Ice Training for ACFD Water Rescue Team — While you were enjoying your weekend, snug in your warm home amid 10 degree weather, the Arlington County Fire Department’s water rescue team was using a chainsaw to cut holes in the ice on the Potomac and then jumping in. [Washington Post]
Freezing Rain Still Expected Tonight — A Winter Weather Advisory remains in effect tonight, as forecasters expect freezing rain to fall this afternoon and potentially make for a very messy evening commute. [Capital Weather Gang, Twitter]
Civic Federation Seeking County Event Help — The Arlington County Civic Federation is asking county government to help make it more affordable for civic associations to hold events on county property. Currently, there are insurance requirements that eat into civic associations’ meager budgets. [InsideNova]
Metro Proposes Refunds for Delays — “Under the proposal, riders would receive an automatic credit on their SmarTrip card if their trip is delayed by 15 minutes or more. Staff will ask Metro’s board to approve the change this week… The refunds would only be given during the weekday rush period.” [NBC Washington]
Crystal City Startup Scores $3 Million — Stardog Union, a “Enterprise Knowledge Graph startup” based in Crystal City, has added $3 million to its Series A venture funding round. The funding will be used for “marketing, sales and speeding up product development.” [Technically DC]
Notable Local Runner Publishes Novel — “Arlington marathon champion Jay Jacob Wind has published his first novel, a techno-thriller entitled The Man Who Stole the Sun, available now on Amazon Kindle and hand-printed by mail-order. ‘It is the first marathon terror fiction novel, based on the Marine Corps Marathon though Washington, DC, since the very real Boston Marathon bombing nearly five years ago, in April, 2013,’ Wind said.” [PRNewswire]
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
Sprynt launched in June, promising free rides along the corridor in electric vehicles that look a bit like a stretched-out golf cart with doors.
It initially offered short jaunts around a handful of Orange Line corridor neighborhoods, including Ballston, Virginia Square, Clarendon, Courthouse and Rosslyn. Within five days, the iOS app had over 700 downloads.
But when an ARLnow reporter tried to hail a ride today (Friday), a message popped up that the service is “not currently operating. Normal operating hours today are closed. We will be back in April 2018!”
— Allix Hillebrand (@allixdances) December 29, 2017
Fight Over Aquatics Center Operation Costs — Local budget hawks are worried that operating costs of the new Long Bridge Aquatics Center may take a chunk out of the county budget. The current staff estimate is about $1 million per year of net taxpayer support for operating costs, with a caveat that there may be a ramp-up period with less revenue and thus net higher costs. [InsideNova]
Arlington Honors ‘Fast Four’ Companies — Arlington County on Wednesday honored the fastest-growing local companies in four revenue categories. The companies honored were: Courthouse-based Mind Body Health, digital marketing company Knucklepuck, Ballston-based Deep Learning Analytics and another Ballston tech-oriented company, Apogee Research. [Arlington County]
Eastern Foundry Expanding Again — Arlington-based startup incubator Eastern Foundry is working with investors to launch Global Foundry, which will “provide international companies entrée to U.S. commercial and government markets, while exposing potential American customers to the innovation taking place overseas.” [Washington Business Journal]
Flickr pool photo by Eric
Local Entrepreneur Scores on Shark Tank — “Sharmi Albrechtsen, founder and CEO of Arlington-based tech toy company SmartGurlz, landed an investment from FUBU founder Daymond John on Sunday’s “Shark Tank” episode: $200,000 for 25 percent of the business.” [Washington Business Journal]
New Year’s Meeting Nixed Again — For the second year in a row, what was once the traditional New Year’s Day organizational meeting of the Arlington County Board will not be held on Jan. 1. The meeting is instead expected to be held on Jan. 2, according to a draft 2018 County Board calendar. [InsideNova]
ACPD Holding Toy Drive — The Arlington County Police Department is holding its third annual Fill the Cruiser Holiday Toy Drive for children in need in Arlington. Officers will be collecting toys on the evenings of Tuesday, Nov. 28 and Tuesday, Dec. 5 in various locations around the county. [Arlington County]
Flickr pool photo by Bekah Richards
We asked Alex about his startup and its business model, and how he got his start. This podcast was recorded live at 1776 in Crystal City. Thank you to the Chamber and our podcast sponsor, Crystal City.
