For the fifth year in a row, Arlington is celebrating its fastest growing companies.
The Fast Four Award honors Arlington companies that are growing quickly in a variety of revenue categories. Whether a technology-based or retail business, the Fast Four Award aims to recognize thriving companies across industry sectors. The award is also an opportunity for local companies to showcase their growth while demonstrating Arlington’s business-friendly environment.
To be eligible, companies must be privately held, be based in Arlington, and show continuous revenue growth between 2016 and 2018. To apply, companies must submit an online application and provide income statements to show proof of growth and revenue. The company with the fastest growth rate in each revenue category will be honored as one of Arlington’s fastest growing businesses.
The 2019 Arlington Fast Four winners will be formally announced on December 5 at the Arlington Premiere event to be held at Ballston Quarter. Arlington Premiere is an exclusive event where Arlington’s newest business owners have the opportunity to meet key community and government leaders while learning about the many resources available to them within the County.
We encourage fast-growing companies to apply for the 2019 Fast Four Awards.
Workshops to Support Startups
In our work with entrepreneurs at Arlington Economic Development (AED), we often hear that one of the most challenging aspects of growing a business is attracting capital investments.
Many entrepreneurs have spent years developing innovative products and services and have created solid business plans to successfully execute and market their products. However, for many early stage companies, attracting investors to help fund and grow the company is still the most daunting challenge.
According to a study by Pitchbook, from 2010-2017, San Francisco and Silicon Valley still attracted more venture capital than almost any other parts of the country, followed by New York, Los Angeles and Boston. The Washington Metropolitan area ranked 9th on the list.
Our early stage Series A startups in the area are required to be even more resourceful since many investors in the DMV region tend to look for more mature companies with proven customer traction and revenues. They are more risk averse than investors in San Francisco and New York. Hence, early stage startups must sometimes travel outside the region to meet and connect with investors.
There are many organizations in the Washington area that serve as a conduit for investors, innovators and startups. The Mid Atlantic Venture Association (MAVA) and CONNECTPreneur both provide forums for technology startups to connect with investors.
For the past three years, Arlington Economic Development has also hosted technology startup competitions such as Startup Arlington and the Dongsheng-US Global Entrepreneurship Competition to provide recognition and opportunities for winning companies to access capital and resources. We have also invited Arlington companies to participate and exhibit with us at CES, SxSW and Collision to meet with outside investors and potential customers.
Funding Opportunities for Early Stage Technology Companies
The Center for Innovative Technology (CIT), a nonprofit corporation funded by the Commonwealth of Virginia, provides equity investments to help fill the gaps for innovators and tech entrepreneurs at the early commercialization and seed funding stages of a company’s development. Its mission is to support Virginia-based entrepreneurs who are launching and developing high-growth technology companies and creating high-paying jobs for the future.
During the months of September and October, CIT has been traveling throughout the Commonwealth for a series of briefings on funding programs that are available to Virginia-based researchers and entrepreneurs. The series align with CIT managed Commonwealth Research Commercialization Fund‘s upcoming Request for Proposals with approximately $2.5 million available to support high-potential technology development and commercialization activities in clean energy, cybersecurity, data analytics, life sciences and unmanned systems.
Here is the calendar of events held throughout the Commonwealth in October.
How to Open Doors to Funding with an Executive Summary
On Thursday, October 17, the Washington Network Group will be hosting a practical workshop to teach entrepreneurs how to write an effective executive summary when pitching to investors. The event will be held at Arlington Economic Development from 4-6 p.m.
An executive summary is often the first document investors and lenders want to see before a complete pitch deck and business plan. It can be the key to opening more doors if funders seek additional information. However, many entrepreneurs overlook the importance of having a tightly-written, effective, even compelling executive summary.
Ines LeBow, CEO of Enterprise Transformation Solutions, will be teaching this valuable seminar on how to write an effective executive summary.
This article was sponsored by Arlington Economic Development‘s Business Investment Group.
The marketplace for technology to assist aging adults is expected to grow to nearly $30 billion in the next few years, according to Arlington’s own Consumer Technology Association.
Seniors and their families and caregivers are eager to acquire new tech-enabled products and services that would provide better care and improve the quality of their loved ones’ lives. Hence, entrepreneurs, innovators and technologists are increasingly focused on the growth opportunities in serving older adults.
To address this issue, Culpepper Garden and Arlington County are hosting a unique competition to identify and provide funding and pilot program opportunities for innovative companies and technologies focused on helping improve the lives of low-income seniors. This competition is open to companies and individuals from early seed stage to established corporations from around the world.
Judges are looking for products and ideas that are helping older adults leverage technology to stay healthy, improve their mobility and better connect to their family and community. Companies selected to pitch will receive valuable feedback from older adults, health care providers, businesses and government officials. The three winning companies will have the opportunity to trial their product or service at a residential community in Arlington.
Culpepper Garden and its nonprofit owner, the Arlington Retirement Housing Corporation, are celebrating 50 years as an award-winning residential community that was one of the nation’s first to serve the needs of low-income seniors as they age in place. Culpepper Garden is home to over 340 residents and is located on North Pershing Drive.
