Jan. 13 E-Bird newsletter: HomeValet launches SmartBox for secure deliveries, Tysons retail scene evolving, startup competition is here

Smart startup: HomeValet, the Tysons startup that developed a secure, temperature-controlled “SmartBox” for grocery deliveries, is releasing its product to the public and expanding its partnership with Walmart, TechCrunch reports. HomeValet piloted the Smart Box with Walmart in 2021 as a way for grocery-delivery customers to keep their fresh and frozen items cold while also ensuring their deliveries remained secure until they could retrieve them. Now, the Smart Box will be offered to Walmart’s InHome grocery delivery subscribers in select markets starting this month, the company says. It will also be offered to general consumers who can preorder the box with a down payment of $50. Click here to see an FCEDA video featuring John Simms, president, founder and CEO of HomeValet.

A little friendly startup competition: DC Inno, a sister publication of the Washington Business Journal, is getting ready to kick off Inno Madness, its competition “for startups or small businesses that are private, tech-enabled or, if not, supporting local innovation in some way.” Formerly known as Tech Madness and running parallel to the March Madness college basketball tournament, Inno Madness aims to build awareness and excitement for the region’s innovation universe and the companies that make it what it is, says DC Inno Editor Sara Gilgore. Nominations will be accepted until February 6. Click here to find out more. Tysons-based kidney-care startup Somatus took the title in 2021, by the way.

Next-gen retail: As the retail industry around the world is adapting to disruptions from e-commerce to the coronavirus pandemic, the face of the retail market in Tysons is changing too, Bisnow notes. A series of moves in the market, from closures of established stores to openings of new stores and mall redevelopments, highlight how Tysons is entering a new generation of its retail life-cycle, penned Bisnow’s Deputy East Coast Editor Jon Banister. While some merchandise-oriented stores may be closing, such as L.L. Bean in Tysons Corner Center, experience-based concepts such as fitness centers and coffee shops are opening new locations in Tysons. Meanwhile, Tysons Corner Center and Tysons Galleria are moving forward with extensive redevelopment plans, the story notes.

Missile-defense centerpiece: Falls Church-area based Northrop Grumman won a 5-year, $1.4 billion contract from the Army for production of the Integrated Battle Command System (IBCS). The Army calls the IBCS the centerpiece of its modernization strategy for air and missile-defense capability. Under the contract, Northrop Grumman will produce the IBCS and provide product engineering and logistics support for the U.S. and select allies through foreign military sales, Virginia Business reported.

Getting more swag: Merrifield-based Custom Ink acquired its second corporate-swag company in three months. The custom printing and retail startup bought Denver-based Printfection, a company that bills itself as a swag management company, with a platform that allows customers create and distribute branded items. This is Custom Ink’s second acquisition in three months. In November Custom Ink acquired New York corporate gift firm Swag.com, a similarly fast-growing company that lists Amazon, Coca-Cola, Facebook, Google, McDonald’s, Netflix, Spotify, Starbucks, TikTok and Walmart among its clients, reported the Washington Business Journal.

A Surefire way to expand reach: Tysons-based Surefire Local, a developer of a marketing intelligence platform for small businesses, said it secured new debt financing from Texas-based Recurring Capital Partners.  The company said it will use the funds to expand the reach of its platform, with the goal of increasing annual recurring revenue by 70 percent in 2022. “We’ll be able to fund continued growth unlike ever before,” said founder and CEO Chris Marentis. Potomac Tech Wire carried the release.

Ed-tech connect: Reston-based Ellucian, a higher education technology solutions provider signed an agreement to acquire CampusLogic, a Chandler, Ariz.-based provider of student financial success solutions.  “Ellucian’s success in accelerating the digital transformation of higher education, paired with CampusLogic’s financial aid SaaS solutions, provides a more connected and interactive experience creating more speed and certainty for students to meet their financial needs,” said Laura Ipsen, CEO of Ellucian. InsideNoVa has more.

Stitching the global fabric: Tysons-based Intelsat and Thales Alenia Space, a joint venture between Paris-based Thales and Rome-based Leonardo, both which are based in the U.S. in Arlington County, signed an agreement to build two software-defined satellites designed to advance Intelsat’s global fabric of software-defined Geosynchronous Equatorial Orbit connectivity as part of its 5G software-defined network. “With the addition of Intelsat 41 and Intelsat 44, in partnership with Thales Alenia Space, Intelsat will blanket the earth with software-defined satellites, progressing the world’s first global 5G software-defined network, designed to unify the global telecoms ecosystem,” said Stephen Spengler, CEO of Intelsat. citybiz has more.

Done deal: Herndon-based ManTech International closed its purchase of Technical and Management Assistance Corp., a Columbia, Md.-based provider of system engineering, software engineering and information technology services in support of intelligence community customers. Kevin Phillips, chairman, CEO and president of ManTech, said the acquisition is aimed at expanding the company’s data analytics capabilities, ExecutiveBiz reported.

Bode is on the case: Lorton-based Bode Technology Group provided DNA testing services that were used in identifying two more victims of the “shopping cart killer,” Greater Alexandria Patch reported. It notes that Fairfax County police identified the remains of two women found last month. The police believe the women were victims of a suspected serial killer dubbed the “shopping cart killer” because he used shopping carts to move and dump murder victims’ bodies in remote areas. The suspect is in jail in Harrisonburg, Va.

Collaboration connection: The Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce, based in Tysons, and the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership at the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service announced their partnership to encourage collaboration among business and government leaders. The partnership plans to host speakers who demonstrate collaboration and compromise in business or government this year. It also plans to provide recognition through leadership awards, according to Virginia Business.

Contract wins by firms in Fairfax County

Cognosante won a five-year $545 million contract from the Department of Veterans Affairs to develop, implement and maintain a medical logistics system. GovConWire

CACI International won a five-year, $514 million contract to modernize outside plant infrastructure and facilities that support data communication networks at 40 Army installations nationwide. GovConWire

SAIC received a $95 million contract from the Defense Logistics Agency to extend the company’s facilities maintenance, repair and operations support to military branches. GovConWire

An Airbus affiliate signed a $50 million contract to develop a power system for the crew module that  Northrop Grumman will build to function as a component of NASA’s Gateway lunar space station. ExecutiveBiz

VTG obtained a $20 million task order from the Naval Sea Systems Command to modernize the Aegis Combat System by provide engineering, technical services and materials required to resolve obsolescence, reliability and maintainability issues for the combat system. ExecutiveGov

Peraton received an $18 million contract from the Air Force to provide sustaining engineering support for test facilities and equipment of aircraft electronic warfare systems. ExecutiveBiz

HawkEye 360 won a $15.5 million contract from the Air Force Research Library to provide radio-frequency analytics research and development, and to help the government test and evaluate its hybrid space-intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance architecture. SpaceNews

Parsons Corporation won a $12.6 million contract from JetBlue Airways to deliver program management services for the development of Terminal 5 at Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport. citybizlist

Featured business events

January 15 — MLK Economic Empowerment Brunch. Join the Fairfax NAACP for a morning focused on Black economic empowerment with inspiring speakers, delicious food and great music. The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority is a sponsor of this event, featuring keynote speaker Richard Fowler, the nationally syndicated radio host of The Richard Fowler Show, a Fox News Channel contributor, and a millennial messaging expert. Click here to register.

January 27 — Cyber + IT Virtual Career Fair. Hosted by the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, more than 50 leading companies in Northern Virginia will be actively hiring for thousands of IT and cybersecurity roles at this virtual event. Participating companies include Amazon, Microsoft, CACI, Leidos, SpaceLink — and many more. 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.