Arlington, VA

Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow, StartupMonday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. Monday Properties is proudly featuring Shirlington Gateway. Say hello to the new 2800 Shirlington, which recently delivered a brand-new lobby and upgraded fitness center. Experience a prime location and enjoy being steps from Shirlington Village, a large retail hub with a variety of unique restaurants and shopping options. Spec suites with bright open plans and modern finishes are under construction and will deliver soon!

Ballston startup HyperQube recently announced a new batch of funding that will help boost its growth efforts.

The startup specializes in taking a company’s digital infrastructure, cloning it, then throwing every hack and virus imaginable at the clone to see what gets through. Once those weaknesses are found, HyperQube helps companies review, document, and fix their code to be more secure.

HyperQube raised $2.5 million in seed funding, primarily from Leawood Venture Capital, a fairly small Kansas-based investment group that also recently financed Sorcero, a language intelligence startup based out of D.C.

Craig Stevenson, HyperQube’s founder and CEO, said that more companies moving towards working from home as a result of the pandemic will result in an increased necessity to maintain safe and stable online infrastructure.

“With the growing remote workforce necessitating a rush to the cloud, HyperQube is poised to accelerate and manage that process while simultaneously reducing costs and enhancing security,” Stevenson said in a press release.

Beyond cybersecurity, HyperQube’s cloned structures allow companies to test and alter code on their websites safely to see what the results look like without compromising their main website.

The press release said HyperQube plans to use the funding to expand the sales, marketing, and engineering teams.

Photo via HyperCube

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Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnowStartup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. Monday Properties remains firmly committed to the health, safety and well-being of its employees, tenants and community. This week, Monday Properties is proudly featuring 1000 and 1100 Wilson (The Rosslyn Towers).

Rosslyn startup Airside Mobile is rebranding to just Airside as part of a pivot from being a travel app developer to a company focused on securing data and privacy in online interactions.

“Airside was founded shortly after the first generation iPhone was launched,” the company said in its blog. “We hopped at the opportunity to develop ultra-secure mobile technology, including the award-winning Mobile Passport App. However, the ‘Airside Mobile’ label no longer applies to our broader set of capabilities and offerings that extend beyond mobile apps to SDKs, APIs, and more. Our new name maintains the continuity of our brand while also allowing more breadth and depth for our products and services.”

In an interview with the podcast State of Identity, Chief Commercial Officer Jessica Patel said that international changes brought about by COVID-19 have emphasized the need for secure online interactions.

“The world has changed so much in these last couple of months,” Patel said. “There are some industries in the short term that have gone fully virtual that people might not have expected, like technology supporting fully virtual education. Obviously virtual healthcare and the overall health-tech space has evolved and become a bigger need in these more recent weeks… There are some of these industries that were not nearly as virtual as they are today [and there is] a need for digital identity to play a major role.”

Patel said she doubted that many of the industries that had to shift to virtual interactions will ever go back to the level of in-person interaction before the pandemic.

“When I think about changes all kinds of industries will have to make there’s going to be moves to offering digital interactions instead of physical,” Patel said. “There’s going to be a real push to implement more contactless solutions. I think that’s where leveraging digital ID and biometric technologies are going to play a huge role in a lot of these verticals.”

Over the last few months, the company has offered its digital suite of products to organizations on the front lines of fighting the pandemic, free of charge.

“If your organization is on the frontlines of the fight against COVID-19 and you believe that a digital identity solution would support your cause, please contact us,” the company said in a press release. “We’re here to help. Airside is uniquely positioned to respond to this need because we can protect the data with best-in-class encryption, ensure a high level of privacy for the individual and the organization, and utilize our FedRAMP-certified environment to handle increased transactions for your fundamentally important cause.”

Patel said the company’s experience in verifying identities while maintaining privacy is opening doors to expanding into a variety of financial, retail, and travel interactions. The company offers products like software development kits businesses can use for their own products or document scanning and chip reading products. Some of those, Patel said, are sold as monthly or annual licenses, while others are product sales.

“As we look to grow how we’re supporting consumers, we’ve grown beyond a customs application into a broader digital identity solution,” Patel said, “whether in banking, travel, insurance, education technology… we’re seeking to a be a ubiquitous form of digital identity that continues to put the control of sensitive information in the consumer’s hands.”

It’s a message that seems to have resonated with investors, with the Washington Business Journal reporting last week that Airside has raised $13.6 million in new funding.

