Jan. 27 E-Bird newsletter: New York Times focuses on Capital One Center, evolution of Tysons; IRS using ID.me technology

Touting Tysons: Suburban headquarters are being redesigned to add more amenities that will integrate better with their communities and attract the skilled workers, notes the New York Times. The story focuses on Capital One Center, which banking giant Capital One opened at its headquarters campus in the evolving Tysons with a performing arts hall, a Wegmans supermarket, a 300-room hotel and a rooftop park, all for corporate and public use. And a 30-story office building is going up next door that will include ground-floor retail and restaurant space. “As a company, we think, ‘What can we offer to our associates or to potential associates?’” said Jonathan Griffith, Capital One’s managing director. “We wanted vibrant mixed-use amenities that are public-facing to bring in that energy that we all kind of thrive off of.” The story also notes that Capital One coordinated the development with Fairfax County in line with the vision of a more walkable, urban, transit-oriented destination that the Board of Supervisors adopted for Tysons in 2010.

May I see your (digital) ID? The Internal Revenue Service is turning to Tysons-based ID.me to authenticate users to the site, Fast Company reported. The conversion to ID.me’s system marks the first time the IRS will rely on personal biometric data to verify accounts. But it’s not the first federal agency to use it. ID.me says 10 federal agencies, including the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Social Security Administration, and 30 state governments use its system. WTOP reports that ID.me is hiring an additional 750 video-chat agents to meet increased user volume for its digital identification services. That’s on top of more than 1,000 new hires it announced it would fill by the end of last year, quadrupling its workforce.

Skin in the AI game: McLean-based Derm to Door ranked in the top 10 in a Technical.ly/DC list of “20 DC tech companies to watch in 2022.” Derm to Door is an AI-based app that virtually diagnoses skin issues with what it says is 98 percent accuracy, while allowing for appointment scheduling. Currently bootstrapped, the startup also sells a range of skin-care products. It plans to add telehealth services early this year and is in the midst of a seed funding round to accelerate growth.

But wait, there’s more: Honorable mentions on that Technical.ly/DC list included Tysons-based RegScale, a compliance automation firm that landed a $1.5 million early funding round from Virginia Innovation Partnership Corporation and New Dominion Angels; and Falls Church-area based United Space Structures, which aims to establish exploration and civilization on the moon using automation, AI, robotics and data technology. To make the list, companies had to have the following criteria: founded in 2019 or later; obtained the majority of their revenue from selling a project; and haven’t made any large exit event, according to Technical.ly.

Monitoring air quality: Boston Properties, the commercial real estate firm that owns Reston Town Center, the Virginia 95 Business Park in Springfield and the Kingstowne Towne Center in the Franconia area of the county, selected Tysons-based Senseware as its partner in indoor air quality monitoring for the company’s nationwide portfolio. “As a leader in sustainable and healthy property development and operations, we are pleased to be adding real-time indoor air monitoring to our portfolio,” Doug Linde, president of Boston-based Boston Properties, said. The new partnership formalizes a long-term association between Senseware and Boston Properties, according to Commercial Observer.

Soaring with new investors: Falls Church area-based Electra.aero, which develops hybrid-electric ultra-short takeoff and landing aircraft, said it landed a new Series A investment from Lockheed Martin Ventures, the venture capital arm of Bethesda-based Lockheed Martin. The company said it will use the proceeds to begin flight testing a full-scale technology demonstrator aircraft later this year. Electra’s hybrid-electric, ultra-short takeoff and landing aircraft can operate from spaces as small as 300-by-100 feet using its distributed electric propulsion and blown lift technology. A small turbine-powered generator also recharges the batteries mid-flight, eliminating the need for new ground charging infrastructure. Potomac Tech Wire picked up the release.

Build it in Springfield and nursing students will come: Northern Virginia Community College is building a solution to the region’s nursing shortage, the Washington Business Journal reported. NOVA’s medical education campus in Springfield is undergoing a $25 million expansion to keep up with that regional demand for nurses through a focus on the construction of a new college buildings and a new health sciences degree. “Our nursing program is really in high demand,” said Shelly Powers, provost of NOVA’s medical education campus. “It’s very difficult when you have to turn away qualified, top-notch students because of the caps within our programs. This expansion will allow us to open the door further and admit students, which, in previous years, we didn’t have the capacity to accommodate.”

