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AI-generated image of a gondola over the Potomac near Rosslyn (via DALL-E 2)

(Updated at 10:35 a.m.) The proposal to build a Rosslyn-to-Georgetown gondola remains just a gleam in the eye of aerial lift transport fans and Georgetown business owners.

But it has captured the imagination of Arlington residents to a degree few issues have.

With interest in the gondola far from fading — gear for our fake gondola-themed football team is still selling at a steady clip on Amazon — we thought we’d ask the newest version of GPT-3, the AI writing tool, to opine about it.

First, we asked it to write an essay about the advantages of a Rosslyn-to-Georgetown gondola. Here’s what it had to say:

As the population of the Washington, DC metropolitan area continues to grow, there is an increasing need for alternative forms of transportation to alleviate traffic congestion. One potential solution is the construction of a gondola from Rosslyn, Virginia to Georgetown, Washington DC, over the Potomac River. This gondola would provide an efficient and cost-effective form of transportation for commuters, tourists, and locals alike.

The Rosslyn-to-Georgetown gondola would provide a reliable and quick mode of transportation between the two neighborhoods. Currently, it can take up to an hour to travel from Rosslyn to Georgetown by car or public transportation. The gondola would be able to make the same journey in as little as 10-15 minutes. This would save commuters both time and money, as they would no longer need to pay for costly parking or Metro fares. Additionally, the gondola would be powered by electricity, making it a sustainable form of transportation.

The gondola would also provide a unique and enjoyable experience for tourists. Rather than having to make the long journey by car or public transportation, they would be able to take a leisurely ride across the Potomac and enjoy the scenery. The gondola would also provide locals with a new way to experience the city. Rather than having to fight through traffic or take the Metro, they could take a peaceful ride across the river and take in the views.

The Rosslyn-to-Georgetown gondola is a potential solution to the increasing traffic in the Washington D.C. area. It would provide a reliable, efficient, and enjoyable mode of transportation for commuters, tourists, and locals alike. The gondola would be cost-effective, sustainable, and offer unique views of the city. It is an attractive alternative to traditional forms of transportation, and could be a viable solution for the area’s transportation woes.

Compelling as that essay was, it had a distinct lack of rhyming. So next we asked for a poem.

A gondola from Arlington to D.C.
It would be quite a sight to see
It would cross the Potomac River
And make the trip so breezy

It’d provide a new way to commute
A scenic ride to pass the day
Visitors to D.C. would be enthralled
And locals would show their glee

At Rosslyn, the boarding station
The gondola’s cables will be tight
Away across the river they’d go
For the ride, it’d be a delight

With the monuments in view
The ride would be one of a kind
It’s a great way to travel
To Georgetown and back again

To crank the whimsy level to 11, we asked the AI to write an ode to the proposed Rosslyn-Georgetown gondola in the form of an Shakespearean poem.

O Gondola of Rosslyn-Georgetown,
Thou art a marvel of our time.
A scenic ride across the Potomac,
That so few of us can find.

A chance to soar above the water,
And take in sights both far and near.
A joyous respite from life’s drudgery,
An escape that we can cheer.

No more shall we endure the traffic,
The daily hassles on the road.
Instead, we’ll board thy gondola,
And watch the city as it flows.

What pleasure dost thou bring us,
And what joy have we in store?
To cross the river in mere minutes,
And take in sights galore.

So thank thee we for giving us,
This wondrous mode of transport.
A journey that is smooth and easy,
For which we are quite content.

This is not to say the AI is totally sold on the idea, however. When you ask it to argue against the gondola, GPT-3 really goes to town.

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Gov. Glenn Youngkin at Boeing and Virginia Tech announcement in June 2022 (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Update on 11/29/22 — From the announcement:

Governor Glenn Youngkin today announced that Technomics, Inc., an employee-owned decision analysis company that specializes in cost analysis, data management, and data analytics, has invested $1.7 million to expand in Arlington County. The company is leasing an additional 10,000 square feet of space at 1225 South Clark Street to increase capacity. Virginia successfully competed with Maryland, DC, and California for the project, which will create 150 new jobs.

Earlier: Top state officials are coming to Arlington tomorrow for an unspecified “economic development announcement.”

“The Honorable Glenn Youngkin, Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, will join Arlington Economic Development and other state and local economic leaders on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022, for an economic development announcement,” Arlington County said in a media advisory today.

