May 5 E-Bird newsletter: Amazon investing $55M for affordable housing in Tysons; Maximus moves HQ to Tysons

Rendering courtesy of KGD Architecture. 

Amazon-ian housing investment: Amazon is contributing $55 million to speed up the construction of more than 500 new affordable homes in Tysons at the Dominion Square West development, the Washington Business Journal reported. The e-commerce giant is contributing the funding to the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing through its Housing Equity Fund for a pair of 20-story apartment buildings planned for Spring Hill Road near the Beltway and the Spring Hill Metro station, resulting in what’s slated to be Tysons’ biggest affordable residential development. “Building affordable housing — especially that which has supportive programs and services — is an investment in our local economy and in the future success of our community,” said Jeff McKay, chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

New digs: Government services company Maximus moved its corporate headquarters from Reston to Tysons, the Washington Business Journal reported. The $4.5 billion federal contractor that specializes in the administration of government programs like Medicaid, Medicare, federal student loans and veterans services said Tuesday it formally made the move to Lerner Enterprises’ 1600 Tysons Blvd. “Our new headquarters fulfills the vision of a home base where collaboration and innovation can flourish,” said Maximus’ President and CEO Bruce Caswell.

Diversity Company Hall of Fame: Tysons-based Hilton has been inducted into DiversityInc’s Hall of Fame for the Top Companies for Diversity. This honor follows Hilton placing #1 on the Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021. It’s Hilton’s eighth consecutive year on this list that recognizes the nation’s top companies that hire, retain and promote women, minorities, people with disabilities, LGBTQ+ and veterans. In addition, Hilton was recognized as a Top Company on eleven specialty lists, including: ESG (#1), Employee Resource Groups (#1), Philanthropy (#6), Native American and Pacific Islander Executives (#6), Executive Diversity Councils (#7), People with Disabilities (#8), Mentoring (#9), Latino Executives (#10), Veterans (#10), Supplier Diversity (#13), and Sponsorship (#15). Hospitality Net has more. In addition, two Fairfax County-based companies made the “2022 Top Companies for Diversity” list: Falls Church area-based Northrop Grumman and Tysons-based Capital One. DiversityInc.’s “2022 Noteworthy Companies” list includes: Reston-based Leidos and Tysons-based Guidehouse.

Prediction partnership: Tysons-based Somatus, a kidney care company, acquired strategic assets from San Mateo, Calif.-based Lumiata, a healthcare-specific AI platform, Healthcare Innovation reported. Leveraging Lumiata’s AI and predictive capabilities, Somatus said it would be able to surface opportunities to reduce costs, and enable better care by providing reliable predictions for patient outcomes while also helping to identify and eliminate healthcare disparities. Lumiata is able to make predictions down to the individual member level while protecting members’ privacy, a key factor in Somatus’ acquisition decision, according to the article.

Anticipated contract: Falls Church area-based Northrop Grumman is anticipating a $2 billion contract from Colorado and Washington, D.C.-based United Launch Alliance for solid rocket boosters, Northrop Grumman’s president and CEO Kathy Warden said April 28, SpaceNews reported. The contract is expected in the second quarter of 2022, Warden said during a first-quarter earnings call. The large order for solid rockets comes on the heels of ULA winning one of three contracts to launch Amazon’s Project Kuiper broadband constellation.

Seed funding: Tysons-based Spectrohm, a startup developing technology for inspecting mail and packages, announced that it has raised $2.0 million in seed funding. The round was led by HCVC, with participation from Good Growth Capital, RavenTek, J. Hunt Holdings, Dragon Ventures and Klein Venture Partners. “Until now, inspecting items for potential threats has been human-centric and labor intensive, and plagued by ‘false alarms’ – all of which creates enormous costs and bottlenecks and makes comprehensive security inspection at scale and high volumes practically impossible,” said Aymerik Renard, general partner at HCVC. “Spectrohm overcomes those challenges with disruptive imaging and material analysis technology that can enable applications such as 100 percent inspection of international mail and packages for concealed threats and narcotics.” AviationPros has more.

Dark web analytics technology: Reston-based CACI International has improved its cloud-based dark web analytics technology by partnering with several crypto analytics companies to provide analysts with additional access to cryptocurrency data and streamline investigations of crypto transactions, according to ExecutiveBiz. The DarkBlue Intelligence Suite is an unclassified, software-as-a-service data and analytics technology developed by Bluestone Analytics that CACI acquired in 2021. The CACI technology works by providing defense, intelligence and law enforcement customers with cryptocurrency data to enable them to track the movement of cryptocurrency funds and identify cybercriminals and other threat actors that use cryptocurrency and the dark web to perform illegal transactions.

Broadening managed service offerings: Herndon-based Rimstorm, a developer of cybersecurity tools for government contractors, acquired Tysons-based Elevative Networks, a provider of managed IT and security services in the Mid-Atlantic region. Rimstorm said the acquisition broadens its managed services offerings, allowing it to offer clients the ability to manage their complete technology stack and user experience from infrastructure to cloud and cybersecurity. Founded in 2005, Elevative provides comprehensive IT services. Potomac Tech Wire carried the release.

