This article was written by Arlington Economic Development. In honoring our veterans this week, we would like to share a wonderful program the Commonwealth of Virginia sponsors in support of those leaving the military seeking employment.
Did you know the Commonwealth of Virginia is one of the most veteran-friendly states in the nation?
Virginia is comprised of the most veteran-owned small businesses in the country. Not so surprising considering Virginia is home to the Pentagon in Arlington and the world’s largest naval base in Norfolk. There are hundreds of thousands of active-duty service members serving within the Commonwealth’s borders and many have chosen to call Virginia home upon leaving the military.
With more than 750,000 veterans located in Virginia, the Commonwealth has had the fastest growing veteran labor force over the past 5 years and is projected to continue to have the fastest growing veteran population over the next few years.
With such a highly skilled and adaptable workforce living here, Virginia recognizes the opportunity to promote veteran talent to the civilian workforce and to help businesses become more successful by focusing on hiring the right people for the job.
One such initiative, the Virginia Values Veterans (V3) Program, provides education, training and connectivity resources to assist companies to implement nationally recognized best practices in recruiting, hiring and retaining veterans. Virginia companies who have completed all V3 training requirements and have submitted a veteran hiring plan will be recognized as an official “V3-Certified Company.”
Furthermore, V3 qualified companies with fewer than 300 employees may qualify for up to $10,000 in grants, with $1,000 being awarded per eligible veteran that is hired and retained for at least one year.
There are more than 70 Arlington organizations participating in the V3 Program, from large companies like Nestlé, Boeing and Lockheed Martin to mid- and small-size companies like Ideal Innovations, Millennium Corporation, Lunarline and Cydecor.
We encourage Arlington companies to consider becoming V3 certified to seize the opportunity to find the workforce they need within the veteran community
This article was written by Arlington Economic Development.
Arlington Economic Development is proud to announce its seventh annual Fast Four Awards. The award program honors the fastest growing companies in the Arlington business community and recognizes their success, creativity, and in this year’s edition, resiliency in the face of the global pandemic.
The Fast Four Awards honor Arlington companies that are exhibiting significant revenue growth in the following four annual revenue categories:
- $500,000 to $1.5M
- $1.5M to $5M
- $5M to $25M
- $25M and above
To be eligible, companies must be privately held, non-retail, headquartered in Arlington and show continuous revenue growth between 2018, 2019 and 2020.
Interested companies must submit a simple 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. Applications are due by midnight on Friday, November 12, 2021.
The winners from the previous edition of the Fast Four Award winners were:
- Deft Consulting:$500,000 to $1.5M
- Hungry: $1.5M to $5M
- Capitol Bridge: $5M to $25M
- Higher Logic: $25M and above
(Awards were not held in 2020 due to the pandemic)
The 2021 Arlington Fast Four winners will be announced virtually during the week of December 6. Please follow Arlington Economic Development on LinkedIn to see which companies take home the prize.
Arlington companies may apply for the 2021 Fast Four Awards here.
Next month, Arlington Economic Development will participate in the inaugural Accelerate 2022 event as a founding sponsor.
Accelerate 2022 is an investor conference and startup business competition to showcase Arlington and the Northern Virginia region as a national anchor for innovation and business opportunities. The audience for the event includes angel investors and venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and high-growth companies, students and state and local tech ecosystem service providers.
This event will take place at George Mason University’s Arlington Campus and provide a unique opportunity to showcase the community and its innovative companies to investors from all over the country to attract more outside capital to the region.
Arlington’s tech ecosystem is thriving with startups and high-growth companies throughout the community. In August 2021, the annual Inc. 5000 list was released. This list features the nation’s fastest-growing privately-owned companies in the United States, and 30 Arlington-based companies made the list for 2021.
Additionally, Arlington-based companies have had great success in raising venture capital in 2021. So far in 2021, Arlington-based companies have logged 20 angel and venture capital deals totaling more than $252.7 million (Pitchbook, 2021). Some notable activity in Arlington for 2021 included:
- Last week, local food tech startup Hungry Marketplace announced it raised $21 million in Series C financing from multiple high-profile investors
- In July 2021, supply chain risk management software company Interos announced it raised $100 million in Series C financing and joined an elite group of only 4% of the ‘unicorn’ startups nationally valued at more than $1 billion led by a female founder-CEO
- In June 2021, geospatial data and analytics company Fraym announced $7 million Series B financing to further scale their AI/ML software
- In February 2021, WireWheel, a data privacy technology company, announced $20 million in Series B financing to speed up its go-to-market plans and establish its leadership position in SaaS
- In January 2021, Stacklet announced it raised $18 million in Series A funding for its cloud governance platform
Arlington Economic Development is excited about the inaugural event to showcase Arlington and Northern Virginia as a major innovation hub through its world-class business assets, innovative companies, and an unparalleled diverse and talented workforce.