Photo via Airside/Facebook

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(Updated at 3:50 p.m.) Just a few months after moving into a larger office space in Courthouse, Arlington cybersecurity startup DivvyCloud is being acquired for $145 million by larger cybersecurity company Rapid7, Inc.

In the crowded cybersecurity marketplace in Arlington, DivvyCloud specializes as a cloud-focused security option that not only fixes gaps in security coverage but makes it easier for a company to see where its security is weakest.

The acquisition is expected to close during the second quarter of 2020, according to a spokesperson for the company. When it does, it will be a big payday for the company and any employee that received equity in it, as well as one of the Arlington startup scene’s bigger exits, alongside fellow Courthouse tech firm Opower’s 2016 acquisition.

“Through DivvyCloud’s platform, Rapid7 will enable customers to innovate more securely in the cloud and make infrastructure more accessible and manageable for both DevOps and security teams,” said Brian Johnson, CEO and co-founder of DivvyCloud.

As more companies using the cybersecurity services of Boston-based Rapid7 start to move more to cloud-based services, DivvyCloud will allow customers to innovate and safely move out of data centers, making their infrastructure more accessible.

“Joining forces with Rapid7 is a natural next step,” said Johnson. “Their commitment to customers, employees, and company culture is well-aligned with the values that have made DivvyCloud so successful. With the combined expertise of both Rapid7 and DivvyCloud, we are even better positioned to help enterprises accelerate innovation using cloud and containers without the loss of control.”

Despite the acquisition, Johnson tells ARLnow that the company is staying put.

“The DivvyCloud team will continue to be located and work out of our office in Arlington,” he said, “although we are all working from home these days.”

Photo courtesy DivvyCloud

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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.

DivvyCloud, an Arlington startup specializing in cloud-based cybersecurity, is planning to more than double in size with a move into a new much larger new headquarters in Courthouse.

It’s is far from the only cybersecurity company working in Arlington, but DivvyCloud carved out a niche as a cloud-focused security option that not only fixes gaps in security coverage but makes it easier for a company to see where its security is weakest.

Today (Monday) the company moved into a new 13,000 square foot office at 2111 Wilson Blvd, an office over six-times larger than its old 2,000 square foot office in Rosslyn. In a press release, CEO and co-founder Brian Johnson said the office expansion is a result of adding new employees, with more expected down the road.

“[Since 2018] the company has grown from 20 to 55 local employees — an increase of 175 percent — and plans to reach at least 120 employees within the next year,” Johnson said.

The company has netted some sizable investments over the last year, along with new contracts with customers from Pizza Hut to Fannie Mae. In an email to ARLnow, Johnson said the expansion is justified by an increasing need in cloud-based coverage — particularly in light of recent major data breaches.

“In our recent report, we found that 77% percent of respondents reported having two or more clouds, yet less than half of respondents were able to accurately identify the risk of misconfiguration in public cloud as higher than the risk in traditional IT environments,” Johnson said. “Countless major data breaches, including Honda and Capital One, have been caused by misconfigurations just in 2019 alone. As a result, more and more companies are realizing the need for an effective solution to prevent misconfigurations and properly secure cloud and container infrastructure.”

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This article was written by Sindy Yeh, Senior Business Ambassador for Arlington Economic Development.

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.

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(Updated at 5:20 p.m.) Arlington County has revealed a cyber attack that penetrated the county’s payroll system.

In a statement, the county says a number of employees were impacted by the intrusion, but did not specify the exact number or impacts. The intrusion appears to be the result of a “phishing” email targeting county employees and not a hack, the press release suggests.

Police are investigating.

Arlington’s cybersecurity division previously told ARLnow that it was staffing up and training county employees in light of the growing number of cyber attacks. The county budgeted $60,000 for the department to teach county employees how to avoid phishing emails, among other security best practices.

The full press release is below.

Arlington County Government recently discovered the existence of an intrusion into the Arlington County payroll system. This intrusion was limited in both the time of the compromise and the number of the employees who were impacted. No resident data was compromised during the intrusion.

All of the impacted employees have been identified, advised of the situation and steps are being taken to ensure the security of their personal data. Based on a joint review by the Arlington County Department of Technology Services and the Arlington County Police Department, the consensus belief is that the intrusion was likely the result of individual employees being targeted through a phishing email.

Since discovery of the intrusion, Arlington County has implemented enhanced cyber security features to safeguard email and other critical computing systems. As part of our education and crime prevention efforts, Arlington County is sharing cyber safety tips and reminding employees and the public not to open any emails from individuals they are unfamiliar with and to not click on links contained with any emails without first verifying their content.

