Fairfax County E-Bird newsletter for June 22, 2021: Somatus, Top Workplaces list, Northrop rocket
Funding organ: Tysons-based Somatus, the fast-growing kidney-care startup, secured $60.1 million in new funding, bringing the 5-year-old company’s total funding to $165 million, the Washington Business Journal reported. Somatus, which is expanding a new comprehensive care model for patients with chronic kidney disease and end-stage renal disease, serves more than 150,000 patients across the U.S., up from tens of thousands a year ago. And the business is rapidly adding employees, now with more than 600 employees operating in 34 states, a jump from April when the business counted 500 people across 25 states. Somatus partners with health systems, nephrology and primary care groups and health plans to offer care for patients at different stages of kidney disease. Its vision involves ensuring a foothold in the fast-growing dialysis market while improving outcomes for these patients by meeting them where they are and preventing hospital visits and readmissions.
Top Workplaces — we’ve got ’em: The Washington Post is out with its Top Workplaces in the Washington area 2021 rankings, and we are pleased to reveal that 71 Fairfax County-based companies are on the list of 200 companies. LMI in Tysons tops the list of Fairfax County businesses in the Largest Employers category. Also in that group are Capital One (Tysons), CGI (Fairfax), Jim Koons Automotive (Tysons), CACI (Reston), Dovel Technologies (Tysons) and Peraton (Chantilly). Fairfax County firms ranked among top Large Employers are Carfax (Centreville), Appian (Tysons) and American Systems. Acclaim Technical Services (Reston) and Procentrix (Herndon) made the list of Mid-Sized Employers, and Canopy One Solutions (Chantilly) and ThunderCat Technology (Reston) were included in the Small Employers group. An additional 34 companies based elsewhere in the Northern Virginia Economic Development Alliance also placed on the list, meaning 52.5 percent of the highlighted businesses hail from Northern Virginia. Conducted in partnership with employee engagement firm Energage, the Post’s survey asked employees about the companies they work for to identify 200 of the highest ranked workplaces in the region. The top companies were selected based on survey responses from more than 65,500 employees on topics ranging from employee development to innovation. The full list of honored companies can be found here.
Blast off: The Minotaur I rocket, built by Falls Church area-based Northrop Grumman, launched from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on June 15 carrying undisclosed cargo classified as a national security payload by the U.S. Space Force. For those who missed the launch, live-streamed video of liftoff is available through the NASA Wallops YouTube page. Minotaur I can launch up to 1,278 pounds of payload into low Earth orbit and has delivered more than 60 satellites, according to Northrop Grumman, USA Today reported.
Rise and shine: Brookfield Properties released details on the first stand-alone residential component of its Halley Rise project in Reston: a seven-story, 353-unit high-end multifamily tower called the Edmund, slated to open next year near the new Reston Town Center Metro Station. The first phase of Halley Rise also includes an 840,000-square-foot mixed-use building, to include an 80,000-square-foot Wegmans supermarket scheduled to come online in 2023, 5,000 square feet of retail space and 961 parking spaces. Check out the photos and find out more in the Washington Business Journal.
A b-ig deal: Centreville-based Parsons won a $2.24 billion (yes, that’s with a “b”) contract from the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) for engineering and technical support services. Parsons’ government services business will also provide analysis, studies and evaluation, management support and professional services for MDA, according to GovConWire.
Just a bit more: Tysons-based MicroStrategy said it spent another $489 million in cash on a new round of bitcoins, bringing its total holdings in the cryptocurrency to more than 105,000 tokens. The company specializing in business intelligence software has now acquired more than $2.7 billion in Bitcoin to date. The Washington Business Journal mined company information for this story. MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor talked about his views on bitcoin June 17 during the Parallel Summit presented by the Chamber of Digital Commerce and sponsored by the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority.
Sustainability solutions: Solving sustainability issues in manufacturing is a collaborative effort, and that’s something McLean-based Mars set its sights on, said Mars CFO Claus Aagaard in an interview with Fortune. In partnership with Guidehouse, a consultancy moving its global headquarters to Tysons, Mars formed the Supplier Leadership on Climate Transition initiative to mobilize suppliers on climate action. The food giant has a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in its own operations by 27 percent by 2025 and 67 percent by 2050. In October, Mars announced it would eliminate palm-oil suppliers that do not commit to preventing deforestation. The company also said its palm oil use no longer contributes to the clearing of forests in the tropics. As CFO at Mars, Aagaard said the company proposing a sustainability solution is both economically beneficial and a “moral obligation.”
Affordable housing: Amazon created a partnership with Metro to help spur the development of new transit-oriented affordable housing in the Northern Virginia region where it is building its second headquarters. The tech giant announced last week that it is committing $125 million to create 1,000 units of affordable housing at Metro-adjacent developments over the next five years. Amazon and Metro haven’t specified which stations the partnership plans to target for affordable housing development. Metro has several existing joint development agreements in the DMV that could be candidates for Amazon’s funding, including a possible project at West Falls Church Metro station in Virginia, Bisnow reported.
Investing in our community: Fairfax County expects to receive $200 million of American Rescue Plan funds over the next two years, with $50 million of that thus far dedicated to specific uses: to help the hard-hit hospitality industry and, over the longer term, to preserve and create more affordable housing in the county, Fairfax County officials said. On June 15, the Fairfax Board of Supervisors approved a $25 million grant program that will direct Rescue Plan money to the county’s 110 hotels, plus restaurants, museums and tourist-related businesses that have experienced at least a 15 percent drop in business because of the pandemic. Another $25 million was approved to preserve and create affordable housing in Fairfax. “You’re going to see us use it to invest in our community and help the people who have been the most impacted through the pandemic,” said Jeffrey C. McKay, chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. The Washington Post has more.
