E-Bird Archive

E-Bird news items since July 2015

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Funding in the fast lane: Urgent.ly, a Tysons Corner-based developer of a mobile platform that connects users with nearby roadside-assistance providers, announced it raised $21 million in its second round of funding with fresh investments from automotive brands including BMW i Ventures; InMotion Ventures, which is Jaguar Land Rover's venture capital fund; and Porsche Ventures. Urgent.ly wants to ramp up its technology to meet the demands of electric cars and other new kinds of vehicles.. Separately, as noted in a releasepicked up by Potomac Tech Wire, BMW Group will work with the company to provide roadside assistance and extended mobility services to owners of all four of its U.S. brands including MINI and Rolls-Royce.

Munchies by machine: Robots are roaming George Mason University in Fairfax, delivering food and drink from Starbucks, Dunkin', Blaze Pizza and a campus grocery. The 25 robots are the first college fleet deployed by a partnership between Starship Technologies of San Francisco and Sodexo, a food and facilities management company. The six-wheeled robots stand 2 feet tall, can tote up to 20 pounds (or three pizzas, salads and drinks) and are summoned by app. The $1.99 delivery fee is integrated into the campus meal plan. With Starship and Sodexo planning to expand to more colleges soon, Megan Rose Dickey of Techcrunch took this story national.

Kudos for the Commonwealth: Virginia retained its place atop the eight-state Atlantic region in Site Selection Magazine's 2019 ranking of Best States for Workforce Development. Site Selection uses criteria from Forbes, U.S. News & World Report and CNBC as well as career readiness and state legislative data in compiling its rankings.

Boro-ing in: Engineering, science and technology firm Alion signed on to lease space in the Boro Tower, a 20-story office building opening soon in Tysons Corner. According to WTOP's Jeff Clabaugh, Alion's new headquarters will move its headquarters from 1750 Tysons Boulevard, occupying 14,000 square feet in the new tower. Other tenants include KPMGTEGNA, and law firms Hogan Lovells and Womble Bond Dickinson. Alion has 2,600 employees worldwide.

Connecting Europe: EdgeConneX, a Herndon-based developer of data centers and provider of related services, bought its ninth data center in Europe to meet customer demand. The company said it plans to refurbish the carrier-neutral facility and have it ready for customer deployment by mid-year. A release picked up by citybizlist notes that the Munich site will complement EdgeConneX's recently announced data-center acquisition in Warsaw, Poland.

Defense initiative: VT Group, a defense technology services company headquartered in Chantilly, acquired National Technology Associates, an Arlington firm focused on maintenance and sustainment services for manned and unmanned aircraft. Ross Wilkers of Washington Technology reports that NTA will become part of VT Group's strategy to foster modernization and sustainment services in the areas of command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.

Enlightened deal: Enlightenment Capital, a Chevy Chase, Md.-based investment firm, acquired a majority stake in Chantilly-based System High, a provider of counterintelligence and cybersecurity services and proactive security engineering. Enlightenment Capital is focused on the aerospace, defense and government sectors. Robert J. Terry has more for the Washington Business Journal.

Innovation presentation: The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority's biometric scanning system designed to expedite the boarding process, veriScan, is a finalist in the Speculative Design category of the Interactive Innovation Awards to be awarded at the SXSW festival March 9 in Austin. The  awards will be presented by KPMG. Speculative Design honors the best new work to re-think products and systems. Ari Roth has more at SXSW.com.

Twist of fate: The Washington Business Journal's Katishi Maake profiles Capitol Presence, a Tysons Corner-based agile development and solutions agency started by a husband-and-wife team that gave up federal careers after the uncertainty created by the 2013 shutdown. Capitol Presence picked up its first federal contract in August with the Administrative Office of the United States Courts. But with that contract running out of funds tomorrow, the couple is trimming salaries and shifting some of their 11 employees to part time.

Investing in a vision: Lavrock Ventures, a Tysons Corner-based venture capital firm that invests in early-stage enterprise software, data and cybersecurity companies, is leading a  $3.2 million seed round for Pittsburgh-based geospatial analytics startup Allvision. The company uses its platform to aggregate multiple sources of 3D data from sensors and cameras to generate actionable insights. Potomac Tech Wire picked up a release.