The intrusion is currently being investigated by the Arlington County Police Department. Any information related to this ongoing investigation can be provided to Detective John Bamford of the Department’s Homeland Security Section at [email protected] Information may also be provided anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 866.411.TIPS (8477).

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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.

Fueled by a recent investment, Courthouse-based startup DivvyCloud unveiled a new suite of features to help identify potential cybersecurity weak spots at a glance

The most high profile of the new features is a new “heat map” scorecard to help companies visualize where their cybersecurity defenses are strongest and where they are most vulnerable.

According to a blog post:

This new feature delivers a visual representation of risk aligned with regulatory standards, industry standards, or your own corporate standards; through an interactive heat map.

With fast paced changes in infrastructure, and the need to have flexibility for deployments into cloud platforms, it has become increasingly challenging to remaining compliant to industry standards. DivvyCloud’s Compliance Scorecard helps you audit compliance and identify risks in your cloud environment in a simple, transparent way.

The accounts are listed on the y-axis, while insights — specific behaviors, conditions or characteristics of cybersecurity — are listed along the x-axis. Accounts with less than 85 percent compliance to security standards are listed in red.

In the sample scorecard above, “Bob” has stale Application Program Interface credentials — coding that allows communication between two applications — meaning Bob has access to a program but his credentials to do so may be out of date.

The feature is designed to assist teams, like auditors or security management, in identifying areas where there are potential gaps in cybersecurity coverage. The scorecard can also recommend guidance for potential problems and direct the viewer to the relevant resources.

Other improvements include a new threat detection system that utilizes machine learning and anomaly detection technologies. DivvyCloud listed cryptocurrency mining, credential compromise behavior, and calls from known malicious IPs as potential threats the technology helps to identify.

DivvyCloud recently announced that it had achieved $19 million in funding in a recent growth round, bringing the total capital raised to $29 million.

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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.

Updated 3:35 p.m. — Ballston-based ThreatConnect — a cybersecurity company helping other companies fend off hackers — is planning to ramp up its operations thanks to an investment from Providence Strategic Growth (PSG).

ThreatConnect specializes in cybersecurity “intelligence,” where the information on incoming threats is collected across member organizations and spread across the network, so information gained from an attack on one company can be used to defend the others.

The company started in Shirlington but has since moved to its current headquarters in Ballston. But while ThreatConnect’s location may have changed, CEO and Co-Founder Adam Vincent said its core strategy has not.

“We have had the same vision since we released the first version of the ThreatConnect Platform in 2013,” Vincent said in an email. “We were a step ahead of the market then, and I feel we are still in front of the market today. Our vision is, and was, to improve decision-making in cyber — giving the business the ability to make smarter, faster decisions and act on them quickly — all without adding additional personnel.”

Even though the mission hasn’t changed, the client base has expanded.

“While in the beginning, we were an obvious choice for large enterprises, we see more mid-size companies choosing ThreatConnect,” Vincent said. “We are seeing more verticals — for example, healthcare, utilities — in addition to all the financial and retail companies we have served for years. Given the current security climate, all organizations are realizing that a security program is not a ‘nice to have’ but a ‘need to have’ in order to grow their own business.”

The exact amount of the investment isn’t being disclosed — a common trend among recent investments — but Vincent said PSG is fully committed to the company’s strategic growth.

“We chose them as a strategic partner, not just another investor, because we know their support will be ongoing,” Vincent said. “PSG appreciates our value proposition — to change how businesses manage their security — which was a driver for them investing.”

After the investment, Vincent said ThreatConnect will begin accelerating its current strategy. In a blog post, the company said it will be making new investments in data sources to provide more information for operational and tactical decision making.

But as ThreatConnect grows, it has no plans to leave Arlington.

“We think Arlington is a great place to work, whether in cybersecurity or another vertical,” Vincent said. “It is close and very accessible to D.C., but not too close. And, though our business is worldwide, we choose to have our headquarters in Arlington. It’s our home. It seems like a great central location for most of the staff that comes into the office. The immediate area around the office has grown and changed a great deal in just the short time we have been here — and everyone appreciates the new food/drink options that have recently opened or are about to open.”

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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.

Three young, tech-focused startups in Arlington were among 41 projects across the state awarded $2.51 million in funding.

