to see in the coming years are young enough that they won’t be reaching high school by the time 2028 rolls around, convincing Kanninen that the data don’t paint a full picture of the school system’s in the distant future.

“The future kindergarteners you’re projecting won’t be in high school in 10 years, it’ll be 20 years,” Kanninen told APS staff at the Jan. 24 meeting. “We’re not seeing in this projection how many high school seats we are going to need… We need another high school down the road. We really need to clarify that story, and it’s really clear from this data in a way it never has been before.”

File photo

by ARLnow.com Sponsor December 5, 2018 at 11:45 am 0

Supporting entrepreneurs, small businesses and creatives is all part of Arlington’s Creative Economy initiative. With public/private partnerships, growth of these endeavors is an important part of business sector diversity and economic sustainability.

By Sindy Yeh

Kicking off the holiday season last week, Arlington celebrated business success at its Arlington Premier event on November 28 at the new Convene space in Rosslyn. More than 300 business leaders attended the Arlington Premiere reception, which recognizes new businesses in the Arlington community.

For the fourth year in a row, the event also honored some of Arlington’s fastest growing companies — known as the Arlington Fast Four. The winners were formally announced and recognized at the reception.

Entrants for the Arlington Fast Four were privately-held companies that needed to demonstrate year-over-year revenue growth from 2015, 2016 and 2017. Winners were required to provide income statements to show proof of growth and revenue. This year’s winners were chosen in each of four categories (to comprise the Arlington Fast Four).

The 2018 Fast Four Winners are:

Mind Body Health — Under $500,000

Mind Body Health is a private practice of psychologists and dietitians dedicated to providing compassionate, evidence-based care. The experts specialize in providing individual psychotherapy and nutrition counseling for the treatment of chronic medical conditions, depression and a variety of disorders. Mind Body Health is in the Courthouse neighborhood of Arlington and has been serving clients here since 2014.

Eminent IT — $500k – $1.5M

Eminent IT is a software development company established in 2009 focused on helping organizations and government agencies revamp their business processes and technology. Its clients include the U.S. Navy and the White House. The company has also received the 2015 and 2018 Top Federal Innovators of the Year award.

LiveSafe — $1.5M – $5M

Livesafe offers a mobile two-way safety communications platform and risk mitigation tool used by businesses and universities. It was founded by a survivor of the 2007 Virginia Tech campus shooting tragedy. Livesafe’s mobile app allows users to report incidents, share their location and also find and call for emergency services.

The company has deep roots in Arlington; some of its Board members live here and have founded several other Arlington-based companies such as Buysafe and Hungry.

AM LLC — $5M – $50M

AM LLC’s full name is Applied Memetics. Since 2012, AM has supported contracts with the federal government across the Health, Defense and Intelligence markets. The company is growing quickly and hiring data scientists, engineers, and cyber security analysts to work in Arlington and throughout the region at client sites.

Congratulations to all the winners!

by ARLnow.com Sponsor July 10, 2018 at 11:45 am 0

This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Eli Tucker, Arlington-based Realtor and Rosslyn resident. Please submit your questions to him via email for response in future columns. Enjoy!

Question: I have heard mixed opinions on whether single-family homes appreciate faster than townhouses and condos. Do you have any data that addresses this?

Answer: On an aggregate level in Arlington, single-family detached homes appreciate faster than townhouses, which appreciate faster than condos.

Over the last ten years the median single-family home has increased from a median purchase price of $630,000 to $850,000 (35% increase), the median price of a townhouse has increased from $542,000 to $696,500 (28.5% increase) and, condos have increased from $350,000 to $392,000 (12% increase).

Below is the chart for median purchase price, broken out by housing type, in Arlington over the last ten years:

Key Takeaways

  • One may assume that the appreciation of single-family homes over the last five years is mostly attributed to so many old, less expensive homes being replaced by expensive new homes. However, by using median price instead of averages, we know that the appreciation exists across the entire single-family market. In fact, the appreciation in average price is less than the median suggesting there’s stronger appreciation in the middle of the market than at the top or bottom.
  • As with any asset class, growth is directly correlated to risk and the historical appreciation of each housing type is reflective of the risk of ownership. Condo owners benefit from much more predictable and relatively low repair/replacement costs (mostly bundled into condo fees) than single-family owners who are responsible for anything that happens on their property (e.g. basement springs a leak and water line breaks in 6 months, you’re on the hook for tens of thousands without notice). You also tend to find condos centered around metros and dense office/retail centers which stabilizes market value during down years.
  • Scarcity also plays a role in the higher appreciation of single-family homes in that it is much easier to introduce a new supply of hundreds or thousands of condos (and rental apartments) into Arlington than it is new single-family homes or townhouses.
  • The above chart aggregates all homes in Arlington within each housing type, but it’s not hard to find sub-markets within each housing type that offer better or worse historical appreciation. For example, In December 2017 I ran an analysis on appreciation of condos built from 2000-2008 and found growth of 13% and 20% for one and two bedroom units, respectively, from 2010-2017. The conclusion? There are good deals and bad deals all over the market, so don’t rely on a single chart or data point.

