Feb. 24 E-Bird newsletter: Northrop, Capital One get high marks for Black career advancement; Somatus lands $325m round of funding

Chart toppers: A new Glassdoor report lists 10 companies that Black employees say are committed to advancing their careers, and we are proud to note that Falls Church-area based Northrop Grumman and Tysons-based Capital One are on the list. So are other businesses with a major presence in Fairfax County, including Microsoft, which has offices in Reston, and Deloitte and EY, which have offices in Tysons. Glassdoor said the companies on the list have programs that reflect empowerment of Black employees to capture their unique workplace experiences and continue to invest in them to ensure sustainable engagement, high productivity and strong job satisfaction. CNBC has more.

Big funding round: Tysons-based Somatus, which partners with insurers and medical practitioners to provide preventive kidney disease care, raised a new round of capital in a deal that values the business at more than $2.5 billion, the Wall Street Journal reported in an article for subscribers. That positions the company to be Northern Virginia’s next “unicorn” with a valuation topping $1 billion. Wellington Management led the more than $325 million Series E investment, according to Somatus. Somatus’s in-home care services and technology are designed for patients with chronic kidney or end-stage renal disease with the aim of improving awareness and quality of life and lowering costs.

Mobile investment: Tysons-based Kryptowire, a mobile security company, received a growth investment that was led by US Venture Partners, with participation from Crosslink Capital. The company, founded in 2011, said it will use the funding to focus on new industry segments, including healthcare, financial services and education. “The use of mobile devices and mobile operating systems in general continue to be an essential part of our personal and professional lives, making the ability to proactively protect end-to-end security while preserving user privacy paramount,” said Dana Waldman, CEO of Kryptowire. Potomac Tech Wire picked up the release.

New ride: Reston-based General Dynamics joined forces with Detroit-based GM Defense to design and develop an optionally manned fighting vehicle for the U.S. Army to replace the Bradley. According to General Dynamics vice president Don Kotchman, the development illustrates that the company has been gaining momentum to provide an important capability to the Army. “This collaboration with commercial powerhouse GM Defense brings together world-class capabilities from both companies to meet the future needs of U.S. soldiers operating in a multidomain environment,” Kotchman explained in a press release, reported TheDefensePost.

Mod tech squad: Tysons-based Modzy aims to solve implementation difficulties with artificial intelligence, and help companies roll out AI applications efficiently and at scale, CEO Josh Sullivan said in an interview with Technical.ly. Modzy is a platform for AI model operations and machine learning operations that launched within Tysons-based Booz Allen Hamilton in 2019, and was spun out into an independent company in December 2021. The company works with 25 partner companies, including Nvidia, Microsoft, Amazon and Snowflake. Booz Allen holds a minority state in Modzy, which is part of a larger strategy to scale its technical work.

Virginia is for rockets too: Virginia is attracting space companies, including Long Beach, Calif.-based Rocket Lab, which may soon begin flying rockets from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on Virginia’s Wallops Island, SpaceNews reported, noting that start-up space companies in the state include Herndon-based HawkEye 360, Tysons-based SpaceLink, Loudoun County-based LeoCloud, and Northern Virginia and Silicon Valley-based TrustPoint. Being in Virginia provides geographic access to customers in the Department of Defense and intelligence community, said Chris DeMay, TrustPoint founder and COO. Since Virginia also is home to government agencies, federally funded research centers and defense contractors, “your odds are good in recruiting high quality NewSpace employees in Northern Virginia,” DeMay said.

Benefiting those on earth: Speaking of space, the aforementioned Northrop Grumman’s 17th NASA-contracted resupply capsule rendezvoused with the International Space Station (ISS) early Feb. 21, delivering an 8,300-lb. haul of crew supplies and hardware, as well as science and technology investigations, Spaceflight Now reported. The mission lifted off Saturday from Wallops Island, Va., aboard a two-stage Antares rocket. Dina Contella, NASA’s operations integration manager for the ISS program, said cargo missions like the Cygnus resupply flight are critical for supplying science investigations. “We’ve got investigations on skin aging, plant growth. We’re looking at new hydrogen sensors. This science provides direct benefits to those on Earth as well for future human spaceflight crews and future spaceflights,” Contella said.

