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Morning Notes

Another Chase Branch Coming to Arlington — Following its purchase of the former Walgreens in Clarendon, JPMorgan Chase is now planning a second bank branch in Arlington. The new branch will reportedly be located at the northwest corner of N. Randolph Street and Wilson Boulevard in Ballston. [Washington Business Journal]

Preservationists Eye Local Log Cabin — “A retired florist, Cal Marcey is worried over possible destruction of one of Arlington’s remaining log cabins, to which his ancestors have ties. A new owner has purchased the early-19th century Birchwood cabin at N. Wakefield and 26th sts., and the plans — renovation versus teardown — are unclear.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Record Round for Arlington Startup — “Arlington safety and security startup LiveSafe Inc. has raised $11.1 million in fresh funding, according to Securities and Exchange Commission filings. It’s the company’s largest round so far and puts its total funding at about $25 million, according to a review of previous SEC filings. LiveSafe did not respond to requests for comment.” [Washington Business Journal]

Business Group Wants Better Bus Service — “A group of chief executives from the greater Washington region says deficiencies in bus service are holding back growth in the region. The region’s bus network possesses valuable assets, including more than 3,800 buses and a growing system of limited-stop service and bus rapid transit lines, but the region hasn’t fully leveraged the potential of the network to help solve its transportation challenges.” [Washington Post, Greater Greater Washington]

Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley

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Morning Notes

Secret Service Vehicle Stolen in Arlington — A pair of thieves stole a vehicle belonging to the U.S. Secret Service from an Arlington service center yesterday afternoon. The vehicle did not have any equipment inside that “compromises the Secret Service mission,” the Secret Service told news organizations. It was reported stolen from the 900 block of N. Jackson Street, which corresponds with the location of Arlington Autocare near Clarendon. [WUSA 9, Washington Post]

Arlington and Alexandria Working Together on HQ2 — “The city of Alexandria and Arlington County are apparently working together in their efforts to land Amazon.com Inc.’s second headquarters… Arlington County’s Crystal City and the Alexandria portion of Potomac Yard south of Four Mile Run are believed to have been jointly offered up in response to Amazon’s September request for proposals.” [Washington Business Journal]

Monday Properties Expands Local Portfolio — Monday Properties, a major property owner in Rosslyn, has acquired a pair of office buildings in Alexandria and Herndon. The properties are both near potential D.C. area landing spots for Amazon’s HQ2. However, Monday’s Rosslyn portfolio itself is being seriously considered for the second headquarters by the Seattle-based online giant. [Washington Business Journal]

New Tenant for 1812 N. Moore Street — “Monday Properties has found a neighbor for Nestle USA in Rosslyn. International health IT juggernaut Cerner Corp. has signed on for 38,000 square feet at 1812 N. Moore, according to Bisnow.” [Bisnow, Washington Business Journal]

Snagajob Rebrands as ‘Snag’ — “Eighteen years in, Snagajob is rebranding. The Arlington, Va.-based company that provides a platform to find jobs is now called Snag, CEO Peter Harrison said on Tuesday. With the rebrand comes a new product. The company plans to expand a platform that can help connect to on-demand shifts.” [Technically DC, Washington Business Journal]

Bunny Needs Foster Home — A bunny dubbed Cherry Blossom is in need of a foster home. “Cherry Blossom was found outside, cold, skinny, and urine-scalded — now she needs a friend to help her gain her strength back,” said the Animal Welfare League of Arlington via social media. [Twitter]

Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley

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Morning Notes

More on Hit-and-Run Suspect Arrest — A lobbyist known for his promotion of conspiracy theories, particularly theories about the murder of DNC staffer Seth Rich, says he was the victim of an incident that led to the arrest of a man in Fairlington on Saturday. Jack Burkman says the suspect, Kevin Doherty, shot him twice and tried to run him over with an SUV in the parking garage of the Key Bridge Marriott in Rosslyn. [Washington Post]