Joining the governor and local officials will be Caren Merrick, Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade, as well as “leaders in Arlington’s technology and business community.”

The event is taking place Tuesday afternoon at 1225 S. Clark Street in Crystal City.

It is unclear what exactly is being announced. Arlington has been on a bit of a roll with landing major corporate headquarters, including the Nestle U.S. operations in 2017, Amazon’s HQ2 in 2018, and — this past summer, in successive months — aerospace and defense giants Boeing and Raytheon.

There have also been other notable developments specific to the Crystal City, Pentagon City and Potomac Yard area — collectively known as National Landing — in the areas of higher education (Virginia Tech’s Innovation Campus) and connectivity (a plan for ubiquitous 5G).

In June the governor announced in Arlington that Boeing was partnering with Virginia Tech on a “$50 million facility for military veterans transitioning to civilian life” at the new Innovation Campus, which is being built in the Potomac Yard area of Alexandria.

Arlington has been combatting a rise in office vacancies exacerbated by the pandemic and work-from-home trends.

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Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow, Startup Monday is a weekly column that highlights Arlington-based startups, founders, and local tech news. Monday Properties is proudly featuring 1515 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn. 

New federal security requirements continue to boost a local Arlington-based IT company.

C3 Integrated Solutions announced last week it is merging with Massachusetts-based Steel Root to provide defense contractors, including its 70 clients headquartered in Arlington, an “end-to-end solution” for reaching and maintaining compliance with new standards from the Department of Defense.

In a statement, C3 complimented Steel Root, saying the compliance product it launched in 2021 “frankly, fills key gaps in our offering,” which includes IT services such as software, email and cybersecurity.

For its part, C3 says it will “bring a breadth of experience and close relationship with Microsoft that will only accelerate their already impressive growth.”

The new company will continue operating under C3’s name and its headquarters will be in Arlington, C3 Marketing Director Karen M. Vasquez tells ARLnow. As a result of the merger, the new C3 will keep its current staffing levels of about 60 people and plot an expansion.

“Both teams feel very strongly about the white glove, boutique service we’re able to apply to clients,” she said. “In order for us to maintain that approach, we need to bring in more people.”

It will also get a new CEO, Marc Pantoni.

“He’s done this before,” C3 cofounder Bill Wootton, who will now be the Chief Revenue Officer, said in a video discussing the merger. “He knows how to build to the scale I think we’re going to need as we try to meet this market demand.”

This is the latest sign of growth for C3, which this year placed No. 25 in the Washington Business Journal’s recent ranking of the region’s fastest-growing companies and on the Inc. 5000 list, ranks 1,544th in the U.S, 63rd in Virginia and 88th among IT Management companies.

Both C3, founded in 2008, and Steel Root, founded in 2016, attribute their individual growth to the new regulations, announced in late 2020. Among other things, they require companies to have access entirely U.S.-based help desks and introduces auditors to ensure compliance, where before companies could self-report this.

“This merger opportunity was really a situation where one plus one equals three,” co-founder Ryan Heidorn, who will be the new Chief Technology Officer, said in the video.

Funding from the merger, provided by private equity company M/C Partners, will cover the cost of the merger as well as new hiring. That could go toward standing up a U.S.-based call center, Vasquez said.

Regarding staffing, which won’t change in the short term, Wootton said in the same video that the company’s leaders did not want to “mess with” the company’s culture.

“Your employees, your team, are your most important people,” he said. “If you take care of them, they’ll take care of your customers.”

The companies declined to disclose the finances of the merger to the Washington Business Journal, which first reported the news.

The executive team of C3 and Steel Root (courtesy of C3)
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Arlington Dept. of Parks and Recreation Director Jane Rudolph speaks to the Arlington County Board on Tuesday, Nov. 15 (via Arlington County)

Nine months after the summer camp registration process completely broke down yet again, the Arlington County parks department says it has identified ways to improve the process for summer 2023 and beyond.

Every year, parents get their clicking fingers ready to register at a given time — 7 a.m. for summer camps — and every year, error messages and spinning wheels thwart their ability to snag an enviable spot for their kids. In February, the Arlington Dept. of Parks and Recreation department promised new changes would ensure this didn’t happen again.