Adding two: Tysons-based Aeyon, a provider of process automation and management consulting to the federal government, acquired Huntsville, Ala.-based Manufacturing Technical Solutions, a prime contractor to NASA, and Marick Group, a provider of workforce management and training technologies that is based in Brooklandville, Md. Aeyon is a portfolio company of Chevy Chase-based Enlightenment Capital, GovConWire reported.

Media grab: Tysons media company Tegna agreed to be acquired by New York City-based hedge fund Standard General for about $5.4 billion. When including the assumption of Tegna’s debt, the value of the deal climbs to $8.6 billion, the Washington Business Journal reported. Tegna was the resulting broadcast company after Gannett in 2015 spun off its print business, which owns USA Today and other print publications around the country. Tegna owns 64 television stations in 51 markets. Standard General said the transaction, if completed, will create the largest broadcast group owned by a person of color and led by a woman in the U.S. Standard General is led by Soo Kim, a Korean-American. Deb McDermott, which formerly led the broadcast group at Media General, will become the CEO of privately held Tegna.

Sunny day for 3G workaround: Starting this month, mobile carriers are shutting down their 3G networks to make room for more advanced network services. For solar installers needing to upgrade all of the 3G systems in their fleet, Fairfax-based Ipsun Tech is offering “Sunvoy,” a free tool to installers nationwide that will help you locate all of the impacted systems in need of an upgrade. “Our mission is to fight climate change by helping installers do their work faster and easier,” said Herve Billiet, Ipsun Tech CEO. “We’re offering this free tool to installers because, as we looked at our own systems that needed attention due to the 3G phaseout, we saw that Sunvoy could help.” Solar Builder Magazine has more.

Good-fit: Tysons startup Enployable is using AI to match people with “good-fit jobs,” citybiz reported. The company matches employers and employees seeking jobs using a natural language processing algorithm. Both parties can input their wants and needs into its platform — like remote work, benefits, company culture and compensation — and they’ll be matched based on compatibility. Job seekers get a personalized list of companies to apply to, and employers get a list of candidates.

Perk to fly: Chicago-based Boeing, which has offices across Northern Virginia, offers a range of benefits to attract talent in the industry, including tuition reimbursements and incentives to fly. Yes, you read that correctly. Boeing pays a percentage of the cost for every single employee to take flight lessons that can lead to a private pilot’s license, Fox 2 Now reported. Now that’s a sky-high perk!

Get your passport ready: Starting this summer, Washington Dulles International Airport will once again offer direct flights to Madrid. Iberia, a Spanish air carrier, will start the new service between Dulles and Spain’s Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport June 1, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority announced. This addition, delayed since 2020, marks the airport’s first new international airline since the start of the pandemic, the Washington Business Journal reported.

Contract wins by firms in Fairfax County

Northrop Grumman landed a $252 million contract to produce and test a handheld ground-targeting system for the Marine Corps. Virginia Business

Featured business events

March 1 — Entrepreneurship 101: Starting A Business in Fairfax County. Presented by 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, this webinar will provide the business fundamentals needed to successfully start a business. The Entrepreneurial Spotlight this session will feature Chef Errin Roth, a veteran who is founder and owner of Mrs. Jo’s Petite Eats, the soon-to-open patisserie and cafe in the PenFed building in Tysons. It started as Ms. Jo’s Petite Sweets, a dessert business out of a commercial kitchen in Lorton and expanded to include corporate catering. Roth appeared on five episodes of the FOX show “Crime Scene Kitchen” in 2021. Click here to register.

March 3 — Choosing a Business Space in Fairfax County. Presented by the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority and Fairfax County Land Development Services, this free webinar will focus on the important considerations you need to know when choosing the best space for your small business. 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. 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.