Digital transformation: Reston-based Hubble Technology, a developer of a technology management platform used for cybersecurity, announced that it has raised $9 million in seed funding. The round was led by Paladin Capital Group with participation from Accel, CrowdStrike’s Falcon Fund and various cyber security executives. Hubble’s platform gives its customers visibility of their entire digital presence. “Ineffective asset visibility leaves organizations exposed to unmeasurable cyber and operational risks,” said Tom Parker, the founder of Hubble Technology. “A key requirement for any effective digital transformation is the ability to understand your existing technology stack and security controls.” SecurityWeek has more.

Highlighting small businesses: Several Fairfax County small businesses were among those shared by Sen. Tim Kaine as success stories from across the state in recognition of National Small Business Week, which began on May 1. Kaine announced the initiative last month, encouraging Virginians to nominate small businesses for recognition. According to the SBA, small businesses have been responsible for two of every three jobs added to the U.S. economy over the past 25 years. Check out FFXNow to see some of the Fairfax County-based small businesses highlighted by Kaine.

Special ops acquisition: Tysons-based Avantus Federal, a cybersecurity and space technology company backed by NewSpring Holding, acquired North Carolina-based Far Ridgeline Engagements, a provider of technology to national security agencies. Far Ridgeline primarily supports special operations programs. “For almost 15 years, Far Ridgeline Engagements has earned eminence by maintaining a strong focus on providing solutions to our nation’s special operations and intelligence missions,” said Andy Maner, CEI of Avantus. Washington Technology has more.

Smart parking: Tysons-based Sheeva.AI, an in-car payments and connected vehicle solutions provider, is collaborating on a pilot project with Chicago-based Millennium Parking Garages and Civic Infrastructure Collaborative. The pilot is part of the Millennium Gateway Innovation Lab, a cross-sector effort to develop tech-enabled solutions for smart infrastructure management, and integrate parking more fully into urban transportation systems, Digital Journal reported.

Largest grant cycle in history: The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia awarded more than $600,000 in grants to local nonprofit organizations in the region, making it the largest discretionary grant cycle in its history, InsideNoVa reported. Each year, The Community Foundation conducts various grant cycles to address social issues in the region. This year’s funds were awarded to 50 organizations that provide services for education, child and youth development, mental health services, military personnel and their families, the environment and those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Click here to see the complete list of 2021 grant recipients.

Team up with safe esports platform: Herndon-based Stride, a developer of an online and blended learning program, said it will team with esports and gaming education platform LeagueSpot and esports player development program Cloud9 Training Grounds to deliver free esports camps and events for students across the U.S. this summer. The program, for students ages 8-18, aims to provide a safe esports platform that transitions from classroom to competition to open play. Potomac Tech Wire carried the release.

Pretzel pivot: Reston-based Nordic-Knot, a small pretzel bakery, finished second place in Barclays Small Business Big Win promotion, earning $40,000 in cash. Melissa Romano, who co-owns Nordic-Knot with Eric Lundberg, described how the pandemic forced the Nordic-Knot to rethink its business model in the essay that she had submitted to the competition, Reston Patch reported. During the pandemic, Romano and Lundberg pivoted their business to provide take-home packs of pretzels for retail customers. They also began packaging and selling its bulk flour and yeast to its customers. This pushed them more toward becoming a direct to customer retail outlet. With the $40,000 boost, Nordic-Knot will continue to grow its retail component, including the return of the bakery’s vending cart this summer at the Reston Farmers Market on Saturdays at the Lake Anne Village Center.

Contract wins by firms in Fairfax County

Serco received a five-year, $39.8 million contract from the U.S. Navy Maritime Surveillance Systems Program Office to perform logistics aid and product support facility maintenance for ship and shore vessels. ExecutiveGov

Fairfax County EDA Hosted and Sponsored Events

May 2 to June 16 — Smart City Challenge. Fairfax County Government, Refraction, the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia, Virginia Tech, and others will host the Smart City Challenge — an innovation competition for innovative solutions to the most pressing issues facing regions in transportation, health care, housing, infrastructure, public safety, and more. All entrepreneurs and students are welcome to join to win prizes, including cash, pilot opportunities (with Fairfax County, Dominion Energy, and Virginia Innovation Partnership), participation in Smart City Works and Dominion accelerator programs, membership at Refraction’s innovation hub, and business coaching. Click here to register.

May 10 — NAIOP Northern Virginia Bus Tour, Spring 2022. The tour will feature commercial real estate properties in the Northern Virginia region. Click here to register.

May 11 — 2022 NVTC Impact AI. Presented by the Northern Virginia Technology Council, the 2022 NVTC Impact AI Summit will explore how Artificial Intelligence (AI) is changing the world in which we live and work. Learn how businesses and government agencies are successfully deploying AI to accelerate innovation, gain competitive advantages and improve operational efficiencies. Join the conversation with tech innovators, policy makers and thought leaders and discover how AI-driven strategies have impacted the National Capital Region. 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.