But it did. On Feb. 23, DPR says registration volumes caused a “system-wide failure” while parents reported long wait times for the call center. Frustrated moms and dads wrote to ARLnow, tweeted and brought their complaints to the Arlington County Board, which penned a lengthy statement about expectations for reforming the process — only for the platform to fizzle and call center to get overwhelmed three weeks later for spring class registration.

Over the last seven months, DPR reviewed what happened.

“Our registration system could not handle peak volume,” Director Jane Rudolph told the County Board on Tuesday. “We really don’t have a ton of staff who are skilled at that technology piece of knowing how to use the system, so we have a lack of redundancy on our side. We didn’t have a great crisis communications plan.”

It asked staff and two focus groups — the general public and specifically, families who report receiving registration fee reductions — about changes they would like to see. Mostly, people said “fix the system,” but some suggested different registration times and dates and requested improvements to registering multiple children.

Ahead of 2023 registration, DPR says technology provider Vermont Systems will modernize its platform, last updated in 2015, and introduce a virtual “waiting room” function to manage volumes. The parks department will allow families with documented hardships to register a week early and expand its call center from 50 lines to 100.

The “waiting room” functionality was first rolled out for fall class registration and seemingly solved the issue of the system crashing completely, though some parents still reported problems, including errors, slow load times and classes that seemingly filled up within a minute.

“We wanted to create a less stressful registration process, so that parents and caregivers can go into the summer being confident their kids will have a great experience at Arlington camps,” she said.

Other recommendations include:

  • beginning registration at noon on a weekday, rather than at 7 a.m.
  • splitting up registration for DPR-led and contracted-out camps
  • enforcing a stricter refund policy to discourage last-minute dropping out
  • increasing capacity at popular camps to upwards of 100 slots
  • adding more full-day, year-round offerings
  • reducing camps with low-enrollment, low-capacity or which run half-day
  • implementing a crisis communications plan

Board members welcomed the work, particularly the effort to improve access for underserved families.

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Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow, Startup Monday is a weekly column that highlights Arlington-based startups, founders, and local tech news. Monday Properties is proudly featuring 1515 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn. 

(Updated at 2:55 p.m.) A conference highlighting innovations in how people talk to their technology is returning to Crystal City next Monday.

VOICE22 will feature speakers from national and international companies and has backing from big-name tech companies, including Amazon, Google and Salesforce.

The conference is “the world’s largest voice-tech trade event and conference” said Pete Erickson, who founded the Ballston-based startup Modev, which is hosting the event.

“This market is being made before our eyes as people, machines and algorithms are increasingly working in tandem, making Conversational AI a must-have for most consumer-facing organizations,” said Erickson.

Scheduled speakers represent JPMorgan Chase, Walmart, Instacart, Nat Geo, Intuit, Capital One and NPR. The conference will feature panels on customer service, retail, entertainment and publishing, transportation, healthcare, and financial technology.

“Modev is bringing the top brands in the world together to accelerate Conversational AI with our clients, and VOICE22 is the perfect showcase for high-profile key decision-makers, partners and influencers to shape this global market,” Erickson said.

Erickson founded Modev, a Ballston-based startup that also produces the VOICE Global event, presented by Google Assistant, and the award-winning VOICE Talks internet talk show.

North of 600 attendees are expected to attend, but Modev is shooting for 1,000. Attendees represent companies around the world, but a few in attendance hail are regional, including McLean-based Witlingo and Centreville-based XAPP.AI.

The local startup’s conference, now in its fifth year, was held in Arlington for the first time in 2021. The 2018 and 2019 conferences were both held in Newark, New Jersey and together attracted some 7,000 attendees. The conference was held virtually in 2020 due to the pandemic.

This was the first major tech event to relocate to the area since Amazon announced it would build its second headquarters in Pentagon City in 2018, Arlington Economic Development previously said.

VOICE22 kicks off on Monday, Oct. 10 at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City (2799 Richmond Hwy) and will run through Wednesday, Oct. 12.

Promotional graphic for the VOICE22 conference in Crystal City (courtesy photo)
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Innovation Elementary School fifth-graders make solar ovens outside (via APS/Twitter)

A few hundred parents say Arlington Public Schools should prioritize recreating pre-Covid normalcy in the classroom and evaluating the use of electronic devices.

