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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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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These streets are home to Nestle chocolate — but that’s not the sweetest part of this neighborhood! Join us today as we give you a full breakdown of Rosslyn, one of our favorite neighborhoods in Arlington.

No matter where you live in Arlington, there’s something unique to fall in love with! What do you love about your community? Let us know down in the comments below, so we can highlight them in a future Neighborhood Spotlight.

And, as always, if you have any questions about Arlington real estate, please contact the Keri Shull Team, the No. 1 top-selling real estate team in the Washington, D.C. area.

What Makes People Want to Live in Rosslyn?

Rosslyn is ideal for people who want the true urban village experience that is so unique to Arlington. In addition to having tons of entertainment and employment opportunities within Rosslyn itself, residents can also access the rest of the DMV with ease.

So, if you feel like popping over to historic Georgetown for a bit of shopping or a quick bite, living in Rosslyn makes that easy! With a great location on the Potomac River, world-class public transit options and high walkability, residents never have to worry about missing out on what this amazing city has to offer.

The View From the Top

If you’re looking for things to do in Arlington, Rosslyn not only offers you all of D.C. — it also has a lot to offer right in your neighborhood.

Some of our favorite destinations in Rosslyn include the memorials and public art — spots like Dark Star Park, Gateway Park and Roosevelt Island are great places to get some air.

There are also a ton of great places to eat in Rosslyn. Check out our Definitive Guide to Rosslyn, Virginia | Local Streets and Eats video to see some of the best dishes in the neighborhood.

One of the coolest spots in Rosslyn is The View of DC, a 31st-floor observation deck with 360-degree views of D.C. and all of Arlington. The View of DC is open to all Arlington residents free of charge.

A Great Place to Live — and Work!

Living in Rosslyn means living in the gateway connecting D.C. and Virginia, giving you the best of both!

High-rises dot the skyline, many of which are filled with urban, apartment-style condominiums. These homes offer super high walkability, and many of them are perfect for luxury living in Arlington.

Rosslyn also features a thriving job market. Nestle has its American headquarters in Rosslyn, and tech giant Microsoft just signed a lease for a new sales center in the neighborhood.

So, why are homes in such demand in Rosslyn? Here’s just a couple of reasons why:

  • Great public transportation via the Rosslyn Metro Stop
  • Close proximity to DC over the Key Bridge, especially to neighborhoods like Georgetown and Foggy Bottom
  • Stunning views of the District and North Arlington

Given how fast the housing market moves in Arlington, it can be difficult to find and win your dream home in Rosslyn. That’s why it’s so important to work with a real estate team that can streamline your search and help negotiate for you. In fact, the best thing to do is work with a team that can help you find “hidden gem” off-market homes in Rosslyn!

Popular Rosslyn Communities

The Pierce

The Pierce is the newest addition to the Rosslyn skyline — and what an addition it is! This hyper-modern, hyper-luxurious condo community stands at a towering 27 stories. It is still undergoing final construction at the time of recording, but the units are currently for sale.

Floor plans include 1-bedroom with den, 2-bedroom and 2-bedroom with den.

Gaslight Square

The condos at Gaslight Square are some of the most unique in Rosslyn. With soaring ceilings and an old-world aesthetic, these homes offer a distinctly loft-like atmosphere. Each condominium unit features its own private outdoor space, so you can enjoy a slice of privacy in the heart of Rosslyn.

To see the rest of our favorite Rosslyn condo buildings, make sure to check out the expanded Spotlight on our blog.

Bridging the Gap in the Market

The Arlington housing market is already moving fast in 2021. When Rosslyn homes do come onto the market, they tend to sell very quickly and with a lot of competition.

If you aren’t taking the proper precautions, you might have serious trouble finding the right home now — but there is help out there. At the Keri Shull Team, we have access to hundreds of off-market properties that you cannot find online or anywhere else… and we want to give you priority access!

When selling a house in Arlington, it’s more important than ever to make sure you are taking the proper precautions to protect your investment. The best way to do that is to speak with a top-tier real estate agent and create a completely customized home selling strategy.

So what are you waiting for? Schedule a time for a free, no-pressure consultation with one of our Real Estate Needs Analysts!

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Looking for a home? There are plenty of houses and condos open for viewing this weekend.

Check out the Arlington Realty website for a full list of homes for sale and open houses in Arlington. Here are a few highlights:

1610 N. Queen Street, #218
2 BD/2 BA, 1 half bath condo
Agent: McWilliams Ballard
Listed: $1,599,900
Open: Sunday, 2-4 p.m.

 

2500 Washington Blvd
6 BD/5 BA single-family home
Agent: RE/MAX Allegiance
Listed: $1,400,000
Open: Saturday and Sunday, 2-4 p.m.

 

1806 24th Street S.
3 BD/3 BA, 1 half bath townhouse
Agent: Long & Foster Real Estate
Listed: $1,100,000
Open: Sunday, 1-3 p.m.

 

1013 N. Quintana Street
3 BD/2 BA, 1 half bath single-family home
Agent: Local Expert Realty
Listed: $949,990
Open: Saturday and Sunday, 12-2 p.m.

 

2020 N. Lincoln Street
2 BD/2 BA single-family home
Agent: Redfin
Listed: $829,900
Open: Sunday, 1-3 p.m.

 

1200 Crystal Drive, #312
2 BD/2 BA condo
Agent: Compass
Listed: $789,900
Open: Sunday, 2-4 p.m.

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Just Listed highlights Arlington properties that just came on the market within the past week. This feature is written and sponsored by Andors Real Estate Group.

Good morning, Arlington!