A D.C.-based startup is helping parents find daycare options in Arlington County, even those not usually easy to find online.
And its Daycare Directory lists licensed child care providers in Arlington, Alexandria and D.C., including commercial and in-home daycare, some of which it says are “not easily found online.” The directory can be sorted by zip code, and will soon include information that used to require a phone call to determine, including pricing, operating hours, waiting lists and registration costs.
It lists 101 commercial and in-home child care providers in Arlington, sourced from state data obtained in September.
(On its child care website, Arlington County has its own lists of child care centers and in-home child care. The county’s lists appear to have more child care options than Maternie’s, but do not have the same level of detail Maternie is planning.)
In addition to its child care directory, Maternie offers quick guides on picking a health care provider, and will soon offer another on maternity leave. It provides expectant mothers struggling with “morning” sickness, disturbed sleep and heartburn guidance on symptoms, why they might be feeling that way and how to deal with it.
And there is also a section for women to anonymously share their stories of being in labor, with another to follow in the future about postpartum depression.
“This is a collection of stories from women in their own words,” the section on labor reads. “It includes the good, the bad and everything in between about labor and delivery. Nothing can quite capture the experience of giving birth, but hopefully these stories can demystify as much as possible.”
Images via Maternie
Arlington Startup to Appear on Shark Tank — SmartGurlz, an Arlington-based company that makes “a line of dolls that ride robotic scooters, controlled by an app built to teach girls to code,” is set to appear on an episode of ABC’s Shark Tank next month. At least one other Arlington startup has pitched investors on the show, successfully: Zoobean received an investment from Mark Cuban after appearing on the show in 2014. [Washington Business Journal]
Pop-Up Food Venue to Open in Crystal City — What was once an unassuming concession stand in the Crystal City Water Park on Crystal Drive has been renovated and is reopening on Wednesday, Nov. 1 as “The Stand,” featuring a “rotating lineup of pop-ups from the hottest local food vendors.” Among the vendors expected to take up temporary residence are La Columbe coffee, Cookie Dough & Co., B Doughnut, Capital Chicken & Waffle, Timber Pizza Company and Pinch Chinese dumplings. [Eater, The Stand]
Arlington Launches New Tourism Website — Arlington County has relaunched its tourism website. Per a press release: “The new website has the latest features, including responsive design… an enhanced regional events calendar integrating community events from Virginia.org and EventBrite; persistent mapping tied to local business listings; intuitive social media integration; HTML5 full-screen video and more.” [Arlington County, StayArlington]
Gutshall Endorsed by GGW — The urbanist website Greater Greater Washington has endorsed Democrat Erik Gutshall in the upcoming Arlington County Board general election. “Erik isn’t just for smart growth, he has deep experience and a strong track record from his time on Arlington’s Planning Commission and Transportation Commission,” the website wrote. “He’s a strong advocate for missing middle housing, bike infrastructure and transit-oriented development.” [Greater Greater Washington]
Clement Supports ADUs at Board Meeting — Independent County Board candidate Audrey Clement spoke in favor of loosening regulations on Accessory Dwelling Units at this past weekend’s Board meeting. “As a tenant in one of the few remaining affordable garden apartments in Westover Village, I welcome the prospect of moving to an ADU as opposed to a flat in an outlying suburb once my building is demolished,” Clement said. [Audrey Clement]
‘Breakfast With the Chief’ — Arlington County Police Chief Jay Farr will be hosting a breakfast for member of the local business community Monday morning in Rosslyn. “The event will provide information on the police department’s engagement with the business community to resolve public safety concerns, crime prevention and safety tips and a presentation by the FBI Cyber Security Task Force,” said ACPD. [Arlington County]
Phone2Action is a software-as-a-service company that creates software for organizations to launch campaigns on public policy. That includes helping connect advocates with lawmakers and other decision-makers. It has more than 300 clients.
The firm was originally located at 1401 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn, but chose to relocate to 1500 Wilson Blvd in the same neighborhood after outgrowing its previous office space.