This article was written by Arlington Economic Development.
Thirty Arlington companies were recently named to the annual Inc. 5000 list. This list features the nation’s fastest-growing privately owned companies, historically identifying today’s most prosperous companies early in their growth trajectories.
As a leading hub for entrepreneurship, Arlington is consistently well represented on the annual list. Some companies, like 540.co and Sehlke Consulting are annual mainstays, exhibiting consistent year-over-year revenue growth. Others, like DonorBureau, HUNGRY and Vemo Education, are among the Arlington-based companies notching their first appearance.
Advertising and marketing firm Olympic Media was the highest-ranked Arlington company on the list, making its debut at No. 13. The firm’s impressive three-year growth rate of 20,330% earned it the distinction of being the top-ranked company from Virginia and the top company nationwide in its category, advertising and marketing.
Arlington and the D.C. metro region’s reputation as a hub of both tech talent and innovation are fundamental to success and offer a strong foundation for the area’s large collection of fast-growing companies. While each company is driven by different goals, principles, and ideals, two constants in their success are quality leadership and strong employee talent.
“Making the Inc. 5000 list as Arlington’s fastest growing IT Management firm gives our great team national recognition and validates the hard work and dedication we put in every day,” stated C3 Integrated Solutions Co-Founder and President, Bill Wootton. “Our core market is the defense community, so being based in the heart of Arlington gives us local access to our target market as well as a great location for us to sell nationally.”
Zach Wahl, CEO of Enterprise Knowledge, said: “Our fourth consecutive year on this list is a great achievement for Enterprise Knowledge, and one that belongs to each member of our growing team. What is important to me is that we’ve successfully sustained our culture and kindness and collaboration as we’ve grown.”
Arlington’s 30 Inc. 5000 companies join an additional 183 companies in Northern Virginia on the list. Despite the inconsistent and turbulent economic conditions over the past 18 months, the representation of companies in the region on the 2021 list is clear evidence of the region’s strong and diversified economy.
About the Inc. 5000 List
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 to qualify.
Here is the full list of Arlington companies that made the cut, and their respective rankings:
Earlier this year, Arlington Economic Development launched its monthly TechConnect Profile series to highlight companies in our technology startup ecosystem.
Arlingtonʼs startup ecosystem has been rapidly expanding over the past five years and is quickly becoming recognized as an established innovation hub in the United States.
Since beginning the profiles, AED has highlighted five Arlington-based companies, all of which have had great recent success in growing their revenues and workforces and raising venture capital for future growth.
Below are some company highlights from the profiles:
- CareerGig: In January 2021, 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.
- GoTab: In September 2020, GoTab announced that it secured a $6 million investment to enhance its innovative technology and further bridge the gap between contactless dining and full-service hospitality.
- DeepSig: In March 2021, DeepSig announced its 5G Wireless AI Lab opening in Rosslyn, which includes an end-to-end 5G network using state-of-art, commercial grade, multi-vendor products and tools.
- VerticalApps: In 2020, VerticalApps was named one of the “Best Places to Work” by both the Washington Business Journal and Virginia Business and recognized as one of the fastest-growing private companies in the United States with a growth rate of 336% in the annual Inc. 5000 list.
- Lovelytics: In 2021, Lovelytics was named one of the 75 Best Places to Work in Greater Washington in 2021 by Washington Business Journal and selected as the winner of Tableau Software’s 2021 Rising Star Partner of the Year Award.
As technology startups continue to be a driving force in our local economy, Arlington Economic Development and its economic development partners seek to help companies launch and grow through several business resources to ensure the industry’s success.
If you are an Arlington-based technology startup interested in being profiled, please get in touch with me to discuss how to be featured.
It’s the end of Arlington County’s fiscal year, a time when we look back over the past twelve months to reflect on our successes, challenges and opportunities.