Isabella Sued for Sexual Harassment — “Celebrity chef Mike Isabella, the head of a $30 million culinary empire based in the nation’s capital, was sued Monday by a former top manager who claims that Isabella and his partners repeatedly sexually harassed her in the workplace… [The plaintiff] told The Post she joined Isabella’s company as a regional manager in 2015, helping to open his three Arlington, Va., properties.” [Washington Post]

Sprynt to Reopen for Season — Local free ride service Sprynt will be reopening for the season “in a few weeks,” according to founder Alex Villanueva. One of the company’s electric vehicles was seen parked in Clarendon last night with a “now hiring” sign on it. [Twitter]

Hotel Company Moving HQ to Crystal City — Interstate Hotels and Resorts is moving its headquarters from Ballston to Crystal City, per a press release. The company is leasing 35,000 square feet at 2011 Crystal Drive. [Twitter]

Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman

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Arlington Startups Attend SXSW Conference

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.

Several Arlington startups, including Clarendon-based Adlumin, attended the SXSW conference on technology, music culture and film more than a week ago in Austin, Texas.

Adlumin, a cybersecurity company that uses machine learning to track client behavior and sends alerts for suspicious activity, participated in an AED-organized panel called “War Games: From Battlefield to Ballot Box.” The discussion touched on innovations and changes in the industry.

The discussion touched on innovations and changes in the industry, including trends in how cyber attacks are being perpetrated that panelists have encountered. Adlumin’s CEO Robert Johnston was on the panel for his experience dealing with the cyber attacks in 2016 on the Democratic National Committee.

“[Rob’s] seen it go from really a complete use of malware to get into a network to now it’s really on more stealing credentials,” said Timothy Evans, co-founder and VP of business development of Adlumin. “It’s more along the lines of what nation states are doing to hack into networks. Your regular criminal hacker is acting much more like a nation state,”

 “That is a real question — I think the U.S. citizens, we’re really concerned about what we’re doing to stop interference next year or this year in 2018,” he said, adding that there were at least six questions regarding efforts to prevent Russia from meddling in the 2018 midterms.

Andrea Limbago, chief social scientist at Endgame, a different cybersecurity company for enterprises also based in Clarendon, held a talk called “Bots, Trolls, Warriors & The Path Ahead” at SXSW. She discussed the intersection of policy and innovation needed to fight the bots and trolls.

Limbago said that the audience at her talk was engaging, which is something that she doesn’t always experience at tech conferences.

“It’s great having a growing tech community in Arlington, and then representing that out here [in Austin],” Limbago said.

Several other Arlington businesses were at SXSW, including Axios, Trustify, and Fortalice, said Cara O’Donnell, Arlington Economic Development’s public relations director.

Photo courtesy of Endgame

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Morning Notes

Sexual Assault Suspect Was Maintenance Worker — The man arrested and charged with sexually assaulting a woman in her apartment in Rosslyn last year worked as a maintenance worker for an apartment building in D.C. Police say he posed as a maintenance worker in the Rosslyn building to get the victim to open her door, before forcing his way into the apartment. [NBC Washington]

New Uber Pickup at DCA — “If you are planning to take an Uber, Lyft or other ride-share service from Reagan National Airport, you’ll need to head to a new spot to be picked up. Airport officials have moved the pick up zone to the ticketing level (upstairs) at Terminals B and C.” [Washington Post]

Spotted: M.J. Stewart at NFL Combine — Former Yorktown football star M.J. Stewart, who was also a standout defensive back at the University of North Carolina, was among those working out at the NFL Scouting Combine over the past week. [Twitter]

Rosslyn Hyatt Sold — The Hyatt Centric hotel in Rosslyn has been sold to a subsidiary of publicly-traded hotel operator Sotherly Hotels for $79.7 million. The hotel was recently renovated. [Seeking Alpha]

LiveSafe Helping to Keep SXSW Safe — The South by Southwest festival is utilizing the mobile safety app produced by Arlington-based LiveSafe to help with event security this year. SXSW kicks off on Friday in Austin, Texas. [DC Inno]