The county convinced it to stay through an incentive-based Gazelle Grant, which encourages businesses to move into or stay in Arlington.
Under the terms of the grant, Phone2Action would receive $50,000 in return for leasing at least 13,400 square feet of office space, maintaining its existing 50 full-time jobs and adding another 170 new full-time jobs.
If Phone2Action does not reach 90 percent of its office space target, and has not created at least 50 percent of the new jobs by September 30, 2020, it will have to pay back some or all of the grant. It will use the money to build out its new office, and to defray the costs related to hiring new employees and relocating.
“The company raised $4.6 million in July 2016 and is currently operating within two growth industries: the advocacy industry (growing at 12 percent annually) and the social media/CRM industry (growing at 17 percent annually),” staff wrote. “For all of these reasons, Phone2Action has a large market opportunity for the long term.”
The Arlington County Board will vote on the grant at its meeting tomorrow (Saturday).
Photos via Phone2Action.
Two Arrested After Fleeing from ACPD — Two men who fled from a traffic stop in Arlington were later arrested in Northwest D.C. Arlington police tried to stop the vehicle near Washington Blvd and N. Kirkwood Road, in the Virginia Square area, but the car took off and police did not pursue, per department rules. U.S. Park Police then tried to stop the men in D.C. and they fled again but were eventually taken into custody after crashing their car along Connecticut Avenue. [Fox 5]
WSJ Highlights W-L’s 178 Valedictorians — Washington-Lee High School in Arlington had 178 valedictorians this past school year. Having multiple valedictorians is a national trend among high schools. W-L considers any student with a 4.0 GPA or above to be a valedictorian. [Wall Street Journal, Falls Church News-Press]
Arts + Startups = Millennials? — “Arts groups should work to make common cause with high-tech firms and Millennials in an effort to bring benefits to all, one panelist said at an arts forum sponsored by Opera Nova and held Oct. 8 at Washington Golf & Country Club.” [InsideNova]
Distil Hires New CEO — Distil Networks, the cybersecurity firm with offices in Arlington and San Francisco, was just trying to hire a new Chief Operating Officer but ended up with a new CEO. Tiffany Olson Jones will lead the company, with $20 million in revenue and 65 percent annual revenue growth, from Arlington. [San Francisco Business Times]
‘Speedy’ Tolliver Dies — “Roy ‘Speedy’ Tolliver, an Arlington-based bluegrass fiddler who performed at local folk festivals for 65 years and was an inaugural recipient of the Virginia Heritage Award in 2009, died Sept. 18 at an assisted living center in Arlington, Va. He was 99.” [Washington Post]
Photo courtesy Michael Thomas
Commonwealth Joe Gets $2.5 Million — Local nitro cold brew coffee purveyor and Pentagon City cafe operator Commonwealth Joe has landed a $2.5 million round of funding. The Arlington-based firm says it plans to use the investment to expand its cold brew business, which includes distributing kegs of the sweet, smooth chilled coffee to offices. [Washington Business Journal]
Local Holocaust Survivor Reunited — An Arlington man was reunited with a Dutch couple that hid him and his sister, who are both Jewish, from the Nazis in 1945. The reunion took place at the U.S. Holocaust Museum and happened thanks to a high school project undertaken by the couple’s grandson. [NBC Washington]
Raise for Arlington County Board Members? — There is renewed discussion of a significant raise for Arlington County Board members, in recognition that their job, rather than being part time as originally envisioned, now involves full-time hours. There are even “whispers” that Board salaries could be nearly doubled, to reach six-figures, according to one report. [InsideNova, InsideNova]
Tax Delinquency Rate Hits Historic Low — Arlington County’s 2017 tax delinquency rate has hit a record low of 0.226 percent, County Treasurer Carla de la Pava announced. That’s the lowest rate in Virginia and the lowest rate ever in Arlington, she said, touting it as “good for the county” and “good for taxpayers.” The news led Del. Patrick Hope to declare de la Pava the “best treasurer in the Commonwealth.” [Twitter, Twitter]
Remembering the Ballston Mall’s Past — First known as Parkington, then Ballston Common Mall, and soon (next year) to be reopened as Ballston Quarter, following extensive renovations, Ballston’s shopping mall has a long history that dates back to the early 1950s. [WETA]
Nearby: Legislation on Confederate Monument — State Sen. Adam Ebbin says he will introduce legislation “to give Alexandria the authority to relocate the Confederate statue in Old Town” Alexandria. “It is past time that we address the impact that lionizing the Confederacy has had on the character of our Commonwealth,” Ebbin said. [Twitter, Twitter]