Clearly, the “normal” work of our Business Investment Group here at AED, which includes working with companies who are interested in locating or growing in Arlington, was anything but normal as the global health pandemic prevented companies from returning to the office. Nevertheless, we marked some exciting milestones during this past year spent mostly on lockdown and are excited to be moving forward from challenge to opportunity.
Our business investment team continued efforts to build the pipeline and get in front of high-growth prospects through digital touch points. Through 500+ virtual engagements over the past year, our team doubled down on retention efforts with the amazing companies that call Arlington home and had some exciting developments with several companies announcing expansions, even during a pandemic.
These include Two Six Labs, Vertical Apps, Orbital Effects, Fresh Impact Farms and Interos, which just announced Series C financing and is now Arlington’s first unicorn (female-led at that!). Other exciting news included the announcement of Microsoft’s regional Global Sales and Marketing hub at Commonwealth Towers in Rosslyn and, down the road in National Landing, the arrival of ZEBOX, a French incubator that will open its first U.S. location early next year. We anticipate increased interest from high-tech companies given recent investments on the part of JBG Smith in the digital infrastructure surrounding National Landing, which accelerates the innovation ecosystem we are fostering in Arlington.
In other positive news, Amazon’s HQ2 ramp up has progressed according to plan in terms of both hiring and construction, including the unveiling of its landmark structure, the Helix. As vaccination rates have picked up in recent months, we’ve seen increased activity in the market and our team has been busy responding to requests for information and conducting site tours for companies that are ready to make good on their expansion plans.
Through close dialogue over the past year with our businesses and real estate partners, we know that what companies are looking for in an office location has changed and will continue to evolve as employees return to the workplace. As trends in remote work and changing employee preferences challenge the demand for traditional office space, localities are entering a more competitive environment than ever.
To maintain attractiveness as a business location, communities must remain nimble and ensure that their offerings are in line with industry demand from a policy and real estate standpoint. During this pause in “business as usual” over the past year, AED has taken the opportunity to revisit its offerings and win themes; we are in the process of reworking elements of our value proposition as a business destination along with our marketing collateral (stay tuned this fall for AED’s new look!).
Looking ahead, we are excited about the future and confident that Arlington’s most compelling assets — its talent, connectivity and culture of innovation — are more relevant than ever in the post-pandemic world. In fact, these assets have only grown stronger with continued investments on the part of our businesses, real estate community, the County and its partners at the State level. Knowing that the “normal” we come back to won’t resemble that of the past, we are certain that Arlington is still an incredible place to live, work and play.
This article was written by Arlington Economic Development.
Arlington’s robust federal government ecosystem and prime location directly across the Potomac from Washington, D.C. make it an attractive place for government contractors to grow and thrive.
In FY20, Northern Virginia companies were awarded nearly $90 billion in federal procurement awards, exceeding the total of any single state, including Texas and California (usaspending.gov). We all know Arlington is home to the Department of Defense at the Pentagon, which alone awards nearly two-thirds of federal contracts by value. Additionally, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR), Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and Office of Naval Research (ONR) call Arlington home.
However, many may not know about the critical pieces of the government contracting ecosystem that help businesses grow and thrive here.
- Mentoring and business development: Looking for personal help and guidance for your federal contracting business? Arlington Economic Development’s (AED) mission is to help Arlington businesses grow and thrive. AED can help you find the right resources for your business. We provide small business counseling, timely workshops and webinars, and even incentives if your business is growing quickly and taking new office space. If you’re interested in ongoing mentoring, SCORE assists Arlington businesses and AED clients. Some SCORE mentors have owned their own federal contracting business and have the experience to help you grow yours. Reach out to AED’s senior business ambassador, Sindy Yeh, if you have questions about growing your federal contracting business in Arlington or want to be connected to additional resources.
- Accelerators: If your government startup is looking for guidance and to scale quickly, an accelerator program could be an excellent fit for you. Accelerators are a cohort-based program in which startups are given resources and education to expedite their growth in a specific market, typically ending with a pitch day or competition. Mach37 accelerator is a great choice for cybersecurity startups. Defense startups can apply to the National Security Innovation Network Accelerator program (NSIN), and FedTech has a few accelerator options for government technology contractors. NSIN and Fedtech, both in Arlington, provide a platform for innovators from the defense, academic and venture communities to change the way national security innovation works.