Nearby: Alexandria Residents Oppose Beer Garden — “Residents of a townhouse development next to a proposed beer garden in Del Ray are opposing the business, saying it will create ‘noise and safety issues’ and ‘negatively affect our community.'” [Washington Business Journal]

Flickr pool photo by Duluoz Me

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Mentor Method Creates Algorithm to Find the Perfect Work Mentor Match

Startup Monday header

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

Janice Omadeke, CEO and founder of The Mentor Method, which matches mentors and underrepresented professionals, said she was always a top performer in her career. Yet she never found a good mentoring program at her previous jobs.

One of the reasons she founded the Arlington-based startup was because she thought she was being treated as another check box in previous mentoring programs for external attributes such as her skin color and age.

“I was disappointed by corporate mentoring programs that matched me based on my race or my age, and I never felt as though they really invested in me,” she said.

Technology is helping to correct that. When connecting mentors and mentees, The Mentor Method uses an algorithm that helps reduce implicit bias connecting people on a deeper level, Omadeke said.

The way The Mentor Method works is that a company, wanting to hire more inclusively, pays for the mentorship program, supplying its own top performing employees as mentors. Then Mentor Method connects the companies with mentees who enter the program for free.

The end goal is to increase employee retention while also increasing diversity in the workplace. “Stop losing top performers,” the company’s website urges.

A proof of its effectiveness: 90 percent of the startup’s mentor matches still communicate a year later, according to Omadeke.

“We’ve seen a lot of success, and it’s actually really exciting to go from having an idea in my living room to actually being able to help people,” Omadeke said. “That’s why I started the Mentor Method to really change the way people talk and view inclusion.”

The deeper mission of the organization is to help underrepresented professionals, particularly women and people of color.

One of the success story revolves around a Mentor Method user who who signed up as a mentee. The mentee had studied graphic design at a tech bootcamp and was having a hard time finding work because “she didn’t fit a certain box,” Omadeke said. While working at TGI Fridays the user was matched with a mentor at a large consulting company and within two months of their working relationship she was offered an internship which turned into a full-time job.

Omadeke noted that the mentor also benefited from the relationship, saying that it really opened the mentor’s eyes to other socioeconomic classes. Later, the mentor pushed more within the organization to ensure inclusive practices were considered at all levels.

When Omadeke thought about why some mentoring programs didn’t work, she noticed that companies didn’t put enough resources into the efforts. Or the company would have someone who ran the program as a side opportunity, not full time. As a result, she wanted to make a program that was seamless, pain-free and high-value as possible.

“That way companies can spend less time looking at spreadsheets and trying to figure out what to do and more time really seeing that data and reporting so that they know how to continue that investment in their employees,” Omadeke said.

The reason young professionals come to The Mentor Method is because it’s a challenge to find a mentor, she said. Perhaps their employer views them as a checkbox instead of an asset, or they may not feel valued at their company, or they just don’t have the resources to find a mentor.

“They’re also tired of standard corporate mentoring method that doesn’t really take into account personality, value, skill set, where you want to go,” Omadeke said. The Mentor Method “is a more people-focused, authentic approach to that and people are responding very positively to it.”

Photos courtesy The Mentor Method

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Morning Notes

Pentagon City Metro Tunnel Now Open — At long last, the pedestrian tunnel from the corner of S. Hayes Street and 12th Street S. to the Pentagon City Metro station has opened. [Twitter]

Firefighters Push for RaiseIAFF Local 2800, which represents Arlington firefighters and paramedics, is pushing for a raise in this year’s county budget process. The group says Arlington’s compensation for public safety employees “is at the bottom of the DMV.” [Twitter]

Chamber Concerned With 4MRV Initiative — The Arlington Chamber of Commerce has written a letter to the County Board expressing concerns with the Four Mile Run Valley Initiative and possible changes to or acquisition of the light industrial properties along Four Mile Run Drive. [Arlington Chamber]

