Arlington, VA

Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups, founders, and other local technology news. Monday Properties is proudly featuring 1812 North Moore. 

Recent Yorktown High School graduate Eva Gary is bringing the magic of princesses, princes and superheroes to kids — from a safe distance and over Zoom.

At the height of the pandemic, Gary, a lifelong performer and musical theater lover, decided to defer college for a year. She wanted to re-apply to competitive musical theater programs that she could not get into and wait until more schools and classes are in-person.

With the extra time she had, she started Princess Wish Parties, granting the wishes of kids who want to see their favorite fairy tale characters.

Over the last year, Gary and her squad of characters have visited virtual art parties, events for school pods, and drive-up parties. The dance, do crafts, play games and perform sing-a-longs with kids.

“I love working with kids, and performing, and this is the most magical combination of those two things, literally,” she said.

Gary started “princessing” for other companies as a sophomore, saying it was the perfect job for a teen who needed improvisation practice and had experience working with kids. She took a break from it to apply for college, but when she ultimately decided to put college off for one year, she picked it back up.

Although she was skeptical of the first socially distanced party she attended, Gary said the experience did not change much: She still could believably embody a princess character, sing, dance and form connections with the kids.

Bolstered by the positive experience and encouraged by her mom, Gary took steps toward launching a princess company. She found second-hand “Snow Queen,” “Mermaid Princess” and “Rapunzel” costumes and wigs — these companies are not affiliated with Disney, for the record — and tested them on neighborhood kids who she said are in “the princess stage.”

“The girls believed it and were so excited about it,” she said. “That was when I realized I can do this. Having had a little bit of experience as a performer, I knew I needed to get my head around the business side, but performing would be the same.”

Since then, she has virtually auditioned and hired actors, many of whom she knew from other “princessing” gigs and the musical theater community. She has quickly added on more princesses and expanded her offerings to include princes and superheroes.

“Every second of free time is spent on this company and recently, applying for schools,” she said.

Working as a princess this year has helped her hone her craft as a princess and a performer.

“I think I’ve grown immensely as a princess performer from my sophomore year until now,” she said, adding that she also has to “be prepared to remind their kid to not put dirt in their mouth — in a friendly, princessy way.”

Now that the company has taken off, she said she plans to manage the company and hire actors from a distance during college, and delegate the logistics of handling parties to one of her younger sisters.

“It’s been harder than I expected, but I could spend every waking moment working on this and I would be happy,” she said

Photo courtesy Princess Wish Parties 

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Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups, founders, and other local technology news. Monday Properties is proudly featuring Shirlington Gateway. The new 2800 Shirlington recently delivered a brand-new lobby and upgraded fitness center, and is adding spec suites with bright open plans and modern finishes. Experience a prime location and enjoy being steps from Shirlington Village.

Arlington-based auto-refinancing startup MotoRefi recently announced $10 million in funding, led by Moderne Ventures.

The funding announcement comes after a year of gains for the four-year-old company, CEO Kevin Bennett tells ARLnow. In 2020, MotoRefi — based at 1010 N. Glebe Road in Ballston — raised $9.4 million, saw the number of users on its platform double and saw its revenue grow six times over. It facilitated over $250 million in auto refinancings and brought on an additional 100 employees.

(Bennett said MotoRefi does not release the number of users.)

The company, which was created by a team of venture-builders from Alexandria-based QED Investors, matches drivers looking to refinance their auto loans with credit unions and community banks. Bennett, who has worked on four other D.C.-area startups, said QED Investors co-founder and managing partner Nigel Morris asked him to lead the fledgling startup.

“Most consumers don’t know they can refinance their cars,” he said, contrasting it with a more commonly-understood home refinancing. “Only 47% know they can refinance their car and 2 to 3% do it.”

And unlike refinancing a home and or some student loans, where online platforms such as Rocket Mortgage and SoFi have made the process easier and more transparent, Bennett said this part of the market has not had its “Rocket Mortgage moment.” MotoRefi changes that, he said.

“People rightly don’t see the process as laid-out fairly,” he said. “One of the things that’s attractive about this startup is that it has a real very specific impact on people’s lives. We see the results of our work every day and that’s incredibly motivating.”

The startup handles the refinancing process from soup to nuts, checking credit scores and matching users only with the rates from banks and credit unions that they qualify for, Bennett said. The average customer saves about $100 a month.