- Funding/capital investment: Is your business growing quickly and looking for outside capital? In-Q-tel invests in national security tech startups and brings a unique blend of funding and deep knowledge of the national security market. The Center for Innovative Technology aims to fill gaps in the earliest stages of innovation and commercialization. They have multiple funds, including their GAP fund and Virginia Founders Fund, to help Virginia startups.
- Networking: There is no shortage of networking, advocacy and education groups specifically dedicated to government contracting. The Small and Emerging Contractors Advisory Forum provides education and networking for new government contractors. In the defense industry? Check out the National Defense Industrial Association, which helps foster discussion on national security. The Professional Services Council advocates for government technology and professional services companies and professionals. The Northern Virginia Chamber has a very active Gov Con committee holding networking meetings and educational programming.
It comes as no surprise that both domestic and international companies select Arlington as their home to grow their businesses. They choose Arlington for similar reasons, such as proximity to customers and partners, accessibility to major transportation infrastructure, and the availability of a talented workforce. Here are perspectives from three international companies based in Arlington.
For the Japanese global conglomerate NEC Corporation, Arlington and the Northern Virginia area are excellent places for technology businesses. Mr. Shin Takahashi, chairman of the board of NEC Corporation of America (NECAM), selected Arlington to both live and work when he began leading NECAM’s government relations and public policy office in early 2018.
“Having a strong local management team is key to success for international companies,” Takahashi said. “Arlington is a good location for hiring great talent with excellent education and experience. There are lots of good companies around here, so it is easy to find highly qualified talent.”
NECAM’s Arlington location has grown to several business units, including a customer experience center to showcase its IT and facial recognition technology. It will relocate to a new office in Ballston in the fall.
“We only looked at Arlington when considering a new location to house the business units,” Takahashi said. “Arlington is diverse, safe and international. I could carry the same lifestyle as in Tokyo, where I could walk every place at night, go to grocery stores and restaurants, and visit movie theaters.”
Takahashi is also amazed at the number of fitness studios and gyms in the area and how healthy Arlingtonians are. “From my window, I can see people carrying yoga mats to exercise, so it is a big booster for my own wellness and a motivation to work out.”
TELE’s Daniel Kroepfl, who established the Austrian industrial electronics, manufacturing and services company in Arlington in late 2018, expresses a similar sentiment. “I travel to many cities throughout the country to visit customers and partners, and I do not see as many people running and exercising as in Arlington,” he said. “Arlington lives up to its name as America’s fittest city.”
When TELE was first considering expanding to the United States, the company looked at different cities across the country. “We chose Arlington because we want a location where we can recruit talent but also where our employees from Austria would enjoy visiting,” Kroepfl explained. “Austrian Airlines offers frequent direct flights from Vienna to Dulles, so I can visit my family and travel to headquarters easily.”
Accessibility to Europe and the U.S., Canada and Mexico markets is also a major consideration. “Access to major transportation hubs is key for our industry, which is industrial production, automation and electronics development,” Kroepfl said. “Everything is within easy reach by having an office here, allowing us to achieve our business goals.”
For the Australian digital intelligence startup Fivecast, accessibility to decision-makers in federal government agencies was the primary reason to choose Arlington for its first U.S. office. Duane Rivett, one of the founders of Fivecast, moved here in late 2019 to build up the company’s U.S. operations.
“The U.S. federal government represents an important customer base for Fivecast. Our digital intelligence solutions are built from the ground up to address challenges facing national security, defense and law enforcement organizations,” Rivett said. “The business community in Arlington provides lots of great opportunities for networking across the public sector and sharing ideas, expertise and connections, which are invaluable for establishing a new business.”
Earlier this month, Arlington Economic Development took part in National Economic Development Week, which celebrates the positive contributions that the profession of economic development makes on localities, regions and states across the United States.
National Economic Development Week was established by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC), the world’s largest organization serving the economic development profession, with more than 5,000 members around the world. Best defined by IEDC, “Economic developers promote economic well-being and quality of life for their communities, by creating, retaining and expanding jobs that facilitate growth, enhance wealth and provide a stable tax base.”
As we celebrate the contributions that economic development brings to communities, we also recognize that none of the contributions would be possible without great partnerships and strategic investments to make a community attractive to its existing and prospective businesses.