The Commonwealth Research Commercialization Fund (CRCF) awards, announced by Gov. Ralph Northam on June 6, included grant funding for Fend Incorporated — a Startup Monday frequent guest — NOVI LLC and SeeHear LLC.

The CRCF is run through the Center for Innovative Technology (CIT), a non-profit corporation funded in part through the state to promote technological development in Virginia.

Fend Incorporated adds a system with a physical beam-link used to transfer data in otherwise digital systems, making them less prone to hacking. The company was awarded $50,000.

NOVI LLC develops autonomous, intelligent satellites and was awarded $48,700.

SeeHear LLC is a corporation that commercializes earlier government research into web-based speech programs for adults with hearing loss. The company was awarded $50,000.

According to a spokesperson for CIT, proposals undergo a multi-stage review process, including assessments by subject matter experts and evaluation by the CIT Board of Directors.

“Virginia is recognized as one of the most innovative states in the nation, and we know that identifying and supporting Virginia innovators at critical early stages through state-funded programs like CRCF is key to maintaining and expanding our leadership role,” Northam said in a press release. “The Commonwealth will continue to deliver programs that facilitate bringing pioneering technologies and ideas to market and create a culture where entrepreneurs will thrive.”

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Morning Notes

Favola’s Consulting Questioned by Challenger — “Is two-term Sen. Barbara Favola (D-31) a rising star, poised to become chairwoman of a Senate committee if Democrats seize control of the Senate? Or is she an opportunist capitalizing on insider influence for personal gain? That’s a question for voters this June in a primary that pits Favola against challenger Nicole Merlene.” [Arlington Connection]

Video: CCTV Sewer Inspections — Arlington County uses cameras inserted into manholes to inspect its sanitary and storm sewers for cracks and other problems. [YouTube]

Another Arlington Cybersecurity Firm Acquired — “Arlington-based endpoint cybersecurity firm Endgame is being acquired by Netherlands-based search and data management firm Elastic N.V. for $234 million in stock and debt repayment, according to an announcement by the two companies.” [Washington Business Journal]

New Cybersecurity Firm Unveiled — “[Arlington-based] Kfivefour today emerged from stealth and announced the immediate availability of its full spectrum Red Team assessments, training and penetration testing services. Kfivefour is a private sector focused cybersecurity affiliate of Millennium Corporation, a defense contractor and cybersecurity company.” [PR Newswire]

Local Startup Founder Arrested — “[Former Arlington resident] Andrew Powers, the founder and CEO of communications technology firm CommuniClique Inc. — sometimes known as Clique API — has been arrested by the FBI, which has charged him with a felony for what it described as part of ‘a multimillion-dollar fraud scheme.'” [Washington Business Journal]

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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.

Tinkering with the virtual structure of a company can be hazardous, so instead, Ballston-based startup HyperQube will make a digital clone of a company and then subject it to every horrible cyberattack known to man.

It’s the Portrait of Dorian Gray for the digital age.

“Being able to rapidly clone entire infrastructure, including the networking, allows enterprises to test in ways that used to be too expensive,” Craig Stevenson, founder and CEO, told ARLnow. “Before HyperQube, probing an enterprise’s defenses was costly and dangerous, since you are probing real systems which can’t be taken offline. Now, you could spin up hundreds of exact copies of an enterprise’s defenses and probe them both risk-free and simultaneously, saving massive amounts of effort and eliminating the risk of taking a production system offline.”

HyperQube describes the virtual environment as “alternate realities” that allow users to test, play and break to their hearts’ desire.

The ability to clone digital structures isn’t new, but Stevenson said HyperQube allows the clones to be built and modified quickly.

Various products focus on different scales and targets, like Hyperskill — which uses the cloning method to allow instructors and students to tinker with real systems without potential consequences.

The startup launched in January 2018 after participating in the local cybersecurity accelerator Mach37.

HyperQube ran an event last year where they invited hackers to come participate in a digital competition where, once a platform was shut down, the hackers wrote out detailed explanations of their exploits and offered suggestions on how to fix them.

The company recently signed partnerships with the National Guard, Department of Homeland Security, Cisco and other groups. Stevenson said more partnerships were on their way soon, but couldn’t announce any further details. HyperQube also raised $500,000 in seed funding, which is going toward sales, development and new hires.

Stevenson said Arlington has been a great place to run a cyber startup.

“For us, being within 40 minutes of a customer in D.C. or our data center in Ashburn, makes Arlington ideal,” said Stevenson.

Photo via HyperQube

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