That’s according to a recent informal survey conducted by Arlington Parents for Education, a parent group that began during the pandemic to advocate for reopening schools.

Since schools reopened, APE has evolved into a School Board watchdog group, with priorities such as reversing pandemic-era learning loss. The group says the survey will inform what APE should advocate for, in addition to ending Covid protocols. The priorities don’t surprise School Board candidates and other education advocacy groups, but some groups say the survey does not speak for the parents they represent.

The survey netted a few hundred responses, about 70% of which reside in North Arlington and a little under 30% in South Arlington, with some respondents living outside the county. Most have elementary-aged children, followed by children in middle and high school. Some also indicated they had children in area private schools, which saw an influx in public school families when they returned for in-person school before APS.

“We recently surveyed hundreds of our parents to see how their students are doing in a post-pandemic world at APS and what they want APS and APE to focus on,” APE said in a statement. “Overwhelmingly, parents want a return to normalcy for their students — full resumption of field trips, in-person orientations, back-to-school events and other parental involvement opportunities in all APS buildings.”

“This also means returning to the pre-pandemic golden rule applicable to any illness: if you’re sick, stay home,” the group added.

APS is, in fact, returning to pre-Covid procedures for field trips and events, APS spokesman Frank Bellavia said.

Masks became optional as of March 1, but students, visitors and teachers have some Covid protocols to follow.

Those with Covid-like symptoms must present a negative test or alternative diagnosis from a medical provider or isolate at home for five days before returning to class. Meanwhile, volunteers, like APS employees, must have proof of vaccination or undergo weekly testing to volunteer, Bellavia said.

For APE, that’s not normal. But for Smart Restart APS, a parent group that started to push for protocols such as outdoor lunch and improved ventilation, said there is no return to life pre-2020.

“Smart Restart APS believes we are living in a new reality, and APS should continue to have appropriate, common-sense measures to adapt to living in this new reality, one which includes the ever-present possibility of COVID-19 infection spreading through our schools,” the group said in a statement. “We have to adapt — not ignore — the new situation.”

The spread of Covid still impacts families, whether a parent misses work or a child brings home Covid to a high-risk family member, the group continued.

“Everyone has a right to access a safe and healthy school environment,” the Smart Restart statement said. “COVID-19 in the air should not be a part of that.”

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Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow, Startup Monday is a weekly column that highlights Arlington-based startups, founders, and local tech news. Monday Properties is proudly featuring 1515 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn. 

Arlington-based oxygen-monitoring tech startup OxiWear is aiming to go to market by the end of next month.

After raising $1.25 million last year, OxiWear founder Shavini Fernando told ARLnow that they are now in midst of testing in order to start selling the small, ear-worn blood oxygen alert system by late October. The hope is to, at least initially, appeal to the fitness and exercise market.

After that, the aim is to get the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to approve the device for prescriptions by mid-2023 and for off-the-shelf retail by the end of next year.

That would cap the Rosslyn resident’s five-year journey to offer a device that has saved her life to others.

For years, even though she was a swimmer and lived an active lifestyle, Fernando struggled to breathe. Doctors in her native Sri Lanka said she had asthma, but after a particularly troubling episode in 2015 when her face turned blue, she was diagnosed with severe cardiovascular disease and told that she had two years to live.

Fernando flew to the United States for a second opinion. Getting off the plane, she suffered a stroke. Soon, it was discovered she suffered from severe pulmonary hypertension (PH) due to Eisenmenger Syndrome. Meaning, there’s a hole in her heart that can lead to cardiac arrests and hypoxia strokes.

“With that, it damages my lungs due to the overflow of blood to the lungs,” she said. “It’s called Eisenmenger when it comes to that stage and it’s irreversible.”

 

Fernando has had to deal with near-fatal situations, including four cardiac arrests and two strokes. She is also not allowed to fly above certain altitudes, meaning she hasn’t been able to fly home to Sri Lanka since leaving in 2015.

While there’s no cure for Eisenmenger, Fernando thought there might be a way that she could monitor her oxygen levels in order to prevent potentially fatal consequences. In 2015, she started working on a wearable device that would alert people like her when their oxygen levels drop to dangerous levels.

“Once we get a cardiac arrest, you only have three minutes. That’s not enough time to call 911. That’s where OxiWear comes in. You get the alert ahead of time before you go into cardiac arrest or have a stroke,” she said.

