Jan. 20 E-Bird newsletter: NOVA is top global data-center market; ScienceLogic on a hiring spree; ShiftMed and Larabee on startup innovators list

Data center destination: Cushman & Wakefield, a global real estate services firm, designated Northern Virginia as the no. 1 data center market in the world in its 2022 Global Data Center Market Comparison. Silicon Valley and Singapore tied for the no. 2 spot, and Chicago and Atlanta tied at no. 4. Cushman & Wakefield ranks markets based on factors including size, connectivity, cloud availability, tax rates and cost of power. Northern Virginia is twice as big as the second-largest market. “It comes as no surprise that Northern Virginia again finished on top of the overall standings for the third consecutive year. It’s the largest data center market in the world, featuring a strong construction pipeline. It offers excellent connectivity, attractive incentives and low-cost power. Vacancy is exceptionally low and demand is high — operators and tenants alike are interested in expansion. Given those conditions, the area will likely become the world’s first two-gigawatt market over the next two years,” according to the report. WTOP has more.

Logical hiring spree: Reston’s ScienceLogic continues to grow at an enviable clip as it embarks on yet another hiring spree and sets off on a long-term path that could lead to a Wall Street debut, the Washington Business Journal reported. The software company projects 200 new hires companywide in 2022, boosting its headcount by 40 percent. “Our plan is to scale the company to serve what we believe is a massive total addressable market,” said founder and CEO Dave Link. “The option of public markets is a great way to achieve that goal but just one of many options we’re evaluating.”

New innovators on the block: Reston-based Larabee and Tysons-based ShiftMed are among the businesses that the Washington Business Journal and DC Inno spotlighted among the top 10 startups promising businesses they deem to make big moves over the next 12 months. Larabee, a tech platform that guides users through each step of any given process, from baking a cake to riding a bike — opened 2022 with a plan to close a $500,000 seed round by the end of January, the Washington Business Journal reported. ShiftMed’s staffing platform connects hospitals and other health care organizations with clinical workers. It’s ramping up for a national expansion, with plans to enter 50 new markets in the Midwest, Northeast and West this year. The Washington Business Journal has more.

Money movers and shakers: An eye-popping $5 billion in venture capital was raised in the Washington, D.C., area in 2021, with $1 billion raised in Q4 alone, technical.ly/D.C reported. The year saw a huge amount of mega-rounds, with the aforementioned ScienceLogic and Herndon-based Hawkeye 360 involved in the top three money moves of the year. HawkEye 360 also ranked at no. 2 in the top 10 companies in the DMV with the top 10 deals of Q4, along with Herndon-based Expel, which ranked at no. 3; and Tysons-based ShiftMed at no. 6.

Corporate citizenship: Microsoft, which has a major presence in Reston and is creating a software R&D center there as well, announced a $1 million donation to the Smithsonian Latino Center to support the future National Museum of the American Latino and the development of the Molina Family Latino Gallery. The National Museum of the American Latino is the Smithsonian’s first museum space dedicated to celebrating the U.S. Hispanic and Latinx community experience. While the larger museum is being built, Microsoft’s contributions will support development of the Molina Family Latino Gallery in the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. MarketScreener picked up the release. In other related news, WTOP provided an update on the continuing effort for building the future National Museum of the American Latino on the National Mall.

First Up: Northern Virginia Community College is creating a new workforce training and mentorship program designed to support first-generation students thanks to funding from Illinois-based Strada Education Network. Strada awarded NOVA $240,000, the school announced Tuesday. NOVA’s new 15-week Career Up program is designed to boost career services for students at the college who are first in their family to attend. With the education nonprofit’s grant, NOVA will provide program students with supplies, scholarships, webinars and training materials, according to the Washington Business Journal.

Unique mission: Fairfax-based George Mason University, Virginia’s largest public research university, turns 50 this year and is celebrating an impressive array of stats it has racked up over the half-century, such as: an enrollment of 39,000 students hailing from 130 countries; more than $200 million in George Mason-sponsored research in 2020; a no. 9 ranking among public institutions for innovation in U.S. News & World Report’s 2022 rankings of best colleges; the first university in the nation to offer doctoral programs in conflict resolution, information technology, bioinformatics and computational social science; and no. 1 in Virginia for ethnic diversity. In a WTOP story about Mason, Gregory Washington, the university’s first Black president, cited a unique mission for the institution. “There aren’t many universities who are structured to engage the masses. And I believe that getting the message out of the impact that we have been having, and the impact that we hope to have in the future, it’s not just critical for our institution, but in my opinion is actually critical for the region.”

Med-tech on your phone: Merrifield-based eKare is bringing medical technology to smartphones around the world. The company exports its wound-management software with help from the Virginia Economic Development Partnership International Division, according to Virginia Economic Review (pages 73-75). “Fundamentally, we wanted to advance the wound imaging and diagnostics by bringing cutting-edge technology to the family smartphone,” said Patrick Cheng, the company’s co-founder and CEO.