Eastern Foundry Expanding Again — Government contracting startup accelerator Eastern Foundry is expanding once again. The accelerator is taking a 6,175-square-foot space directly below its Crystal City offices and dividing it into four suites “to attract larger companies that want a foothold in the co-working world.” [Washington Business Journal]
JBG’s Big Plans for Crystal City, Potomac Yard — The newly-merged JBG Smith sees an opportunity to transform its holdings in Pentagon City, Crystal City, Potomac Yard and North Old Town Alexandria into “24/7 environments” that “feel more like the [Rosslyn-Ballston] Corridor.” In Crystal City, the company wants to add new amenities. “What we want to do there is add retail amenities and residential to convince people who work there to live and play there,” said an executive. [Bisnow]
Real Estate Market Continues Upward Trajectory — “Year-over-year home sales and average sales prices across Northern Virginia were up slightly in July, leading to a 6.6-percent increase in total sales volume, according to new figures.” [InsideNova]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
A Crystal City-based startup is planning to add 184 jobs here as part of an expansion, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced Monday.
Trustify, which moved into new offices overlooking Long Bridge Park earlier this year, is planning to spend just over $1 million on building and equipment costs associated with the expansion. The 184 jobs are expected to be added over a period of three years, according to Virginia Economic Development Partnership.
A VEDP spokeswoman said Trustify will be eligible for nearly $120,000 in state reimbursement for job recruitment and training.
Trustify is a sort of “Uber-for-PIs,” using the internet to connect businesses and consumers with trained private investigators. It makes money by taking a cut of the hourly fee charged to customers.
In a press release, McAuliffe and other officials, including Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette and state Sen. Adam Ebbin, heaped praise on Trustify for its rapid expansion.
“Trustify’s impressive growth in a short amount of time is a strong example of what high-tech, entrepreneurial companies can accomplish in the Commonwealth,” said the governor. “Arlington County and the Northern Virginia region are home to a dynamic IT industry… We are proud to have this innovative business in the Commonwealth contributing to the new Virginia economy, and look forward to Trustify’s continued success.”
Trustify President Jennifer Mellon, in turn, lauded Arlington County as a place to do business.
“We decided on Arlington, Virginia for many reasons,” Mellon said. “The community here in Arlington is a fantastic place in which to work and commute. Arlington provides employers and employees many benefits and advantages that are not available in other areas and communities. We believe the DC Metro area, in general, is a beacon of inclusive innovation with some of the best percentages of women and diversity in tech compared to the rest of the country. We have transportation, office, and community options and benefits that made this area the clear choice for Trustify.”
Trustify says it raised $6.6 million in new funding this year, according to the Washington Business Journal. With that funding the company hopes to grow and capture more of the U.S. private investigations market. Figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics suggest that Trustify is after at least a $1.5 billion dollar market; there are some 28,500 private investigators nationwide making an average annual wage of around $53,500 a year, according to the BLS.
By the numbers, the company is one of the hottest tech startups in Arlington, but it is not without its critics. It has a very vocal, persistent critic in Glen Hellman, a local tech scene commentator and strategist who also goes by the nickname “Mr. Cranky.”
Hellman ripped what he characterized as an uncritical Washington Business Journal article on the governor’s Trustify announcement, despite being mentioned in that very article.
“It’s a good thing Washington Business Journal doesn’t have a sports page because they’d be writing headlines about every kid who ever received a participation trophy for being the bench warmer on the worst team in the lowest league of some minor 3rd grade soccer team,” Hellman said in an incendiary blog post this morning. “I believe the reason Trustify puts out these press releases is to counter any bad press they receive, to push down the SEO of negative stories and obfuscate… the truth in order to raise money from poor unsuspecting widows and orphans.”
The full press release from the governor’s office, after the jump.