It does that by being attached to the ear and pulsating when the wearer’s oxygen levels dip below a certain level. The ear is one of the best and most accurate body parts for measuring oxygen, Fernando said.

Additionally, the device connects to a mobile application that allows the user to keep an eye on their levels at all times. If they do drop dangerously, it will buzz the device as well which will send out an alert to emergency contacts.

“In case you can’t call for help, someone will know you need help,” Fernando said.

Beyond medical necessities, OxiWear is also being marketed to high-performing athletes.

Oxygen levels, even more than heart rate, can give a sense of how fatigued an athlete might be or how well they are adapting to certain environments. Earlier this year, OxiWear signed an agreement with a company that does high-altitude obstacle courses and endurance races.

“It gives the coach an idea of an athlete’s… tolerance level and how long they can stay the course. And, also, how they behave in different environments,” she said.

This is one of the reasons why Ted Leonsis — local owner of the Capitals, Wizards and Mystics — has been such an advocate of OxiWear and Fernando, with not just financial investment but mentorship as well.

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Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow, Startup Monday is a weekly column that highlights Arlington-based startups, founders, and local tech news. Monday Properties is proudly featuring 1515 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn. 

(Updated, 8/31/22) Twenty-five Arlington-based companies are on this year’s Inc. 5000 list, an annual barometer of the country’s fastest-growing companies.

Among them are a Clarendon-based digital media company, a restaurant management software company on Fairfax Drive, and a food tech start-up in Ballston.

The highest-ranked Arlington company at No. 461 is Piedmont Global Language Solutions, which specializes in translation, interpretation, and language training. The company’s headquarters is located in Ballston on N. Glebe Road.

The median growth over the last year for the local companies is 256%.

The 23 companies with local ties on the latest Inc. 5000 list are fewer in number than in previous years. In 2021, 30 Arlington companies graced that year’s list while there were 30 in 2020 and 34 in 2019. Just under half of the companies (11) on the 2022 list were also on the 2021 list.

While looking through the list, a few trends emerge. Most of the local companies are headquartered in Clarendon or Ballston. Many are software or tech-based that count the federal government as a major client. At least a couple were founded by first-generation Americans and a few were at one time featured by ARLnow.

Here’s a list of all the Arlington-based companies included on this year’s Inc. 5000 list:

  • 1,218, HUNGRY, 534% — A food tech start-up that connects companies and consumers with local chefs, food trucks, and restaurants. It has a number of celebrity investors and is based in Ballston.
  • 1,219, SweatWorks, 533% — A software company that helps engineer and design fitness products. It’s headquartered in Ballston.
  • 1,321, Grey Market Labs, 494% — A software company with the “mission to protect life online.” The company is headquartered in Clarendon.
  • 1,486, Kasma, 432% — A compensation software management system that provides employee pay data from across the globe.
  • 1,544, C3 Integrated Solutions, 414% — An IT service that secures clients with cloud-based tech and is located on Wilson Blvd in Clarendon.
  • 1,651, DonorBureau, 378% — A software analytics company helps organizations better fundraise and get donor support.
  • 1,879, Blake Willson Group, 323% — A veteran-owned business that provides “technology solutions” to the federal government.
  • 2,148, Competitive Innovations, 276% — A government service company that’s based on N. Glebe Road in Buckingham.
  • 2,227, Axios, 264% — A Clarendon-based digital media company that covers national as well as local news often with short, punchy articles.
  • 2,294, ITC Defense Corp., 256% — A tech-based global defense business that specializes in system engineering. It has an office in Crystal City.
  • 2,296, Fors Marsh Group, 255% — Conducts market research to help companies with customer service. It’s in Ballston.
  • 2,450, PhoenixTeam, 236% — A mortgage technology firm on N. Glebe Road in Ballston.
  • 3,092, iTechAG, 174% — A tech firm that helps organizations “streamline their operations to achieve better, faster and more predictable results.” It’s in Clarendon.
  • 3,094, Association Analytics, 174% — A data analytics company in Rosslyn that helps organizations operate more efficiently.
  • 3,292, Web Development Group, 161% — An advertising and marketing company that builds websites. It’s based in Clarendon.
  • 3,364, Ostendio, 156% — A digital platform company in Rosslyn that automates security.
  • 3,422, Nuvitek, 153% — An engineering firm that provides automation and cloud services to government agencies. It was on last year’s list as well and based in Rosslyn.
  • 3,541, Changeis, 146% — The Rosslyn-based company works with federal agencies in “emerging technologies.
  • 4,020, 540.co, 120% — As the company describes itself on its website “we are a forward-thinking company that the Federal Government turns to in order to…#GetShitDone.” It’s based in Crystal City.
  • 4,199, Quantum Search Partners, 111% — A recruiting company for cybersecurity, tech, data, and architecture sectors with an office in Clarendon.
  • 4,353, DWBH, 103% — A veteran-owned company that offers subject matter expertise “in support of mission-critical functions.”
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Fall 2022 Arlington parks and rec class registration poster