Participants have the opportunity to:
- Win $12,000 in funding for each of the top three winners
- Pilot their technology or approach at Culpepper Garden and a formal evaluation to provide to future customers
- Become a leader in social impact technology benefitting low income seniors
- Build relationships with competition judges including venture capitalists, medical professionals, company CEOs and government officials
- Receive mentoring, feedback and advice from health care providers, senior and assisted living experts, older adults and other stakeholders
- Solicit customer testimonials
- Receive recognition and publicity about their company and technologies
To learn more and apply, visit Culpepper Garden’s website.
Inc. Magazine named 34 Arlington companies in its annual list of the nation’s 5,000 fastest-growing companies, the Inc. 5000, while five were part of the exclusive Inc. 500.
Half of the companies are in government services while about a quarter are technology companies in the software, IT and security fields. Last year, Arlington saw the same number of companies on the list, up from 21 companies in 2017.
And which Arlington neighborhoods do the companies choose to grow their thriving businesses? Ballston is in the lead with 10 of the 34 companies, but Crystal City, home of Amazon’s future headquarters, is a close second, with six companies located there. Three of the top five fastest growing companies are located off Columbia Pike or in Shirlington in close proximity to the Pentagon.
Associated Veterans topped the list of Arlington companies at number 67 with an astounding 4,346% growth rate over the past three years. Associated Veterans is a service-disabled veteran-owned small business that provides professional services and consulting to the government.
Higher Logic, number 1,917 on the list, is the recipient of one of Arlington County’s Gazelle Grants, a grant aimed at attracting fast-growing technology companies. Several of the finalists were also featured in the Virginia Chamber of Commerce’s Fantastic 50 program, including Sehlke Consulting, Changeis, U.Group, Metis Solutions, Firebird AST, Enterprise Knowledge and Neostek.
“We are really proud of the innovative companies that call Arlington home and the dynamic entrepreneurs who lead them,” said Marian Marquez, Interim Director of Business Development for Arlington Economic Development. “Arlington’s strong representation in this prestigious list is a testament to the exciting growth happening in our community and we fully expect to see this grow in years to come.”
Arlington companies such as Fila Group and U.Group are also thrilled to be on the list.
“Fila Group’s inclusion on the elite Inc. 5000 list for the second year — and moreover in the top 500 companies — is incredibly meaningful to our company,” said Jonathan Keough, President and Chief Operating Officer. “The recognition reinforces our company’s reputation as a competitive leader in the demanding information technology sector. We will continue to strengthen and diversify our business and deliver the best in service and solutions to our clients.”
“Being included on the Inc. 5000 takes on special meaning this year, as it’s our first as a fully-integrated company. It shows that our team is doing amazing work, our clients are trusting us with their toughest challenges, and we’re creating real impact in the organizations and industries we serve. 2019 was great, but U.Group is truly just getting started,” said Lena Trudeau, Chief Executive Officer.
To qualify for the Inc. 5000, companies must show the past three calendar years of sales to prove their revenue. Additionally, they must be U.S. based, privately held and independent — not subsidiaries or divisions of other companies. Revenue in the initial year must have been at least $100,000, and revenue in the most recent year must have been at least $2 million.
Here is the full list of Arlington companies that made the cut and their ranking:
In the past few months, we’ve noticed a trend among Arlington’s security technology companies.
Several innovative, fast-growing Arlington companies in the cybersecurity, artificial intelligence and data analytics fields are being acquired by larger companies. In March, BluVector, a network security company applying artificial intelligence to detect cyber threats, became part of Comcast.
In the same month, Deep Learning Analytics, a data analytics company and winner of Arlington’s Fast Four competition three years in a row, was acquired by General Dynamics Mission Systems.
In May, eGlobalTech, a cybersecurity consulting and cloud security company, was acquired by Tetra Tech. In June, the pattern continued as Distil Networks, a leader in bot traffic detection and mitigation, became Imperva. And finally, Endgame, an endpoint security protection company, entered into an agreement with Elastic N.V., a data management firm from the Netherlands.
It comes as no surprise that so many of Arlington’s top cybersecurity firms were targeted for acquisition. These Arlington firms have developed niche products and services that are utilized by both government and commercial customers. Many of these companies are globally recognized leaders in their respective sectors.
By acquiring these firms, it allows the larger companies to further enhance their existing platforms by offering even more comprehensive and specialized solutions to their clients.
They also absorb the companies’ existing customers, often including government agencies whose mission it is to defend the nation from cyber threats, like the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense.
Arlington is home to about 200 cybersecurity companies employing more than 5,000 people. These cyber-based acquisitions will most likely continue as more of Arlington’s cyber companies develop specialized products and solutions targeting industry needs.
It is a testament to Arlington that so many technology companies have not only chosen to locate in Arlington but have thrived and developed a rich ecosystem of innovative companies leveraging federal funding to create and develop new products and services with applications in the private sector.
This article was sponsored by Arlington Economic Development‘s Business Investment Group.
Virginia has been announced as CNBC’s choice for “Top State for Business” in 2019.