Police Investigating Shooting in DoD Office Building — Arlington County police are investigating a fatal shooting in the Defense Department’s Taylor building, at 2530 Crystal Drive in Crystal City. The shooting happened this morning and initial reports suggest it was self-inflicted.
Lyon Village Profiled by WaPo — “Close to both the Clarendon and Court House Metro stops on the Orange and Silver lines, Lyon Village is the kind of neighborhood where families know their neighbors, children play and parents can walk almost everywhere.” [Washington Post]
ACPD Recruiting for Citizen’s Police Academy — Applications are currently being accepted for the Arlington County Citizen’s Police Academy. The academy “was designed to create a better understanding and communication between citizens and the police through education.” Applicants are subject to background checks before acceptance into the program, which shows the “inner workings” of the police department. [Arlington County]
Arlington Hosts Travel Trade Show Attendees — Arlington County hopes to get a big tourism and economic boost from its promotional efforts during this year’s U.S. Travel Association IPW trade show, which was held in D.C. for the first time. The county, in partnership with the Rosslyn BID, JBG Companies, and Fashion Centre at Pentagon City mall, also hosted 150 trade show attendees in Rosslyn on Monday. [Arlington County]
Crystal City Startup Gets Big Funding Boost — Arlington-based private detective booking startup Trustify has raised more than $6.5 million as part of its latest fundraising round. The company recently opened a new office in Crystal City. [Washington Business Journal]
Letter to the Editor: Kids Over Dogs — The writer of a letter to the editor of the Sun Gazette newspaper doesn’t understand why, in county government, there seems to be more urgency over proposed changes to a dog park than making sure there is enough land to build new schools to keep up with rising enrollment. [InsideNova]
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
Would you be willing to hear a quick sales pitch to get a free ride down Clarendon Blvd? If so a local startup is preparing to launch just the service for you.
Sprynt will be offering “free 100% electric on-demand rides around downtown Arlington” starting Wednesday, June 21, according to a Facebook post. The company’s electric vehicle — which looks a bit like a stretched-out golf cart with doors — was spotted rolling down the street in Clarendon Monday morning.
Rides will be booked on a soon-to-launch iPhone app and will initially be available for short jaunts around a handful of Orange Line corridor neighborhoods, including Ballston, Virginia Square, Clarendon, Courthouse and Rosslyn.
The rides will be free, with the company making money through advertising.
“Sprynt aims to provide an exciting, efficient, and eco-friendly method of transportation that strengthens communities by connecting residents to local businesses,” says the company’s website. “Our unique solution to the growing demand for alternative transportation is made possible through strategic advertising partnerships with local and national brands. These partnerships allow us to transport our passengers 100% free of charge!”
“Sprynt Team Drivers are responsible for transporting passengers safely while socializing with them and recommending our sponsored brands,” says the job listing. “Our drivers are brand ambassadors for our sponsors, educating passengers on our sponsors’ products and services.”
The company’s website shows a number of different “eco-friendly” advertising options for companies, including ads on an in-vehicle iPad, on its mobile app and wrapped around the vehicle. Drivers might also give away free samples to customers.
Photos via Facebook
School Board Hears Opposition to Enrollment Proposal — At last night’s School Board meeting, during a public hearing about a proposed update to APS’ enrollment and transfer policy, some spoke out against what they saw as a policy that would disadvantage applicants to choice schools who do not live near the school. Among those speaking in opposition to the proposal was former U.S. CTO Aneesh Chopra, who has also created a Medium post explaining his opposition. [Medium]
Spraygrounds to Open Next Week — Arlington’s “spraygrounds” — play areas for children where water shoots up out of the ground — will open for the season starting Friday, May 26. The spraygrounds are located at Drew Park (3500 23rd Street S.), Virginia Highlands Park (1600 S. Hayes Street), Lyon Village Park (1800 N. Highland Street) and Hayes Park (1516 N. Lincoln Street). [InsideNova]
Startups Galore in Crystal City — More than 300 startups now call Crystal City home, according to the neighborhood’s business improvement district. That’s thanks in large part to coworking spaces like WeWork and 1776, but other startups in Crystal City have grown beyond a small, shared office. [Twitter]