Arlington’s fall aquatics class registration did not go swimmingly for many who attempted it on Wednesday.

On the plus side, there appears to have been some degree of improvement from past meltdowns.

Until now, the quick clicking fingers of Arlington parents were virtually undefeated in bringing down even the beefiest of servers that the county’s tech vendor could assign to the competitive class and camp registration process.

Such was the case in February, for summer camp registration, and in March, for spring class registration. From our March article:

Waitlists, error messages and a call line 90 people deep thwarted Arlington residents’ attempts to enroll in spring classes through the parks department this morning.

The Department of Parks and Recreation offers a variety of classes in the spring, fall and winter that range from gymnastics and swimming to ceramics and jewelry making. The classes for kids are particularly popular with local parents. And registration day system failures — like those from opening day of summer camp registration — are not new for these classes, either.

Some compared the registration process to “getting front row Bruce Springsteen tickets” — to wit, “stressful and horrible.” […]

After summer camp registration crashed immediately upon opening the morning of Feb. 23 — despite attempts to beef up the platform in advance — parks department spokeswoman Susan Kalish said the platform vendor conducted “tests and improvements that should have resulted in a smooth registration” on Wednesday morning.

That did not happen.

More drastic measures were taken after March’s fiasco. The parks department, through its vendor, Vermont Systems, introduced virtual waiting rooms while staggering the registration for different types of classes.

Ever-popular gymnastics and swim classes, for instance, each got their own day this week. The goal was to prevent a crush of people all trying to register at once for the limited class spots.

That worked, to an extent, but there were still plenty of parent grumbles and reports of bugs in the online system.

“Totally unsuccessful for me,” one person reported on the popular Mothers of North Arlington (MONA) listserv. “Lots of errors, stalling out of the site, etc. I hope others had better luck.”

“We logged in exactly at [noon] and we’re unable to sign up for anything,” wrote another. “All wait-list sections also filled up within a minute apparently.”

“Virtual wait-room” for fall aquatics class registration

One parent’s effort, observed by ARLnow, had them placed 633rd in line to register for youth swim classes despite having arrived in the virtual “pre-wait room” well before registration started at noon. The parent was informed that the system “randomly assigned people to make selections.”

Ultimately, that parent was only able to get on a waitlist for a class.

On social media, other parents reported an array of bugs and errors.

Arlington Dept. of Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Susan Kalish, in a statement to ARLnow, acknowledged the issues and said the department is working to improve the process.

Despite the problems, more than 2,000 enrollments were processed in the first hour of class registration on Tuesday and Wednesday, Kalish said. The third and final registration window — for nature, history and other, general classes — opened earlier today.

Kalish’s full statement is below.

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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 1515 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn.

A Rosslyn-based online interior design startup is celebrating one year and more than 100 projects.

Deazly, launched in July 2021, brings professional design to homeowners in an online design studio. The company matches homeowners looking to renovate their kitchen or bathrooms with professional designers, who work with them to create 3D concepts of the space for a flat fee.

Homeowners can then see how their room will look before committing to a project.

“For most homeowners, hiring an interior designer can feel intimidating,” CEO and Founder Ketan Doiphode, a licensed architect, said in a news release. “It is a difficult process to navigate.”

So, he said he built Deazly to bridge the knowledge gap on the homeowner side and technological gap on the design side. His goal is to provide affordable, hassle-free design services. And for designers, it’s an opportunity to work 100% remotely.

Deazly clients tend to be 30 to 45 years old, tech-savvy and want good design completed at a fast pace, Doiphode said. And 60% of the company’s work comes directly from contractor partners and remodeling companies, the release said.