Innovation cluster expansion: Safetech Innovations, a Romanian cybersecurity company will expand the company’s business by setting up two new subsidiaries in Reston and in London to promote and sell Safetech Innovations solutions and services in the two countries, according to Energy Industry Review. “[We] will open a branch office in Reston, Virginia, where there is an innovation cluster comprising 8,700 technology companies and over 530 cybersecurity companies. We want to develop an extensive distribution network in this market by partnering with other cybersecurity companies, local SMEs, and large integrators,” said Victor Gansac, CEO of Safetech Innovations.

Favorable tech connection: Federal Advisory Partners, an Arlington County-based management consulting firm backed by Sagewind Capital, acquired Tysons-based Favor TechConsulting, a government-technology consulting firm. Both firms provide IT, digital and technology consulting services to public-sector clients. “This new partnership enables us to aggressively pursue our long-term growth strategy, explore market expansion through potential acquisitions, and enhance our offerings for advanced, full-cycle digital services,” said Benjamin Lin, president of Favor TechConsulting. Potomac Tech Wire picked up the release.

Satellite launch: Two Northrop Grumman Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program (GSSAP) satellites were successfully launched into orbit on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station as part of a U.S. Space Force mission. In addition to manufacturing and delivering both GSSAP payloads, Falls Church area-based Northrop Grumman provided the sole strap-on solid rocket booster adding propulsion to the rocket launch, as well as essential aeronautical components in support of the launch, SpaceRef reported.

Affordable housing in Tysons: Fairfax County Planning Commission members approved a final development plan advanced by the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing, to build 175 affordable-housing units on a 2-acre site in Tysons. The Dominion Square West residential development will be located on the north side of Spring Hill Road west of Leesburg Pike. APAH will construct a 175,000-square-foot, nine-story residential building with up to 5,000 square feet of retail space above a three-level parking garage, InsideNoVa reported.

Last meal at J.R.’s: J.R.’s Stockyards Inn, a banquet facility in Tysons, has served up its last meal. The venue closed earlier this year, and the property at 8130-8134 Watson Street sold Dec. 28 for $15.5 million, according to Fairfax County land records. The buyer, AM Tysons, appears to be an affiliate of Macerich, the owner of neighboring Tysons Corner Center, the Washington Business Journal reports. The building will be torn down to make way for new development, according to a representative for the restaurant, which operated at that location for nearly 50 years.

Raves for the Wren: The Wren, a Japan-inspired restaurant in the new Watermark Hotel at the Capital One Center in Tysons, got a rave review from Washington Post food critic Tom Sietsema. “Wren, which translates to ‘love’ in Japanese and features Yo Matsuzaki in its kitchen, turns out to be an apt name for a venue that evokes a songbird and already soars above nearby restaurants,” Sietsema wrote.

STEM wear: Today, about 25 percent of computer scientists and 15 percent of engineers are women, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. MSNBC reported that Jaya Iyer, a Vienna mom, couldn’t find STEM-themed clothing for girls, so she created her own. For years, Iyer said she could only find space-themed clothing for her daughter in the boys’ section of stores. She unveiled her Chantilly-based gender-neutral clothing and accessories line called Svaha USA to the world in 2015. “I thought, ‘I have to do something about this,’” Iyer explained. Her company has grown to six full-time employees.

Sold…and sold again: Fairfax County had the second-most home sales across the Mid-Atlantic region in 2021, InsideNoVa reported. With 19,407 transactions during the calendar year, Fairfax County ran slightly behind Philadelphia (19,904), according to data reported Dec. 11 based on listing data from Bright MLS. Among the more than 70 localities across the Mid-Atlantic tracked by Bright MLS, nine tallied more than 10,000 home sales during the past year.

Supporting Latino veterans: Raul ‘Danny’ Vargas, founder and CEO of Leesburg-based VARCom Solutions, launched the American Latino Veterans Association, a nonprofit to support Latino U.S. military. Vargas helped lead an effort to create the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Latino, culminating in congressional approval in late 2020. Vargas told the Washington Business Journal that the new nonprofit is focused on four main pillars: “One is workforce development. Second would be entrepreneurship and business development. No. 3 is making sure that we tell the stories of those Latino contributions throughout the history of our military. And then, finally, making sure that they have information on resources that they need.”

Contract wins by firms in Fairfax County

Leidos won a five-year, $104.5 million contract to modernize the Army’s gunnery training simulation systems. GovConWire

ManTech secured a five-year, $88 million contract from the Navy to administer test and evaluation support to weapons and combat systems. ExecutiveGov

General Dynamics Information Technology received a $47.8 million contract to develop and sustain an enterprise system that will centralize management of the Navy’s legacy human resources data warehouses. GovConWire

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.