We are rocking and rolling here in Arlington, and it’s starting to feel like spring already. Well, OK, not the temperature outside, but the temperature of the real estate market is way, way up these past few weeks!

We live in a bubble in Arlington, but the bubble is expanding. Insane market conditions are stretching as far west as Ashburn, where properties are selling before hitting the market — for way above asking price. A recent example is a townhome listed by my brokerage that sold for 8% over list price without a single buyer stepping foot in the property. No contingencies — just a fast closing and much more for the seller than they were anticipating.

Northern Virginia is hot, hot, hot, and if you’re thinking about selling your home, call The Andors Real Estate Group of Keller Williams Realty! We can position you to maximize the sale and walk away with more money.

We saw 75 new listings come online this week in Arlington. Buyers worked hard to keep pace with sellers, ratifying 64 contracts, 27 of which were on homes listed just within the past seven days.

Arlington inventory went up a bit, we now have 388 properties available, up from 375 last week. Of those, 84 are single family homes, 29 are town houses/semi-detached and 275 are condos.

The average list price for currently available properties is $761,516 and the median is $510,000.

Click here to search currently available Arlington real estate. If you see a home you’re interested in purchasing, give us a call.

Call the Andors Real Estate Group today at 703-203-1117 to talk more about buying or selling Arlington real estate. Below are eight new listings I think you might like to check out:

Just Listed: 1120 19th Street S.
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Title insurance is boring, but Allied Title & Escrow is here to decode the jargon and make it (somewhat) more interesting. This biweekly feature will explore the mundane (but very necessary!) world of title insurance while sharing interesting stories of two friends’ entrepreneurial careers.

For this week’s edition of Boring Title, we present to you: Office Space — Printer Scene (Allied Title Edition).

After our 6,000th closing, our very first printer finally gave out. We wanted to have a little fun with it, and let out some of our built-up frustration it gave us over the years. We hope you enjoy it!

How did we do against the original?

Have questions related to title insurance? Email Latane and Matt at [email protected]. Want to use Allied Title & Escrow when you buy a home? Tell your agent when you buy a house to write in Allied Title & Escrow as your settlement company! 

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Despite the chilly temps, the Arlington real estate market remains hot.

This past week, 25 properties were reported sold across the county.

As of Jan. 24, there were 526 homes listed for sale in Arlington, according to Homesnap. This includes 365 condos, 133 detached homes and 28 townhomes.

“The median list price is $550,000 and the median sales price is $625,000,” Homesnap reports. “There have been 148 new listings in the last 4 weeks and 159 sales.”

Here’s a look at a few of the properties sold in the past seven days:

In the market? See properties that have been Just Listed and Just Reduced.

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Learn to get the best images in the Smartphone Photography workshop, Feb. 2 at 11 a.m.

This column is sponsored by Arlington Arts/Arlington Cultural Affairs, a division of Arlington Economic Development.

The initial session of the Arts Enterprise Institute Spring Classes kicked-off with a near-capacity registration! Artists, performers and arts professionals looking to up their game are encouraged to join in for the remaining Arts Enterprise Institute Sessions, continuing through March 2. (All classes are virtual.)

Arts Enterprise Institute is a program of Arlington Arts that exists to provide resources for artists and deepen their skill set to withstand the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Workshops, training, seminars and events integrate strong business skills, knowledge, life-long learning and artistic development with peer-to-peer learning and engagement with the community.

A cornerstone of these programs is artists teaching artists. Meet the instructors for the remaining sessions:

Sharmila Karamchandani is the instructor for Smartphone Photography: How to Use Your Phone to Take Great Photos and Online Shops — A Dozen Ways to Sell Your Art During the Pandemic.

Sharmila, a local graphic designer and artist-entrepreneur, has a passion for working in arts education and community nonprofits. Sharmila has a bachelor’s degree in advertising and a master’s degree in graphic design. Sharmila is extremely passionate about art and teaching. She teaches graphic design in a private college, and she has been an entrepreneur coach for Empowered Women International for the past 15 years and has taught many women how to start their businesses. She is also a certified Therapeutic Art Life Coach and facilitates visual art workshops for Heard, an Alexandria based nonprofit that works with a vulnerable population.

Sushmita Mazumdar is the instructor for Community Engagement for Artists.

Sushmita is an Arlington-based artist, writer, educator and founder of Studio Pause, her art studio and community space for art and stories, where she invites everyday people to make time to explore creativity and celebrate the art and stories in the community.

After a 15-year career in the advertising industry in India and the U.S., Sushmita taught herself writing and book arts to create unique storybooks about her childhood in India to show her American-born son how different yet wonderful lives can be.

Since 2010 she has participated in programs at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Glen Echo Park’s Popcorn Gallery. She has designed and taught projects for the Smithsonian Institution and its museums, Arlington Arts, DC Public Libraries, National Building Museum and Alexandria Black History Museum. In 2018, Sushmita was awarded Arlington County’s Woman of Vision award for her work at Studio Pause, and in 2019 she was appointed one of 13 Arts Commissioners for Virginia.

Classes are filling up quickly, so sign up now for the Arts Enterprise Institute Spring Semester, continuing through March 2. (Again, all classes are virtual.) The fee is just $20 per class.

Smartphone Photography: How to Use Your Phone to Take Great Photos — Feb. 2, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

Online Shops: A Dozen Ways to Sell Your Art During the Pandemic — Feb. 16, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

Community Engagement for Artists Instructor — March 2, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

Learn to sell your creations during the pandemic in the Online Shops workshop, Feb. 16 at 11 a.m.
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