Contractors have a competitive advantage by having a design partner.

“The Deazly process provides the consultation needed to work through style preferences and functional requirements,” Doiphode said. “Highly realistic 3D designs and a product list ensure the homeowner and contractor can work together to make the design of these high-use spaces a reality.”

Ketan Doiphode, founder of Deazly (courtesy of Deazly)

While there are other e-design businesses, Deazly specializes in kitchens and bathrooms — both generally complex renovation projects that greatly contribute to resale value of homes. When the startup first launched, it offered just bathroom design but in January, the company added kitchen design services, as well.

Deazly’s flat fee structure, listed on its website as a range between $700 to $2,300 based on the extent of services, is something the company says sets it apart from traditional designers’ fees.

The Deazly team has seven U.S.-based interior designers and eight support team members in India, the release said.

“I see Deazly as an example of the modern workforce,” says Doiphode. “Designers often work long hours at firms and the conceptual, more creative part of the design process is led by directors and principals. At Deazly, the designers are involved in the visual and creative aspects. The 100% virtual team structure allows designers to create a flexible schedule. I can match homeowners with the right designer based on the designer’s availability.”

Doiphode was inspired to start the company from his 18 years of architecture and project management experience. He worked for the brand design team at Marriott International, where he worked on lifestyle brands that included Delta Hotels, Sheraton, Marriott Hotels, Aloft, and AC hotels. He has also worked as an interior architect for the firms SOM and Forrest Perkins.

Doiphode hopes to grow the Deazly design team and is working on a new version of the website that will add detailed project milestones and a two-way communication platform for homeowners’ remodeling and renovation process.

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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 1515 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn. 

Dozens of tech startups in the D.C. region were named “Red Hot Companies” at an event in Rosslyn last week.

During the two-hour DCA Live event, representatives from 41 startups nominated by the tech community as companies on the rise mingled with potential investors from banks, venture capital firms, nonprofits and others while enjoying drinks and various refreshments. The event was held at the Sands Capital office at 1000 Wilson Blvd.

DCA Live founder Doug Anderson gave each of the companies honored a framed certificate during a short award ceremony.

“This region has incredible talent, entrepreneurship and innovation, and I love how Doug is starting to galvanize it post-Covid,” said Scott Frederick, the managing partner of Sands Capital, in a speech. “It’s enormously important what he’s doing.”

Companies on the “Red Hot Companies” list in a group photo at the DCA Live event (staff photo by Mavis Chan)

Participants at the event said they enjoyed the networking opportunities it offered. Jeannie Plew, of SemaConnect, said she hoped to rub elbows with industry and technology leaders to learn best practices.

SemaConnect is a Maryland-based electric vehicle charging company that was recently acquired by Blink Charging for $200 million in February. This is the startup’s first time being on the Red Hot Companies list.

“I think it’s exciting because we are a red hot company, we’ve experienced high growth in the past 13 months,” Plew said.

Jennifer O’Daniel, a senior director at the nonprofit seed and early-stage investment fund Virginia Venture Partners of the Commonwealth’s Virginia Innovation Partnership Corporation, believed the event was “a great place to meet entrepreneurs.” She was a member of the host committee for the event.

Meanwhile, her organization has also invested in three of this year’s Red Hot Companies — the Ballston-based food catering service HUNGRY, the Ballston-based restaurant management software company MarginEdge and Crystal City-based customer service management software ChurnZero. Her organization specializes in investing in technology, life science and cleantech companies.

O’Daniel characterized the three startups as “tentpole companies,” which she described as companies that could “create wealth amongst its employees” and “start additional startups.”

People who went to work for startups at an early stage might later have the means, desire and managerial know-how to start their own venture, O’Daniel noted, thus helping to spur on “the next generation of startup companies.”

The event also attracted non-technology startups. Michael Gavin, co-founder of a new D.C.-based advertisement agency Uniic Marketing Solutions, said he was there for the networking opportunities.

Gavin said his company works with startups that, despite being technology-forward, often find out about the agency through decidedly old-fashioned (but effective) means: personal connections.

“Most of our clients so far — we have five within the year — they’ve all come from word of mouth,” he said. “If we can just carry that on, then we’re pretty much set.”

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