I hope everybody had a great Fourth of July!

If you’d like a question answered in my weekly column, please send an email to [email protected]. To read any of my older posts, visit the blog section of my website at www.EliResidential.com. Call me directly at (703) 539-2529.

 Eli Tucker is a licensed Realtor in Virginia, Washington DC, and Maryland with Real Living At Home, 2420 Wilson Blvd #101 Arlington, VA 22201, (202) 518-8781.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor May 2, 2017 at 12:15 pm 0

Ask Eli banner

This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Eli Tucker, Arlington-based Realtor and Rosslyn resident. Please submit your questions to him via email for response in future columns. Enjoy!

Question: I’m getting ready to purchase a home and have been watching the market over the last few months. I find that most homes I like go under contract quickly. How long are most homes on the market in Arlington and do you have guidance regarding offer price based on how long a home has been on the market?

Answer: Good properties move quickly in Arlington, so if you’re in the market you need to prepare to act fast when the right home hits the market. I pulled some helpful data to highlight how quickly most homes go under contract and how much they sell for relative to asking price.

Description Of Data

The following data represents all 15,200+ home sales in Arlington since January 1, 2012, broken out by the percentage of homes that sell within a range of days on the market (number of days from listing to going under contract). Within each range, I provide the average net sold price as a percentage of the original asking price (100 percent means the seller got the full ask). Not included are homes sold with zero days on market (6-7 percent of total sales) because most of those are off-market deals.

Key Findings

  • About 20 percent of homes in Arlington sell in the first five days
  • About 50 percent of homes in Arlington sell in the first 30 days
  • Be prepared to pay full price if you’re making an offer in the first 10 days of a listing
  • There is a consistent, direct correlation between days on market and how much of a discount buyers negotiate from the original asking price
  • Q1 is generally the slowest time for real estate but Q1 2017 shows a high percentage of homes being sold in the first five and 10 days. Expect these percentages to increase as the year continues.
  • Not shown: about 60 percent of homes sold in the first five days are sold on the fourth or fifth day
  • Most homes are listed on Thursday, so odds are that even a hot home will make it through the weekend

In a hot market, preparation is the most important thing buyers can do to position themselves to land a contract on the home they want. If you’re considering a purchase and would like to discuss the best ways to prepare, feel free to reach out to set-up a meeting with me. You can reach me directly at [email protected] or (703) 539-2529.

If you’d like a question answered in my weekly column, please send an email to [email protected]. To read any of my older posts, visit the blog section of my website at http://www.RealtyDCMetro.com.

Eli Tucker is a licensed Realtor in Virginia, Washington DC, and Maryland with Real Living At Home, 2420 Wilson Blvd #101 Arlington, VA 22201, (202) 518-8781.

by Jennifer Currier January 11, 2016 at 12:00 pm 0

Startup Monday header

Editor’s Note: Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.

Fonteva Logo (via Fonteva.com)A software company based in Ballston is working to make its flagship association management application as efficient as possible via the cloud.

Fonteva, Inc. was founded in 2010. It focuses on “easy-to-use and innovative” software for associations, universities and governments to help streamline an organization’s management of members, alumni or resident services.

Its flagship customer relationship management (CRM) software is called MemberNation, a service for member-based organizations that create and manage subscriptions and services using online portals.

The application is completely built on the Salesforce platform. Using cloud technology, Salesforce serves as a host for other developers to solve management problems as they see fit, using and integrating the infrastructure into their own product.

MemberNation has been on the market for about three and a half years and targets both trade and professional associations. It can be credited with much of the company’s recent growth, making Forbes’ Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing private companies in America. Last year, Fonteva was ranked No. 1527. The company made the top 500 in 2014, making the list — alongside a handful of other Arlington-based businesses — at No. 286.

Arlington proved to be an ideal location to encourage this growth. Its proximity to Washington, D.C. not only put Fonteva among a hub for the types of associations MemberNation primarily targets, but it also allowed them to recruit talent from the greater Metro area.

Most recently, one of Salesforce’s own joined the Fonteva team to help continue building and expanding MemberNation’s capabilities.

Chris Noone is now Fonteva’s Vice President of Business Development after being a Salesforce partner managing the company’s public sector.Fonteva Online Portal (via Fonteva.com)

“The Fonteva founders really saw an opportunity to build on the success of Salesforce and wanted to use it as a platform because of its ability to scale,” Noone said, describing the company’s beginnings. “They saw a niche space and an opportunity to go after this market. I saw what they were doing, I loved the idea, I saw the opportunity for growth, and I decided to jump on board.”

One of Noone’s first tasks is preparing to launch four new product lines based on MemberNation.

“We’re working on four different feature sets for our flagship product so that all the benefits of the cloud can come to realization,” he said.

One of the products, called Spark Framework, is Fonteva’s own platform for building new software and applications. The others are called Engage, Charge and Assemble Events and are applications that will provide additional accessibility, e-commerce, event planning and management services.