Building Virginia’s tech pipeline: Virginia is injecting more than $2 billion into a Tech Talent Investment Program that cumulatively represents the largest state commitment to computer science education, notes Business Facilities. In June 2020, for example, Fairfax-based George Mason University launched the Institute for Digital InnovAtion. In the next five years, through a public-private partnership, Mason will combine $250 million of state funding, private philanthropy and investment from a developer partner to build the Institute for Digital InnovAtion headquarters (IDIA-HQ) on Mason’s Arlington campus. The IDIA-HQ will anchor a nascent Innovation District developing in the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor in Arlington. With its highly educated and skilled workforce, including one of the highest concentration of tech workers in the nation, world-class universities and a robust digital infrastructure, Virginia already was in the prime position in the race to establish the top tech talent pipeline when the Commonwealth recently unleashed new talent pipeline initiatives.
Different bay bridge: Versar, a Springfield-based provider of project management services to the federal government, acquired Washington, D.C.-based BayFirst Solutions, which provides network engineering, cybersecurity and intelligence support to the government, serving primarily the Department of Homeland Security. Versar said the acquisition will expand and diversify its capabilities in the information technology and intelligence services spaces. Potomac Tech Wire carried a release.
Deeper dive: Austin, Texas-based Forcepoint, which has an office in Herndon, intends to buy U.K.-based Deep Secure to expand its portfolio of cybersecurity offerings for governments, critical infrastructure and enterprises worldwide. Deep Secure’s Threat Removal platform helps eliminate threats from web and email downloads and other attack vectors by applying a zero trust approach to data. Forcepoint will integrate Deep Secure’s content, disarm and reconstruction capabilities into its platform for enterprises, reported GovConWire.
Edtech investment: Reston education software company Ellucian was acquired by the Blackstone Group and Vista Equity Partners from previous owners TPG Capital and Leonard Green & Partners. In an announcement, Blackstone and Vista said they would invest in Ellucian as part of their respective long-term strategies. Ellucian counts 2,700 customers in more than 50 countries, with its clients serving more than 26 million students, according to Washington Business Journal in an article for subscribers.
International expansion: Reston-based ScienceLogic, a developer of AI-driven monitoring tools for hybrid cloud management, opened a regional headquarters in Taiwan. The move, which will help broaden the company’s reach to international customers, comes four months after ScienceLogic raised $105 million in its fifth round of funding. Potomac Tech Wire picked up a release.
Key market expansion: Romanian cybersecurity firm Safetech, listed on the Bucharest Stock Exchange, announced plans to issue new shares to finance its expansion abroad, including setting up subsidiaries in Reston and in the U.K., bne IntelliNews reported.
Silver shovel: Area Development recognized Microsoft’s planned $64 million research and development hub project in the Reston Town Center with a 2021 Silver Shovel Award. Announced in May 2020 by Gov. Ralph Northam, the facility will create 1,500 jobs. Area Development’s annual Gold and Silver Shovel Awards recognize states for their achievements in attracting high-value-added investment projects that will create a significant number of new jobs in their communities. Terrell Cox, general manager at Microsoft, noted the facility “will allow Microsoft to deliver even more solutions from a region known for its innovation and passion for technology.”
Helping in the community: Tysons-based PenFed Credit Union collected $3,000 worth of sports equipment with a June 9 drive led by employees and their families. The equipment will be distributed to at-risk youth in the D.C. region by local police, and the company also donated $15,000 to the Washington D.C. Police Foundation, Tysons Reporter noted.
Notable contract wins by firms in Fairfax County
Featured business events
June 23 — Can Employers Require Employees to Get the COVID-19 Vaccine? The Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce presents a panel discussion featuring Maureen E. Carr, an employment attorney at Bean, Kinney & Korman. The event is part of the Business Education Series sponsored by the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority. Click here to register.
June 24 — State of the Airports. The Committee for Dulles presents a luncheon (virtual or in-person option). Sponsored by the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, the keynote speaker will be Jack Potter, president and CEO of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority. Click here to register.
June 24 — Finding Success in Mentor-Protégé Teaming Agreements. The George Mason University Center for Government Contracting, part of the School of Business, presents a webinar focusing on how government and business are approaching an evolving procurement environment. The webinar will include virtual networking. Click here to register. This webinar is the third and final part of the New Directions in Federal Spending & Contracting series sponsored by the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority.
June 24 — Security is Diversity Workshop. The Cyber Guild presents a session that will bring founders, CEOs and leaders of technology and security companies in Fairfax County and beyond that have grown companies from concept to launch to high growth. Speakers include Lexy Guenther, vice president and CTO of Leidos Exploration & Mission Systems, and Quiana Gainey, CEO of SecureTech360. The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority is the event sponsor. Click here to register.
June 29 — Korean-Based Companies That Want to Do Business in the U.S. Holland & Knight’s Korea Practice and the Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce-International Business Council present part two of a two-part series on cross-border business between the U.S. and the Republic of Korea. Registration to open soon.
July 13 — Entrepreneurship 101: Starting A Business in Fairfax County. The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, in partnership with the Virginia Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity, the Community Business Partnership and the U.S. Small Business Administration, presents a virtual workshop that will provide the fundamentals needed to successfully start a business. In addition, an Entrepreneur Spotlight will feature Emmit McHenry, chairman and CEO of Cycurion, who will discuss his entrepreneurial journey and share valuable tips for business success. Click here to register.
How the Fairfax County EDA can help
The FCEDA is here to connect businesses of all kinds to resources and information. Visit the FCEDA’s Covid-19 Business Resource Hub for up-to-date information. For direct assistance, email the FCEDA at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 703-790-0600 to leave a voice message for our staff. And click here for resources available in the other nine jurisdictions that make up the Northern Virginia Economic Development Alliance.