For the smaller credit unions and banks that MotoRefi partners with, Bennett said the startup provides them access to customers they would not otherwise be able to reach. The startup also smoothes out the onboarding of new customers by streamlining the process of gathering documents and matching people with companies based on whether they would be approved, he said.

“We’re more efficient than our competitors because we’re the first real tech company in the space,” he said. “Our approval rates are higher, and it’s much less work for that credit union to review and fund a loan since we’re only sending customers who we know are a match.”

MotoRefi’s revenue comes from a number of different streams, Bennett said. The startup charges customers a processing fee in their loan and lenders pay MotoRefi for access to the people seeking loans, he said. The company also sells car-related services like a gap warranty.

Photo courtesy MotoRefi

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Morning Notes

Vaccine Registration Transfer Still in Progress — “We are aware that many Arlington residents who preregistered through the County system are unable to find themselves in the ‘Check the List’ feature. Data migration is continuing throughout the week and it may take several more days for your name to appear in the centralized system.” [Arlington County]

No Rolling Stops for Va. Cyclists Yet — “The Virginia Senate on Wednesday sidelined a proposal that would have allowed bicyclists to yield instead of halt at stop signs. Instead, lawmakers voted to commission a police study of the rule as enacted in other states. They also voted to require drivers to change lanes when passing bicyclists if three feet of distance isn’t possible and to allow two cyclists to ride side by side in a lane.” [Washington Post]

County Offering Emergency Training in Spanish — “To ensure a more equitable, culturally competent response to the COVID-19 pandemic and other emergencies, the Department of Public Safety Communications and Emergency Management and Arlington CERT are launching their first-ever Spanish-language Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) volunteer training.” [Arlington County]

First Non-Airline Lounge Coming to DCA — “A lot is changing at Reagan National Airport, and one of the new additions will be an American Express Centurion passenger lounge, the first non-airline passenger lounge at the airport. Reagan National will be the 16th U.S. airport to have a Centurion Lounge. The 11,500-square-foot lounge will open by the end of 2022.” [WTOP]

Gate 35X Replacement Opening Soon — “Airport officials have long planned to replace the 35X bussing system with a proper 14-gate concourse. So here’s some good news: looks like it will happen sooner rather than later. Airline Weekly reports that the American Airlines concourse will open three months earlier than anticipated. Turns out that the decline in air traffic during the pandemic helped accelerated construction work. It’s now slated to open as soon as April 20.” [Washingtonian]

GoTab Continues on Growth Path — “Industry-leading restaurant commerce platform GoTab has appointed sales and hospitality technology veteran John Martin as the company’s new Chief Revenue Officer. With over 30+ years of experience working with both brick-and-mortar restaurants and food technology systems, Martin has been a force in helping hyper growth startups with go-to-market strategy as well as helping CEOs develop approaches to accelerate sales and launch new products.” [Press Release]

Poems on ART Buses — “This year’s Moving Words Adult Competition 2021 Six winning poems were selected from 211 poems by this year’s judge, Arlington’s 2nd Poet Laureate Holly Karapetkova, who also has a poem on display. View the poems below and on Arlington’s ART buses from February through September 2021.” [Arlington Arts]

Beyer Gets Out-of-This-World Chairmanship — “Late last week, Democrats on the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology elected Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) to serve as Chair of the Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics for the 117th Congress.” [Press Release]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups, founders, and other local technology news. Monday Properties is proudly featuring Shirlington Gateway. The new 2800 Shirlington recently delivered a brand-new lobby and upgraded fitness center, and is adding spec suites with bright open plans and modern finishes. Experience a prime location and enjoy being steps from Shirlington Village.

Last spring, Kapil Thangavelu and Travis Stanfield quit their tech jobs to launch Stacklet and help companies secure and manage their cloud networks.

Then the coronavirus was declared a global pandemic.

“Markets were in free fall and companies did not know what to do,” said Thangavelu, an Arlington local who founded Cloud Custodian, a popular open-source solution for securing and managing cloud systems, while working at Capital One.

Six months later, Stacklet — which builds on Cloud Custodian and provides professional services that an open-source project cannot — was starting paying off. The Clarendon-based company had raised $4 million in funding in August.

Last month, investors pitched in $18 million. Stanfield said that money will help realize his goal for 2021: to raise the company’s public profile. With the funding, the co-founders plan to hire more staff in engineering, marketing, sales and customer success and publicize the existence of Stacklet.

The company is backed by prominent investors, including renowned venture capitalist Lee Fixel, who has also backed Spotify and Peloton, and Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm Foundation Capital. In this round of funding, Stacklet also gained a new individual investor: Liam Randall.

Randall is an Arlington local who “believe[s] in Stacklet so much [he] joined the company.” He was most recently the vice president of software innovation at Capital One.

The forced remote work of 2020 has accelerated the need among companies to transition their software and services to the cloud, and many are turning to Cloud Custodian, which means investors are turning their sights on Stacklet, Randall said. That is because Stacklet gives companies the extra support and features Cloud Custodian cannot, Stanfield said.

Open source is amazing, and the best way to develop certain kinds of software, but open source does not solve some of the real, material concerns that enterprises have,” the Stacklet co-founder said. “They want to know that they have a team that they can work with that prioritizes their needs.”

If the cloud is a metaphorical road in terms of what it enables users to do with their computing vehicles, Stacklet provides the guardrails, Randall said.

“We help people to know that they can use the cloud safely without accidentally driving off the cliff,” he said. “The cloud does let you configure things how you want them, and frequently, there are accidental configuring errors that lead to security implications, governance implications and cost implications.”

Often, Thangavelu added, cloud security relies on companies and employees “making the right choices all the time,” as physical security relies on people not forgetting to lock their doors.

But sometimes, people forget and do things online that could compromise a company’s cloud network.

“Whatever accidents happen, Cloud Custodian and Stacklet ensure the overall organization and customers’ data are secure,” as well as cost-efficient and well-managed, Thangavelu said.

One year ago, Stanfield said he and Thangavelu were nervous about the future, taking on a huge risk as the world was shutting down to combat the coronavirus.

Instead, this past year contained the moments that Stanfield said “have given us the confidence that this is good.”

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Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups, founders, and other local technology news. Monday Properties is proudly featuring Shirlington Gateway. The new 2800 Shirlington recently delivered a brand-new lobby and upgraded fitness center, and is adding spec suites with bright open plans and modern finishes. Experience a prime location and enjoy being steps from Shirlington Village.

Clarendon-based CareerGig, a one-stop-shop for freelancers and companies looking for contract workers, has acquired another freelancing platform called Moonlighting.

The acquisition, effective Jan. 11, folds Moonlighting’s network of 850,000 freelancers and small businesses into CareerGig’s brand, CEO and co-founder Greg Kihlström said in a statement. The merger, which will be finalized over the next few months, will make CareerGig one of the world’s largest freelancer platforms, he said.

“We are excited to have the opportunity to expand the CareerGig brand and offerings to a wider pool of freelancers and contractors, and our partnership with Moonlighting gives us the ability to accomplish this quickly and efficiently,” the CEO said.

The combined technologies and networks will enhance CareerGig’s ability to source freelancers and match them with companies, Kihlström said.

CareerGig, which officially started operating in July 2020, provides to freelancers the health and retirement benefits enjoyed by full-time employees while triple-verifying their qualifications for companies strapped for time and resources. Now, Moonlighting’s network of freelancers will have access to CareerGig’s benefits packages.

Founded in 2014 by Jeff Tennery, Ritesh Johar, and Roy Slater, Moonlighting lets freelancers build profiles and allows businesses to hire professionals quickly and affordably. Tennery, Moonlighting’s CEO, will join CareerGig as the Chief Business Development Officer and lead efforts to grow business-to-business sales and partnerships.

“CareerGig is the ideal partner for Moonlighting to take this next step in supporting freelancers around the world,” Tennery said in a statement. “Their team shares our same passion and vision to deliver the best marketplace platform for the gig economy.”

CareerGig also gives freelancers access to education and certification opportunities through partnering colleges, universities and training organizations. They can also work with established and up-and-coming technology companies in and outside of Silicon Valley, the CEO said.

CareerGig, which has an office at 3100 Clarendon Blvd, rode the wave of people who decided to take the freelancing plunge due to the way the pandemic has upended traditional work. But Kihlström, a longtime freelancer, has watched the industry grow since the early 2000s and said it is worth $440 billion in the U.S. and $1.5 trillion worldwide.

The company also recently welcomed two high-profile leaders in tech and finance to its leadership team. Banks Baker, Google’s Head of Global Product Partnerships – Search Content, and veteran financial markets executive Brad Boyse joined in December.

