E-Bird Newsletter

Entrepreneur.com podcasts spotlight 5 Fairfax County company founders/innovators

As a hub for innovative startups, Fairfax County is the base of operations for numerous groundbreaking firms in a wide range of industry sectors. There are no better examples of innovation and entrepreneurism in action locally than the founders of five local companies – BloomCatch, Driver Rehabilitation Center of Excellence, Frontier Kitchen, SCOUT and Senseware – who were interviewed recently for the Entrepreneur.com Action and Ambition podcast series.

Hosted by Andrew Medal and Phillip Lanos, the series goes behind the scenes to learn the backstories, mindsets, and actions of the world’s most ambitious people. All episodes are posted on Entrepreneur.com, as well as on additional channels such as Spotify, Audible and Apple podcasts. (Links below)

“The founders highlighted by Entrepreneur.com are a wonderful example of the startup and innovation ecosystem that flourishes in Fairfax County,” said Victor Hoskins, president and CEO of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, “These founders also represent the tremendous diversity of our economy and the opportunities it affords to entrepreneurs of all backgrounds and in so many industries.”

BloomCatch

In this episode, Entrepreneur.com’s Phillip Lanos interviewed Raymond Magee, founder and president of Centreville-based BloomCatch, an app that he designed to identify plants using machine learning.

Magee said he was hiking with his family as a nature enthusiast when inspired to build a better plant identification app, a “Shazam” for plants. Using his computer science and business administration education, he launched BloomCatch, combining innovative artificial intelligence with planting and gardening.

Magee’s experience includes 10 years of public service at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and three years in the private service at a national food-service manufacturer. He created BloomCatch to maximize machine learning, engage users in a community, increase regional plant recognition, provide a robust searchable database, promote connections to garden centers, and offer friendly exchanges with live plant experts.

Among the topics, Magee talks about in the podcast is fundraising for start-ups. Check it out here:

Driver Rehabilitation Center of Excellence 

In this episode of Action and Ambition, the guests are Tammy Phipps and Joshua Himan, the founders of Chantilly-based Driver Rehabilitation Center of Excellence, a program that customizes automobiles to help the handicapped such as wounded warriors drive again.

Phipps is a career occupational therapist with more than 14 years of experience in various settings, including outpatient driving rehabilitation, long-term care, and inpatient acute care, ICU, medical, surgical, same-day surgery, and inpatient rehabilitation. She’s also a retired Major from the US Army Reserve, where she worked as a mental health asset in Iraq in 2007-2008.

Himan is a Marine veteran who was severely injured from an improvised explosive device while deployed during Operation Enduring Freedom. His injuries resulted in being paralyzed from the chest down. After spending several years recovering/rehabilitating from his injuries, Josh attempted to explore his prospects to return to driving. He was seen by therapist after therapist who determined that he was capable of driving, yet no one was able to actually get him back to driving independently.

Then he met Major Tammy Phipps at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., who was able to take Himan’s situation and devise a plan that would who get him back on the road. She guided him and his family throughout the entire process.

Together they subsequently formed the Driver Rehabilitation Center of Excellence, in order to make mobility accessible to everyone.

In the podcast, Phipps discusses Fairfax County’s supportive business environment for entrepreneurship and small businesses.

Find out more here:

Frontier Kitchen

Based in Lorton and Chantilly, Frontier Kitchen is a business incubator for food companies and it is the only commercial kitchen and food business accelerator in Fairfax County.

In this episode, Brenda Cromer, co-founder and CEO of Frontier Kitchen, talks about how to create a successful food company. She is a former intelligence analyst with a focus on organizational analytics. Cromer is an expert at evaluating organizations (including enterprises) and determining the core cause of difficulties or obstacles they face and devising solutions to assist them in achieving their objectives.

In the podcast, Cromer talks about how Fairfax County helped save companies during the pandemic.

“Fairfax County was really fantastic. They put together some really great public-private partnerships,” Cromer said. “So Fairfax paid our entrepreneurs to make meals for needy families that were distributed by non-profits. The whole system went well and it saved a half dozen companies with that one program. And we fed over 2,000 families.”

Cromer also talked about how Fairfax County is a technology hub as well as a great place for small businesses to thrive.

Listen here:

 

SCOUT

This episode features Eric Ingram, founder and CEO of SCOUT, an Alexandria-area company de-risking space operations with sensor suites that enable spacecraft to see and understand the area around them.

Ingram previously was an aerospace engineer for the Licensing and Evaluation Division of the FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation, where he gained expertise in the regulatory environment. Prior to this, he was an engineer for Deep Space Industries, where he designed cubeSat (miniaturized satellite) subsystems for testbed missions.

In the podcast Ingram talks about how SCOUT is hiring business developers and engineers; and about how Northern Virginia is an outstanding strategic location for business growth.

“Where you set up shop is also crucial in the industry. There are space hubs of the industry. You’ve got Colorado, Seattle, California — now Texas. But what people overlook is the amount of access you get by being near D.C. So we are in Northern Virginia and every company that is a defense prime company that needs to interact with the government in any way is either based in Northern Virginia or they frequently travel here. So it’s a great place to really interact with whoever you need to and be positioned to work with,” Ingram said.

“And also the benefit of being in Northern Virginia is that within a three-hour drive you can be at the beach or a mountain — wherever you like to be,” Ingram added.

Listen here:

Senseware

In this podcast, Entrepreneur.com’s Andrew Medal chatted with Serene Al-Momen, PhD, co-founder and CEO at Senseware, a Tysons-based Internet of Things company that connects the physical world to the cloud and gives real-time data, including indoor air quality.

Al-Momen spent more than 11 years managing major, mission-critical projects, directing teams of up to 40 employees and managing an annual budget of at least $10 million before joining Senseware. She has a proven track record of completing projects on time and budget while increasing income by an average of $1 million per year.

In the podcast, she discusses how Fairfax County has a vibrant startup culture.

“We’re situated in a very much growing innovation hub on the eastern coast. There’s a growing tech community, diverse workforce here and we have around 8,500 technology firms,” Al-Momen said. “We raised over $7 million, almost all from investors in the region… It’s really a great environment with a lot of tech talent.”

Check out the podcast here: