Fairfax County E-Bird newsletter for September 16, 2021: Cloudpermit North American HQ, Microsoft and Facebook plans, BlackSky IPO

Three Cloudpermit team members outside the company’s Reston Town Center headquarters. (Photo courtesy of Cloudpermit)

Clear headquarters decision: Cloudpermit, a Finnish software company focused on streamlining and digitizing government permits, announced that it has chosen a location in Reston Town Center as its North American headquarters. “Virginia has the highest concentration of tech talent in the U.S. and thousands of tech companies have made Fairfax County home, so we are delighted to join this incredible and growing business hub,” said Jan Pawli, Cloudpermit’s CEO. The Virginia Economic Development Partnership and the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority worked with Cloudpermit on the location decision. Potomac Tech Wire picked up the release and Virginia Business ran this story.

On track for RTO: Despite pandemic-related return-to-office delays, tech giants Microsoft and Facebook remain committed to previously announced plans to add office space at Reston Town Center, Reston Now reported. A presence on Sunset Hills Road since 2002, Microsoft announced in May 2020 that it will lease 400,000 square feet of office space in Two Freedom Square at Reston Town Center to build a research and development hub, which is expected to create 1,500 jobs and feature a new retail space. The Washington Business Journal reported in November that Microsoft also reached a deal with Reston Town Center owner Boston Properties to expand its Sunset Hills office by 45,000 square feet. Likewise Facebook confirmed to Reston Now that it still plans to set up a Reston office, even after recently announcing that U.S. employees won’t be required to return to offices until January. Boston Properties shared in an earnings call in October 2019 that Facebook signed a lease for about 75,000 square feet of space at Reston Town Center.

This rings a bell: Herndon- and Seattle-based geospatial intelligence and global monitoring company BlackSky Technology CEO Brian O’Toole on Sept. 13 rang the opening bell of the New York Stock Exchange. The satellite imagery and geospatial data provider began trading on the NYSE a day after closing a merger with a special purpose acquisition company. The SPAC deal unleashed $283 million in capital that the company plans to spend to hire people, build and launch satellites, and develop more advanced data analytics software, O’Toole told SpaceNews. An immediate goal is to expand BlackSky’s sales and marketing operations, he said. More than 90 percent of the company’s revenues currently are from government contracts, primarily from the Springfield-based National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, the Chantilly-based National Reconnaissance Office and the Defense Department. Next year the company expects to win more defense and intelligence contracts but also sign up new commercial customers, O’Toole said.

Challenges that matter most: Virginia Tech broke ground on Tuesday on its 3.5-acre Innovation Campus, a graduate school meant to expand the workforce for Northern Virginia’s booming tech sector — and turn the surrounding neighborhood into a key node in that industry. “The location of the Innovation Campus will allow it to catalyze the broader tech industry in the greater Washington, D.C., area,” Lance Collins, the campus’s vice president and executive director, told a crowd of several dozen gathered under a tent at the future site of the campus. “It will unite the three pillars of technology — the private and public sectors and academia — to focus the D.C. region on the challenges that matter most.” The Washington Post has more.

IDing explosive growth: Tysons-based identity-verification management company ID.me secured $100 million in debt financing from funds managed by affiliates of Fortress Investment Group and $20 million in revolving credit. This follows the company’s Series C round in March, securing $100 million in funding at a $1.5 billion valuation. The new financing will support ID.me’s rapid growth along with the development of its secure digital identity network for all consumers. Since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, ID.me said it has “experienced explosive growth,” as consumers have shifted many of their shopping, health care and banking needs online, requiring better ways to verify a person’s identity across the internet, the Washington Business Journal reported.

BEYOND awesome: Bluestone Investment Partners, a Tysons-based private equity firm, said it  invested an unspecified amount in Lorton-based cBEYONData, a provider of financial management reporting and compliance technology. cBEYONData focuses on business processes, cloud migrations and enablement, business intelligence, data management and warehouses, data analytics, and agile project and process management. The company’s software is designed to bolster federal government financial systems reporting and allow clients to quickly automate business processes. “With this investment, we have the additional resources necessary to expand our product offerings,” said David Schmidtknecht, co-founder of cBEYONData. Potomac Tech Wire carried the release.

Matched pair: Thompson Hospitality is bringing its Matchbox and Big Buns chains to a McLean retail center. The Reston-based company led by Warren Thompson recently inked a deal to sublease nearly 6,200 square feet at 1330 Chain Bridge Road for use by the pizza and burger chains. The deal advances plans by Thompson Hospitality — the largest African-American-owned business in Fairfax County and one of the largest in the nation — to grow the footprint of its restaurant brands, reported the Washington Business Journal in an article for subscribers.

They grow up so fast: Congrats to 36 Fairfax County-based companies that appear on the newly released 2021 Washington Business Journal 75 Fastest Growing Companies list. You read that right: Fairfax County companies make up 48 percent of the annual list. Among the businesses included this year based on revenue growth: Alpha Omega Integration (Tysons); BlackHorse Solutions (Herndon); Brillient (Reston); De Lune (Springfield); DigitalSpec (Merrifield); MicroHealth (Tysons); SpinSys (Falls Church area); and VTG (Chantilly). See the methodology and find out more here. The Business Journal will disclose the rankings of the companies Oct. 14 at The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner.

Drawing office workers back: With the pandemic giving employees more choice about when to come to the office, Tysons is depending on its new mixed-use projects that have walkable retail amenities near Metro stations to help draw people back, Bisnow says. “There is a lot of flexibility and people want choice, so you have to lure them back,” Jean Rosauer, chief marketing officer at ID.me, said at Bisnow’s “Future of Tysons” event. “It’s really important that we can walk out and go have lunch together. You can’t underestimate the importance of that and the importance of bringing people to the office.” Tysons has a workforce of 107,000, including 86,000 office-based jobs, according to the Tysons Partnership. Metro’s Silver Line opened in 2014 with four stations in Tysons. That opening, along with a new Fairfax County land-use plan that encourages growth around the stations, led to a surge of transit-oriented development with office, multifamily, hotels and retail clustered together.

Changes coming down the line: The Town of Herndon is preparing for big changes with a Silver Line Metro station expected to open next year. The town has 38 acres of developable land north of the new station where mixed-use construction is desired. Developers have purchased property in that area and the town is readying an amended comprehensive plan. Dennis Holste, Herndon’s economic development manager, said the town has had success building different types of housing to complement its commercial growth. Find out more and see photos of the town in the Washington Business Journal.

Catch a star: Reston-based digital data security company Neustar will be acquired by Chicago-based credit reporting company TransUnion in a deal valued at $3.1 billion, WTOP reported. Neustar, which relocated its headquarters and about 400 jobs to Reston Station two years ago, is being sold to Transunion by investors including San Francisco-based Golden Gate Capital. The acquisition expands TransUnion’s digital-identification verification business. The Washington Business Journal notes that the transaction does not include Neustar’s cybersecurity business, which will be dubbed Neustar Security Solutions and remain a portfolio company of Golden Gate Capital and GIC, the Singapore sovereign wealth fund that helped take Neustar private in 2017. Potomac Tech Wire picked up the release.

Anthology on the blackboard: Reston-based educational software company Blackboard will merge with Boca Raton, Fla.-based Anthology, an educational technology company focused on the higher education market. “Together, Blackboard and Anthology will lead the next wave of EdTech innovation,” said Bill Ballhaus, chairman and CEO of Blackboard. “We believe that combining our companies will enable us to break down data silos across the institution and surface deeper insights about the learner so that we can deliver unmatched personalized experiences across the full learner lifecycle.” The Washington Business Journal chalked up the news.

My point exactly: Tysons-based Spire Global, a provider of space-based data, analytics and space services, will acquire Ontario-based exactEarth, a provider of global maritime vessel data for ship tracking and maritime situational awareness solutions, for $161.2 million. Once completed, exactEarth will become a fully-owned subsidiary of Spire and continue to operate from Canada. Bringing together real-time and historical space-based maritime data, Spire and exactEarth will provide customers with innovative solutions that drive the digitization of the almost $2 trillion global maritime industry, such as better fleet visibility for more efficient routing, cost savings from reduced fuel consumption, and a lower environmental footprint, says a release picked up by citybiz.