Growing Up Black in Arlington — From 1950 to 1962, growing up black in Arlington meant facing segregation and racism at every turn, and not feeling safe venturing out of the largely self-contained confines of a historically African-American neighborhood like Hall’s Hill. [Falls Church News-Press]

Arlington Startup Raises $3 Million — What started as a way for the owner of conveyor belt sushi chain Wasabi Sushi to streamline his accounting is now a venture-funded startup. Arlington-based MarginEdge has raised $3 million to go national with its restaurant management software. [Washington Business Journal]

Axios Makes ‘Most Innovative’ List Fast-growing Clarendon-based media startup Axios has been named one of the top 10 most innovative media companies of 2018. [Fast Company]

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Arlington’s Sunniva Goes to ‘Shark Tank,’ Walks Away Without a Deal

Crystal City-based “super coffee” company Sunniva was featured on ABC’s Shark Tank last night, but its three Arlington co-founders walked away without a deal.

Two of the show’s venture capitalist “sharks” were interested in a deal, but both real estate mogul Barbara Corcoran and millionaire marketing expert Rohan Oza said that they didn’t like the beverage’s aftertaste. The proposed deal was $500,000 for a 4.5% stake in the company – which meant that the three-person team was valuing their two-year-old coffee company at approximately $11 million.

The cost to create the product is $1.05 per bottle, which the company sells to distributors for $1.85 per bottle. Its shelf price is $3.29, which is less than the $4.99-$7.99 range that premium coffee beverages with ingredients like coconut oil sell for, according to the brothers.

The founders, Jake, Jimmy, and Jordan DeCicco, are brothers. Jordan dropped out of college and Jimmy left his job in order to develop what they call “super coffee.”

“At the end of the day, I’m doing this with my two little brothers. It’s love, it’s trust, it’s hustle, it’s competition. And no coach, no shark, no boss can tell us otherwise,” said Jimmy DeCicco at the end of their Shark Tank feature.

Their brew is a blend of organic Colombian coffee, 10 grams of lactose-free proteins, and coconut oil. The coffee comes in several flavors, including maple hazelnut and vanilla bean.

Photos via ABC’s Shark Tank

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Morning Notes

Highway Renaming Bill Fails — A bill from state Sen. Barbara Favola that would have allowed Arlington to rename Jefferson Davis Highway in the county failed to get out of committee on a 7-6 party line vote. The county will likely have to wait until next year’s legislative session to try again to get a bill passed.  [InsideNova]

Snagajob Heading Toward IPO — “Arlington job management company Snagajob aims to raise up to $30 million, part of a strategy to reach $100 million in revenue this year to prepare the fast-growing company for a future initial public offering.” [Washington Business Journal]

County Releases Annual Report — Arlington County recently released its annual report for 2017. County Manager Mark Schwartz wrote in the report, despite an expected budget gap: “Overall, I am optimistic about our future… with the leadership of the County Board and participation of our residents, we will continue to provide the quality programs and services that our residents have come to expect.” [Arlington County]

Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman

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Morning Notes

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

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Ride-Hailing App Sprynt Closed Until April

A free ride-hailing app in the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor will be closed until April, according to a message posted when customers try to hail a car.

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!”

Sprynt staff did not respond to requests for comment, and there is no mention of a closure on its social media accounts or website. Its last Facebook post touted free rides during the holiday season.

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Morning Notes

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

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Morning Notes

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

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Podcast: Alex Villanueva of Free Ride Startup Sprynt

As part of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce’s Secrets to Success live podcast series, we interviewed Alex Villanueva, the founder and CEO of Arlington-based free ride service Sprynt.

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.

Listen below or subscribe to the podcast on iTunesGoogle PlayStitcher or TuneIn.

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D.C. Startup Compiles Hard-to-Find List of Local Daycare Options

A D.C.-based startup is helping parents find daycare options in Arlington County, even those not usually easy to find online.

Maternie, founded by Meghan McCarthy, describes itself as a service to “empower pregnant women and new parents with the best information on life’s most important decisions.”

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

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