Baker said the startup has its sights set on meeting the needs of future workers.

“CareerGig’s freelance network is growing to become the most comprehensive of its kind, enabling the type of growth in critical parts of the workforce that the future workforce requires,” he said in a statement.

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For Jeff Grass, CEO and Chairman of Ballston-based startup HUNGRY, a food distribution event in Arlington yesterday (Wednesday) had a bittersweet flavor to it.

While the company was able to prepare 6,000 hot meals for people in need at a drive-thru food distribution event at Central United Methodist Church (4201 Fairfax Drive) near its headquarters, it’s also a painful reminder that nearly one year after a global pandemic began, many Americans face a food accessibility crisis.

“On the one hand, it makes you feel good to be able to do something and it was nice to see how appreciative people are,” Grass said, “but seeing so many people coming by and needing a free meal highlights just how big and prevalent the challenge is. We’re Arlington, one of the richest counties in the country, and yet so many people are in need of food assistance.”

The company was able to distribute most of the 6,000 prepared meals in an event that ran from 1:30-3 p.m., and the remaining couple hundred that were left over were given to a local shelter.

Grass said he didn’t have an estimate on how many people attended the food drive, saying “it was car after car,” but that the company mostly limited the meals to ten per vehicle. HUNGRY had no protocols set up to screen for income levels, saying that anyone who showed up the the event was considered in sufficient need of a meal.

The handful of nicer vehicles, Grass said, were also a reminder of how much the pandemic had turned some lives upside down.

“I didn’t feel like it was up to us to challenge people,” Grass said. “Some people did drive up in nice vehicles, but everybody’s got their own challenges and stories, and everybody seemed to really appreciate it.”

The food distribution events had the added benefit of supporting the local chefs using the platform, particularly catering chefs who were some of the earliest victims of local business impacts.

“We’re in late January, past the holidays, it felt like the right time to do it,” Grass said.

It was the second major food donation initiative in January for the company. The first was a food delivery operation last week to National Guard troops posted in D.C. for presidential inauguration security following the riot at the Capitol earlier this month.

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Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups, founders, and other local technology news. Monday Properties is proudly featuring Shirlington Gateway. The new 2800 Shirlington recently delivered a brand-new lobby and upgraded fitness center, and is adding spec suites with bright open plans and modern finishes. Experience a prime location and enjoy being steps from Shirlington Village.

(Updated 9:30 p.m.) Ballston-based Fluence is ramping up its efforts to tackle climate change with energy storage systems for renewable energy.

The energy storage company was founded three years ago this month as the joint venture of Berlin-based Siemens and Arlington-based Fortune 500 company, AES Corp. It enjoyed torrid growth over the course of 2020: About 100 staff came on, including a new CEO, and it acquired a company in October.

This year is off to a great start, too, with a pledge of $125 million in investment from the Qatar Investment Authority.

“We have been experiencing an enormous growth since the inception of the company,” said Vice President of Strategy Marek Wolek.

Fluence develops batteries that store energy from wind and solar. Since 2018, Fluence had quadrupled the amount of energy storage it has deployed or is working on, from 600 megawatts to 2,400 megawatts. It has deployed or been awarded contracts for storage in 24 countries.

The work is “a little bit more complicated” than just batteries, however, Wolek said. It also makes sure the supply of natural, renewable energy can be converted into enough electricity to meet demands, without leading to surges in electricity or deficits for customers.

“That’s extremely valuable, and makes the whole energy grid stable,” Wolek said.

But to keep up in a rapidly innovating market, the company started seeking out investing partners about six months ago, he  said.

“How we effectively create a grid of future requires investments,” he said. “The mark is moving very fast: We have to make sure the technology is easier and faster, and efficient to use, for our customers.”

With the $125 million from Qatar Investment Authority, a founding member of the One Planet Sovereign Wealth Fund Initiative, which invests government funds into climate change solutions. Fluence will be investing in hardware and software, as well as staff to further develop the battery technology, he said.

In a statement, CEO Manuel Perez Dubuc said tackling climate change requires both technology and investment worldwide.

“We see energy storage as the linchpin of a decarbonized grid and adding QIA to our international shareholder base will allow Fluence to innovate even faster and address the enormous global market for large-scale battery-based energy storage.”

Dubuc came on as CEO in May 2020, after serving on the company’s board. He switches roles with Stephen Coughlin, who now sits on the board, said Director of Communications Alison Mickey.