It’s the fourth time the Commonwealth has taken the top honors, which studies all 50 states based on 10 different categories of business competitiveness. And of course, Arlington’s nationally-watched deal for Amazon HQ2 was cited as a big reason for the win.
“When Amazon announced late last year that it had chosen Arlington, Virginia, as the home for part of its new, $5 billion second headquarters, it did not reach the decision haphazardly,” explains the ranking.
“The state has the nation’s best workforce, including the fourth-highest concentration of science, technology, education and math (STEM) workers. Strong school test scores, small class sizes and a wealth of colleges and universities make Virginia’s education system the best in the nation. And with Virginia Tech University announcing plans to build a new campus adjacent to Amazon’s HQ2 focused on innovation, things could get even better.”
But taking a deeper dive, it’s that critical formula of workforce and education along with a healthy dose of collaboration that’s led Virginia back to the number one spot. After all, Virginia has the number two tech workforce in the nation — much of it centered right here in Arlington and around the DMV.
Not only that, it’s one of the highest educated workforces in the nation — nearly three-quarters of our working population in Arlington has at least a bachelor’s degree; about 40% reach even higher on the educational charts. We’re leading the way in fields like cybersecurity, big data, ed tech and clean tech — all industries that are really coming to the forefront as we move into this innovation economy.
It’s also not surprising that CNBC called out Virginia’s impressive education system, and nowhere is that more prevalent than here in Arlington and around Northern Virginia.
The Amazon deal brought with it plans to build a $1B Virginia Tech Innovation campus, which will be located just next door in Alexandria. Its goal? Produce a continuing tech talent pipeline of well-educated individuals who are primed (no pun intended) to lead the way in the STEM workforce of the future.
And what’s the secret sauce to this winning business formula? Collaboration. After all, the partnership for the Amazon HQ2 deal was one that would’ve been unheard of in this region just a few short years ago. Now — we’ve shown that collaboration with partners, not just between local jurisdictions but also between the state and private partners, and a sense of regionalism simply works.
We’re stronger together — and nowhere has that been more evident than our success in landing the largest economic development deal in history and leading the way to ensuring Virginia takes the number one business spot again.
This article was written by CvikerAR and sponsored by Arlington Economic Development’s Business Investment Group.
With the groundbreaking for Amazon HQ2 fast approaching, local startup Cviker Corporation (pronounced /sveye-ker/) partnered with developer JBG Smith to create an augmented reality (AR) visualization of National Landing (an area encompassing Crystal City and Pentagon City in Arlington) to envision the new development projects.
These projects, such as new buildings and infrastructure enhancements, are viewable using an app-based platform on a smartphone or tablet and allow the user to feel as if they are seeing the completed projects with their own eyes.
Cviker’s innovative vision and partnership with JBG Smith sprung out of a unique opportunity to work with Arlington Economic Development (AED) staff to create a visualization highlighting buildings and landmarks significant to Arlington’s technology ecosystem and innovation history for the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show (CES).
Cviker first showcased the AR visualization of Crystal City and Pentagon City in AED’s booth at CES in January. This visualization highlighted prominent buildings, including the newly released Amazon HQ2 renderings. Beyond a visual aid, Cviker’s AR platform focuses on community engagement, showing the community how Amazon HQ2 will look and feel in Arlington.
To create this AR model of Crystal City and Pentagon City, Cviker combined 3D modeling with GIS and LIDAR data, along with additional animations and historical information to enhance the model. Realizing that the AR model developed for CES showed the future of Amazon in Arlington, Cviker leveraged its initial model for the opportunity to work closely with JBG Smith to make quality improvements.
By transforming the visualization from a functional, 3D model into a high-end, photorealistic and interactive experience, Cviker created an AR walkthrough of National Landing that can be seen in JBG Smith’s new marketing center in Crystal City. The viewer can perceive the relationship between the different types of infrastructure on an elevated level, providing new insights and use cases to better improve design and prepare for the future.
Cviker is a newcomer not only to the D.C. metro area, but also to the United States. A few years ago, a venue called VRBA opened in Bratislava, Slovakia. VRBA combined the simple, yet complex flavors of a gin and tonic with the exciting experience of virtual reality.
Creating virtual reality experiences during the day and gin and tonics at night, VRBA experienced immediate success, including gaining the attention of local politicians. Specifically, one local mayor with a particular interest in innovation proposed the idea of focusing on AR visualization of buildings and infrastructure renderings, and with that idea in mind, Cviker was born.
Going on to win an international smart cities competition, the Cviker team flew to the U.S. for an opportunity to work with the Smart City Works Actuator, a business accelerator based in Northern Virginia focused on growing startups in the architecture, engineering and construction industries. This is where AED learned of Cviker’s work and realized the potential it could have in helping to visualize the future of the County.
As the development for Amazon’s HQ2 draws closer, Cviker hopes to work closely with other groups, organizations and the Arlington community to ensure that equitable, safe, livable and desirable spaces are being created.
For more information about Cviker, and to see some of its AR visualizations, visit its website or download the company’s free app on the App Store called CvikerAR.