Taking it to a new level: Idemia, with U.S. headquarters based in Reston, will deliver an identity proofing technology to NASA in an effort to provide the space agency with a tool for remote enrolment and verification of the identities of its partners and collaborators. The Remote Identity Proofing tool is designed to allow users to accomplish enrollment tasks, such as photo ID capture and validation, driver’s license and other I-9 forms from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service, via mobile device. Idemia also produces personal identity verification cards for federal agencies, common access cards for the Department of Defense, and distributes driver’s license credentials in many states within the country, ExecutiveBiz reported.

With a trace: Tysons-based Booz Allen Hamilton completed the acquisition of Fredericksburg-based Tracepoint, a digital forensics and incident response company serving public and private sector clients. Booz Allen decided to buy the remainder of Tracepoint’s business after making an initial strategic investment in the company in January. This transaction is part of a broader capital deployment strategy to accelerate Booz Allen’s advancement in critical technology areas. WashingtonExec has more.

Another octave: Reston-based federal IT modernization contractor Octo Consulting is partnering with New York City-based Dataiku, an artificial intelligence and machine learning company, to get more work in the defense, intelligence, health, finance and law enforcement markets, ExecutiveGov reported.

Breaking records: WTOP reports that the 20-story Monarch condominium tower being built in Tysons by D.C. developer Renaissance Centro’s resumed construction after a hiatus during 2020 and it is already 30 percent presold. Purchase contracts for three of the 94 units have topped $3.5 million, setting a record for the Tysons residential market. The $140 million building, at 7887 Jones Branch Drive near the Tysons Ritz-Carlton, is expected to be completed in mid-2023.

Target hit: Archer Hotel Tysons has made its debut in the Scotts Run development, adding a hospitality component to the residential and office buildings that have already taken shape in the mixed-use project next to the McLean Metro Station. Almost two years after its October 2019 ground-breaking, the luxury hotel opened its doors to patrons Tuesday, said LodgeWorks Partners, which also owns and operates the establishment. The urbanization of Tysons and the emergence of its newest walkable Scott’s Run South neighborhood is the epitome of live, work, play,” LodgeWorks president Mike Daood said. “Archer Hotel with its Virginia-centric, boutique vibe and classic hotel bar supports that lifestyle. We believe we bring something unlike anything in the area and hope to be a natural hub for commerce, getaways and celebrations.” Tysons Reporter has more.

Notable contract wins by firms in Fairfax County

Booz Allen Hamilton won a $91.3 million contract to help the Army Corps of Engineers define requirements for projects intended to address resilience and security challenges in military energy infrastructure. GovConWire

L3Harris Technologies obtained a 10-year $85 million contract to provide 170 large robots to protect U.S. Air Force bases around the globe. Air Force Technology

Peraton received a five-year, $60 million contract award to provide the Centers for Disease Control with data center and cloud management services. ExecutiveGov

ECS secured a five-year, $36.7 million contract to support U.S. Central Command in mission areas such as command and control, information sharing, knowledge management and security cooperation. ExecutiveBiz

VTG won a prime contract from the Navy Strategic Systems Programs to provide engineering services for the Navy’s hypersonic strike capability. InsideNoVa

Featured business events

October 5-6 — Uniting Women in Cyber 2021. The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority is sponsoring a Cyber Guild hosted event that will unite Fortune 1000 companies, small business technology and security leaders, and government organizations on emerging concepts, innovations, and thought leadership in the changing landscape of cyber.  Click here to register.

October 14 — Power of Innovation: The Digital Infrastructure Evolution in Fairfax County. Presented by the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, this event explores how our strong digital infrastructure is powering innovation in Fairfax County and Northern Virginia. Take a deep dive with us and hear from industry experts on how the region has created one of the strongest digital infrastructure networks in the world that benefits Fortune 500 companies to small businesses and is one reason why Fairfax County is home to 8,700 technology companies. Click here to register.

November 4 — Veteran & Military Family Career Day. Sponsored by the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, Fort Belvoir, the Northern Virginia Technology Council, Fairfax County Department of Economic Initiatives and the Northern Virginia Regional Commission, this event will be held at the National Museum of the U.S. Army at Fort Belvoir. Save the date! Registration information to come. If your company is interested in participating please click here.

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 info@fceda.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.