Educational benefits: Tysons-based Hilton Worldwide Holdings will begin offering continuing-education benefits to thousands of hotel employees this spring in an effort to attract talent as the hotel industry continues to face major staffing shortages, the Washington Business Journal reported. The hotel company will offer the benefit in partnership with Guild Education and will include everything from high school completion, English language classes, professional certifications in areas such as culinary, business and technology as well as college degrees.

Great comfort: Tysons-based MicroStrategy Chairman and CEO Michael Saylor was interviewed on Bloomberg Technology TV Studio 1.0 about his company’s rise and fall during the dot-com era, the decision to put bitcoin on MicroStrategy’s balance sheet, future plans to buy more bitcoin, and expectations from pending regulation. When asked about if he’s nervous that the company’s huge investment  in bitcoin might be another “bubble ready to burst,” Saylor replied: “No, actually, it gives me great comfort. I don’t really think we could do anything better to position our company in an inflationary environment than to convert our balance sheet to bitcoin because we basically built a balance sheet on a non-sovereign store of value that’s not a currency derivative… You know, in my opinion, it saved the company from a not very pleasant fate. I’m totally pleased with where we are today.”

Sailing into the century: Reston-based SailPlan, the maritime-cleantech company that helps ports and ship operators reduce emissions and improve air quality, announced that the United States Coast Guard (USCG) has partnered with it to monitor marine Aids to Navigation (ATONS) in the Chesapeake Bay. By utilizing SailPlan’s technology, the USCG can easily monitor real-time high-resolution weather, air quality, and other data affecting navigation and make it available to mariners while reducing the cost of ATON maintenance to the USCG. “ATONs present a compelling opportunity to improve maritime transportation efficiency and resiliency by providing them with a digital presence. This contract with the USCG brings legacy marine infrastructure into the 21st century,” said Jacob Ruytenbeek, founder and CEO of SailPlan. Digital Journal has more.

Mayan site mission: Satellite connectivity provided by Tysons-based Iridium Communications supported the U.S. Army Reserve’s recently reactivated Monuments Officers program in partnership with the Virginia Museum of Natural History. The Monuments Officers were initially founded during World War II to protect historic monuments and other cultural treasures. With a mission to protect and preserve cultural property and heritage sites, the museum’s Cultural Heritage Monitoring Lab supported the deployment of an archaeological team of Monuments Officers, coordinated at the request of U.S. Southern Command and the Honduran government, to remote parts of Honduras. Laying the groundwork for future missions in the region, Iridium technology supported the team of Monument Officer archaeologists as they investigated a series of remote Mayan sites and other cultural properties that may have been impacted by 2020 Hurricanes Iota and Eta, according to a release picked up by InsideNoVa.

Global footprint expansion: Corbett Technology Solutions, a Chantilly-based systems integrator focused on fire, security, critical communications, collaboration, IT and audiovisual tools, acquired New York-based Structure Works, which designs and installs card access, CCTV and alarm systems. The move gives CTSI new offices in several international markets, including Canada, India, the U.K. and Brazil. “We now expand our capabilities internationally with the ability to support accounts throughout their global footprint,” said CEO Joe Oliveri. Corbett has made seven acquisitions since partnering with Wind Point Partners in mid-2020. Potomac Tech Wire picked up the release.

New chair: Fred Thompson, chief administrative officer and a business partner at Reston-based Thompson Hospitality was elected the 2022 chair of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce. “Fred has been a vital member of the Chamber’s board of directors and executive committee for several years and is a valued leader in the business community and the Northern Virginia region,” Virginia Chamber President and CEO Barry DuVal said. Virginia Business has more.

Finding another way forward: Bond’s Escape Room claims to be the largest on the East Coast, with 9,000 square feet in the City of Fairfax and 4,000 square feet in the Clarendon neighborhood of Arlington County. Amid the pandemic and an initial slowdown in escape room business, founder Egor Bond launched a 3D printing company out of his Fairfax space. It started with a single printer — they now have 14. With an initial investment of $65,000, Bond’s 3D studio was off and running, producing everything from lifelike replicas of a consumer’s favorite canine to a measuring cup for the blind. “Whatever you imagine in your head, this is something that can become physical,” Bond said. While it’s not there yet, Bond expects, at some point, for 3D printing to overtake escape rooms as his main source of revenue. In the meantime, he continues to look for ways to grow the entertainment end of the business, according to the Washington Business Journal.

Contract wins by firms in Fairfax County

Carahsoft Technology received a five-year, $100 million contract from the Department of Health and Human Services for Salesforce licenses to streamline workflows and enhance efficiency. GovConWire

Parsons won a $100 million contract from the Department of Homeland Security to deliver COVID-19 test kits to Immigration and Customs Enforcement facilities. GovConWire

Peraton received a four-year, $81 million contract to provide background investigation services for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. GovConWire

Booz Allen Hamilton won a $74.7 million contract from the Navy to support the Program Executive Office Unmanned and Small Combatants mission for the acquisition and maintenance of the mission capabilities of the littoral combat ship-class. Virginia Business

Leidos obtained a five-year, $11.8 million contract to help the Air Force Research Laboratory develop technologies for high-power electromagnetic weapons systems. ExecutiveBiz

Featured business events

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.