Below are some examples of partnerships and investments AED has taken part in that support the business community and boost its profile as an ideal location to do business:
- Gazelle Grant Program — Launched in 2016, Arlington Economic Development’s Gazelle Grant program was designed to be a deal-closing incentive program for fast-growing or “gazelle” technology companies. This program is a tool to help grow the tech ecosystem economy in Arlington by expanding the tech employment base and decreasing the commercial real estate vacancy rate. Since the inception of the program, Arlington Economic Development has attracted and expanded five high-growth technology companies with the Gazelle Grant. To date, the program helped create and retain an estimated 778 jobs and absorb over 83,000 square feet of commercial space.
- Northern Virginia Economic Development Alliance — In September 2019, 10 jurisdictions from Northern Virginia came together to announce the formation of the Northern Virginia Economic Development Alliance (NOVA EDA). The Alexandria Economic Development Partnership, Arlington County, City of Fairfax, Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, City of Falls Church, Fauquier County, Loudoun County, City of Manassas, City of Manassas Park and Prince William County Department of Economic Development comprise NOVA EDA’s membership. NOVA EDA was created following the Amazon HQ2 and Virginia Tech Innovation Campus announcements in Northern Virginia to better collaborate as a region and develop a strong brand and story that showcases the value proposition of doing business in Northern Virginia.
- Arlington Small Business Emergency GRANT (Giving Resiliency Assets Near Term) Program — In response to the pandemic in 2020, Arlington County partnered with the Arlington Industrial Development Authority and the Ballston, Crystal City and Rosslyn Business Improvement Districts to develop and implement the Emergency GRANT program to support small businesses that were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. In total, Arlington County supported 393 businesses through the $2.8 million program with awards of up to $10,000 per business.
These examples are only a few of the many ways Arlington Economic Development’s efforts make the community a competitive and viable option for companies to launch, expand and locate their businesses.
Through existing business support and programs to attract new investment to the community, Arlington is well-positioned to diversify its economy further, expand its technology ecosystem, and provide an environment for enhanced economic well-being and quality of life to all its residents.
As more people around the country receive the COVID-19 vaccine, companies are starting to weigh the many factors impacting a return to the physical office.
While for most of the pandemic focus was on the workforce adapting to working from home, workforce surveys are now starting to reflect what we can expect the new world to look like. Many remote work skeptics have come around to the reality that much of the workforce became more effective during the pandemic. Cutting out commutes and allowing for more time with family were some of the silver linings at-home workers experienced in the past 14 months — and many will cling to these new benefits as companies start calling employees back into the office.
A recent survey from Savills North America found that while 73% of companies expect employees to be in the office at least three days a week, only 4% expect employees to be in the office every day. In other words, flexible work is here to stay.
On the surface, this sounds like bad news for communities reliant on occupied office buildings for tax revenue, particularly as almost 80% of companies surveyed by Savills claimed that at least some employees have been allowed to permanently relocate away from their previously assigned office. Coming out of the pandemic, locations like Arlington could be primed to benefit from an increased focus on amenity-rich environments.
Pre-pandemic, the number one driver for real estate decisions was positioning the office space as a desirable, interactive and engaging environment for employees. That will not change post-pandemic. High-quality amenities like restaurants, bars and entertainment venues, as well as robust transportation infrastructure, will move even higher on the list for companies looking to create a high-quality office environment. Employees that leave their home to travel to work will want the end destination to be fun, vibrant and amenity-rich to make their efforts worthwhile. Arlington has these in spades, but in a pre-pandemic world, companies had to weigh an employee’s commute into office location decisions, often placing the office in the center of an employee residential location heat map.
In a post-pandemic world, where employees are commuting into the office only one to three days a week, being centrally located to employees’ homes becomes of less importance. Companies, instead, can double down on high-quality, engaging offices in vibrant and accessible neighborhoods, with the expectation employees will be willing to make a longer journey knowing it will be less often. Companies that previously bet on bring located inside the beltway to attract the young and highly-educated workforce that resides closer to the city will now be able to double-dip into an additional pool of talented workers who have settled in the region’s suburbs and beyond.
A lot of unknowns still surround the return to the office, but as it draws closer there are reasons to be optimistic that Arlington will continue to be an attractive location to do business in the coming years.
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.