He and the newly hired 100 staff members grew the company’s workforce to more than 300 worldwide.

In October, the company bought Advanced Microgrid Solutions, which develops AI bidding software for batteries and other tech for storing and generating renewably sourced electricity. The merger will help to improve energy storage, grid reliability and efficiency, Wolek said.

Fluence is headquartered at 4601 N. Fairfax Drive, and has offices in San Francisco, suburban Atlanta, Germany and Australia.

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Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups, founders, and other local technology news. Monday Properties is proudly featuring Shirlington Gateway. The new 2800 Shirlington recently delivered a brand-new lobby and upgraded fitness center, and is adding spec suites with bright open plans and modern finishes. Experience a prime location and enjoy being steps from Shirlington Village.

Ballston-based cybersecurity startup GroupSense is helping governments fend off targeted attacks on COVID-19 vaccine distribution.

The vaccine action plan, a modified version of GroupSense’s 2020 election plans, is a pivot that CEO and founder Kurtis Minder never envisioned when he established the company in 2014.

“We didn’t go seeking this out — it came to us,” he said.

Today, GroupSense helps a handful of local governments combat vaccine misinformation and negotiate with hackers targeting manufacturers in the vaccine’s supply chain. The company anticipates working with these municipalities for one year, but could extend that work if the protections are still needed later on.

During the 2016 and 2020 elections, GroupSense worked with municipalities, website hosts and social media companies to take down misinformation. After the 2020 elections, Minder said local governments asked GroupSense to secure their vaccine rollouts.

“It occurred to us that you could use this technology on vaccines,” Minder said.

GroupSense reports “disinformation” to local governments, which decide whether to take down or refute the claims, he said.

“If someone on Reddit starts a thread, it gives City Hall the opportunity to get into that conversation and post links to debunk that particular narrative,” Minder said.

While rumors run rampant on Reddit, bad actors working for foreign governments or themselves are taking advantage of the increased cybersecurity risks of remote work, he said.

“The remote-work problem has actually made ransomware easier,” he said. “Eighty percent of the time, the way the bad guy gets in, it’s because the company did not secure the network properly for work-from home.”

Government-led attacks are originating from countries including Russia and Iran, he said. They are often aimed at stealing intellectual property related to vaccines, and are harder to detect and stop because they have more resources.

Meanwhile, hackers looking to make a buck are demanding ransoms of small-scale businesses, such as refrigeration companies, which keep the vaccines cold, Minder said.

These hackers, from Russia, Moldova or Belarus, get access to a network, shut it down and demand a ransom, Minder said. They target “low-hanging fruit,” or businesses that are less likely to be secured against cyber threats and more likely to pay a ransom because the vaccine is in high demand.

“It just reinforced something we already knew: The security of the supply chain is really important to the outcomes of an organization,” he said.

GroupSense keeps tracks of these reports in a dashboard that it developed, Minder said. Federal law enforcement agencies have access to this dashboard, and use it to track attack trends, he said.

The CEO advises companies and governments to secure their remote access, teach employees about phishing, and ensure they only use private emails to sign up for non-work-related accounts.

This year, the company — located at 4040 Fairfax Drive, in the Marymount University building — reported 65% year-over-year growth, despite the pandemic.

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Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups, founders, and other local technology news. Monday Properties is proudly featuring Shirlington Gateway. The new 2800 Shirlington recently delivered a brand-new lobby and upgraded fitness center, and is adding spec suites with bright open plans and modern finishes. Experience a prime location and enjoy being steps from Shirlington Village.

2020 has been a big year for Arlington-based startups, both in spite of and because of the pandemic.

Arlington was predicted to fare better than other tech hubs because many of its startups focus on emerging technology in science and engineering, collectively known as “tough tech,” as well as the recession-resistant fields of cybersecurity and government contracting.

That prediction came true for local venture builder FedTech, which built and accelerated more than 50 “tough tech” startups, and partnered with government agencies such as the Department of Defense and NASA, a FedTech spokeswoman said.

It also developed a virtual summit on defense technology for the U.S. Army, attracting more than 1,500 viewers, and hosted a startup accelerator for the National Security Innovation Network, she said.

Meanwhile, Ballston-based GroupSense marketed its cybersecurity software to local and state governments trying to protect their elections from security threats this year.