As Fonteva continues to expand and build on MemberNation’s capabilities, Noone said they’ve recently chosen to do so with product extensions available on the company’s own application marketplace to preserve the integrity of their original product.

“We want to initiate our own marketplace so if we want to keep innovating, we don’t have to make our base product slower or larger,” Noone said. “It’ll also allow us to provide our customers with options for the features they want.”

In his first week officially on the job, Noone shared his excitement for MemberNation’s success, but even more for pursuing new opportunities for Fonteva’s services.

“We’ve barely tapped the market, so we’ve got a long way to go to gain leadership in that space,” he said. “We’re constantly looking for new challenges, so it’s much more about messaging and focusing on a new customer base, but it’s not changing our delivery.”

“We don’t ever want to lose focus on what our true calling is,” he added.

Photos via Fonteva.com

by Heather Mongilio June 2, 2015 at 2:55 pm 3,012 0

The Corner Tex-Mix, a new Latin fusion restaurant in Arlington’s Nauck neighborhood, has opened at at 1621 S. Walter Reed Drive.

The eatery brings the flavors of Salvadoran, Mexican, American and Mediterranean food to its tables. The restaurant is colorful, with a bright red and green walls and colorful lights hanging over the bar. It is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and has seating both inside and outside.

“What I can say is that we’re trying to do something new in the area for the residents of Arlington with good dishes and a lot of different flavors they can come over and try,” head chef Leo Medrano said.

The food is fresh, Medrano said, with sauces and salad dressings, such as the bleu cheese or chipotle barbecue ranch, made in the restaurant daily.

Medrano recommends new patrons try one of the four salad options, but his favorite is the bib lettuce salad. The bib lettuce salad has bib lettuce, tomato, red onion, bacon and blue cheese. His other favorite meal is the crab cake sandwich.

“We offer some healthy food and delicious and good quality,” Medrano said.

Medrano also has a different special plate every day, he said. His favorite dishes to create include Salmon or Mahi Mahi.

“You can mix it with fruit or vegetables,” Medrano said, “and it tastes delicious either way.”

In a press release, The Corner Tex-Mix said it will be a “a big change from the old establishment at the same location” and will bring chef-driven food to a Nauck community that “has been historically void of any good restaurants.”

Previous restaurants that have come and gone at the 1621 S. Walter Reed Drive location include Las Delicias Restaurante and, more recently, El Manatial III.

by Ethan Rothstein June 23, 2014 at 11:55 am 0

Startup Monday header

Editor’s Note: Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.

The Ostendio team “I’m an operations guy,” Grant Elliott, Founder and CEO of Ostendio, which specializes in I.T. compliance and security, said in a conference room at ÜberOffices in Rosslyn last week. “I laid out a plan and we’ve [grown] to that plan. Only when I started talking to people did they say how fast we were [growing]. I laid out what I thought was a conservative plan, but it turns out people think it was very aggressive.”

Elliott founded Ostendio last September after working for eight years and the chief operations officer for a health information technology company called Voxiva. It took six months for Elliott, co-founder Jermaine Jones and a third co-founder who chose to remain anonymous to build the platform, My Virtual Compliance Manager (MyVCM), that helps bring small- to medium-sized business into federal safety compliance with their data.

In the three months since the product launch, Ostendio has brought on more than a dozen clients.

Last week, Ostendio was one of 20 companies to present to potential investors at TechBuzz, a semi-regular tech event for D.C.-area companies. Elliott had to present a four-minute pitch to investors, which he said was nerve-racking since I.T. compliance isn’t as “sexy” as a new social media platform.

Perhaps because Elliott’s company isn’t operating in one of the attention-grabbing tech startup sectors, and that this is his first-time as a CEO, fundraising has been frustrating, even though it has borne some fruit early on.

Ostendio's platform, My Virtual Compliance Manager

“Fundraising takes longer than I expected,” he said in the heavy accent of his native Scotland. “What’s surprised me is it’s less about the business model and more about the dynamics of fundraising.”

The business model, Elliott says, is the reason that Ostendio has already agreed to investment with Virginia’s Center for Innovative Technology and from D.C.’s 1776, which also counts Ostendio as a member. Ostendio has been bootstrapped thus far, but is seeking $500,000 from its first round of funding.

Ostendio targets companies with between five and 100 employees in “a regulated market” like healthcare, Elliott said. In healthcare, where most of Ostendio’s clients operate, “HIPAA [Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act] regulations are a dark cloud hanging over” small businesses.

“They see compliance with federal regualtion as a huge task, which is partly true,” he said. “Small companies unfortunately have the same regulations as a larger company. Our platform actively manages compliance for our customers. We also provide training and audit functionalilty.”

Because of the boom in cloud computing and mobile devices, Elliott said, more and more small tech companies can innovate in a space like healthcare, but large medical providers like hospitals and insurance companies need to ensure that any technology that is brought on is compliant with HIPAA regulations and the patients’ data will remain secure.

(more…)

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