“While these things are difficult to quantitatively measure, our constituents were excited about the results of our solution through the election,” GroupSense co-founder and CEO Kurtis Minder said. “Some of our customers have now contracted us to assist in the same fashion for the vaccine rollout.”

The software detected fake accounts and bots and classified actors that showed intentions to disrupt the democratic process. It also worked with social media, hosting and domain registration companies to take down posts with misinformation, he said.

“[Misinformation] can be as complicated as the state-sponsored actions that we saw in 2016, or as simple as someone tweeting that a polling station is closed when it is not,” Minder said.

The pandemic also created opportunities for non-“tough tech” startups to launch, snag millions in funding, bring on clients and acquire or be acquired by other companies.

CareerGig, which provides freelancers with benefits and vets them for companies, launched this summer, catching the wave of new workers interested in fully remote freelance opportunities.

Ballston-based GoTab nabbed $6 million because more restaurants needed its software to provide customers with a contactless dining experience.

Without opportunities to film in person, companies have turned to stock footage from Courthouse-based Storyblocks. Responding to a renewed interest in racial justice this year, it launched footage of diverse people doing everyday things.

Rosslyn-based Phone2Action gained new clients this year as record numbers of cell-phone users advocated for pandemic relief and social justice reform and campaigned for their preferred candidates. It also acquired two companies — GovPredict in November and KnowWho in December.

As individual startups grew, Arlington as a whole continued to perform well in national rankings.

The County was deemed the third-best place to work for women in tech, according to a study from the website SmartAsset, which measured the gender pay gap and number of jobs filled by women.

This year, 31 Arlington-based companies made Inc. Magazine’s annual list of America’s 5,000 fastest-growing private companies, including Courthouse startup DivvyCloud.

The company, ranked number 471 with 970% growth, was acquired earlier this year by cybersecurity company Rapid7.

Looking towards 2021, there’s optimism around continued momentum for the Arlington and D.C. area tech scene and the local economy, as the pandemic abates and the population gets vaccinated.

During a recent DCA Live event, one commercial real estate professional predicted continued tech growth as Amazon continues to hire and expand its footprint in Crystal City and Pentagon City.

Amazon HQ2 and Virginia Tech’s campus in National Landing [are] going to further our position as a national tech hub in 2021,” they said.

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Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups, founders, and other local technology news. Monday Properties is proudly featuring Shirlington Gateway. The new 2800 Shirlington recently delivered a brand-new lobby and upgraded fitness center, and is adding spec suites with bright open plans and modern finishes. Experience a prime location and enjoy being steps from Shirlington Village.

Rosslyn-based Phone2Action, which helps organizations mobilize citizens via their smartphones, is on a bit of an acquisition spree.

Its newest acquisition is KnowWho, a 15-year-old company based in Newington, Virginia with an expansive congressional directory. Phone2Action CEO Jeb Ory said KnowWho runs the world’s largest, most current directory of public officials and policymakers in the U.S. and Europe.

With the addition, clients will find it easier to identify key decision-makers, make sense of new and changing policies and improve their government affairs, Phone2Action cofounder Ximena Hartsock said in a statement.

Phone2Action is still flying high from a record year of people using the platform to advocate for issues they care about, from federal aid to restaurants to police reform in the wake of the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor to the election this November.

Last month, it purchased GovPredict, a technology company that helps organizations access federal data, see campaign donations, track bills and regulations and follow news.

Now, Phone2Action — which was founded in 2013 — owns the process of civic engagement from one end to the other. GovPredict identifies politicians and what issues they advocate for, KnowWho provides the best way to contact them, and Phone2Action gives regular people the chance to lobby politicians.

“Government relations and public affairs leaders have never faced such a tumultuous time as they do right now,” Ory said in a statement.

Government relations and public affairs teams will see government intelligence, find contact information and mobilize everyday citizens all in one platform, he said.

“Data powers the government relations field, plain and simple,” said KnowWho CEO and founder Bruce Brownson in a statement. “Phone2Action now directly maintains all the data that matters to government relations professionals today.”

Brownson will join the Phone2Action management team.

Phone2Action’s growth has exploded this year, according to Ory. It has 400 new clients, including eBay, Ericsson, Liberty Mutual, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and the Leadership Conference on Human Rights.

Phone2Action is keeping its Rosslyn headquarters at 1500 Wilson Blvd, and with both companies, will have nearly 200 employees, Ory said. Some are local to the area, while others are fully remote and located outside metro D.C.

Photo courtesy Phone2Action

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