Nov. 18 E-Bird newsletter: Vehicles ‘fly’ above Tysons, HawkEye 360 raises $145m, Northrop donates $12.5m to VT innovation campus

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s going to be a food truck: Commuters driving down Route 123 in Tysons on Tuesday morning might have caught an unusual sight: a double-decker bus emblazoned with a Union Jack ascending into the air via a massive crane. The bus was one of three vehicles installed in The Perch, the sky park that opened at Capital One Center in August. The vehicles will be repurposed as food trucks as part of The Perch’s second phase, which will feature an 18-hole “Perch Putt” mini golf course as well as the food trucks. A post on the mixed-use development’s Instagram page also contains pictures and video footage captured by NBC4 of the crane lifting a 1947 bus and an Airstream trailer 11 stories in the air to the park on top of Capital One Hall.  Tysons Reporter has more.

Quantum leap: Northrop Grumman, the Falls Church area-based global aerospace and defense giant, will donate $12.5 million to Virginia Tech to support a new quantum research center at its new Alexandria Innovation Campus. The Blacksburg-based university will invest another $15.8 million to create the Center of Quantum Architecture and Software Development at the campus, seizing on the pursuit of quantum technology that has the potential to revolutionize information technology and research across multiple industrial sectors, the Washington Business Journal reported.

Sky-high funding: Herndon-based Hawkeye 360 raised $145 million in a Series D investment round led by Insight Partners and Seraphim Space Investment Trust. With the funding, HawkEye 360, a radio frequency (RF) data reconnaissance firm, will expand its satellite constellation and ground infrastructure, while enhancing services to customers focused on humanitarian, environmental, commercial and national security missions. With the latest windfall, Hawkeye 360 has raised $302 million, Space News reported. See an interview with Serafini on the company’s plans for allocating the funding in the Washington Business Journal.

Amazonian jobs update: Amazon has hired more than 3,500 employees for the second headquarters it is building in Arlington County, and 2,500 more corporate roles are now open, company executives said Wednesday on a tour that also featured Gov. Ralph Northam. That employee tally jumped by at least 500 workers from the previous HQ2 hiring update Amazon provided in September. “We’ve been really impressed with the talent pool here. It’s one of the reasons why we chose this area,” said Brian Huseman, Amazon’s vice president of public policy. “We’ve seen a lot of interest and we’re just making some really terrific hires.” Find out more and see photos of the construction progress in the Washington Business Journal.

Hiring spree: In another tech talent burst in Northern Virginia, defense tech company Raytheon Intelligence and Space is hiring for 400 positions for local technologists. Raytheon’s intelligence and space arm, which specializes in warfighter innovation, is hiring for Virginia technologists as it plans to double down on its presence in the area. The company has an office in Dulles, with positions available at locations including Chantilly, Falls Church, Herndon, Springfield and Arlington, technical.ly/DC reported.

Tysons leads the pack: Tysons is leading suburban growth in the Washington area, Axios Washington D.C. reported. Tysons is growing in almost every area, from population to office space to hotel rooms. While the area’s development boom started before the pandemic, the ability to work from home and the desire for more space have only helped areas such as Tysons. The area is the second-largest employment center in the DMV, and has four Fortune 500 companies, FCEDA Executive Vice President Alex Iams told Axios. Almost 60 percent of Tysons population is between 18 and 54, and the median age is 36, three years younger than the rest of Fairfax County. Iams attributed Tysons’ population growth among younger groups in part to the increase in high-rise multi-family communities with ample amenities and easy access to Metro.

And more on Tysons bucking trends: Tysons boasts a corporate presence that far exceeds its size, observes the Commercial Observer. Home to companies from Capital One and Booz Allen Hamilton to Freddie Mac, it boasts a slew of impressive office buildings and complexes. In the late innings of the COVID-19 pandemic, demand for office space in Tysons appears to be bucking some trends, according to local developers and brokers who talked with the Observer. In a market environment characterized by lease renewals, Tysons saw the only new lease in Northern Virginia over 50,000 square feet during the second quarter of 2021, according to CBRE’s second quarter research. Gross leasing activity for the Northern Virginia market totaled 2.1 million square feet in the three months through June, up 62 percent over the prior quarter, CBRE said.

Scratching the surface for space data: Spire Global is based in the U.S. in San Francisco and has its federal offices in Tysons. CEO Peter Platzer expects commercial and government demand for space data and analytics to surge in the coming years, offering enormous growth potential for the firm, which began trading shares publicly in August, Space News reported. Spire currently provides space data, analytics and space services to 225 annual recurring revenue, or subscription, customers “out of an estimated potential target pool of over 200,000 customers,” Platzer said during an earnings call. “We believe we have barely scratched the surface of this estimated $90 billion-a-year market opportunity.”

Innovation drivers: The Northern Virginia Technology Council unveiled its 2021 NVTC Tech 100, a list of local companies, executives and other leaders who are “driving tech innovation, leading economic growth and making a positive impact in the region.” Winners were picked from 130 nominations across three award categories: company, executive and next-gen leader. A panel of independent judges made the final call. The final list includes 64 tech companies, 33 executives and three emerging leaders. Winners will be honored at a December 8 event in Tysons. Honorees are noted on the release picked up by Potomac Tech Wire.

Military spouse initiative: Vienna-based Navy Federal Credit Union, Tysons-based PenFed Credit Union and San Antonio-based USAA are joining together to help find solutions for portable and flexible career opportunities for military spouses. The three financial services companies – all founded to serve the military community – have committed $1 million to Blue Star Families to conduct research over the next three years that builds upon previous research and helps identify root causes of military spouse unemployment and underemployment. The research phase of the initiative will kick off in January 2022 and continue through 2024, Markets Insider reported.

Digital defense: Rick Wagner, president of Microsoft Federal, was interviewed by ExecutiveBiz about Microsoft’s investments into cybersecurity and the FastTrack program to improve national security efforts and other areas of IT modernization for cloud infrastructures. Among topics discussed was Microsoft’s recently released Digital Defense Report. “I think the biggest takeaway for me on this was the focus on the United States. Nearly 50 percent of all nation-state attacks are directed at the U.S, and half of those are made directly against government agencies. But if you think about that data, that means half of them are focused on defense contractors and the other on commercial entities.” We are proud to note that Wagner also is a member of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority Commission.

Trusting investment: The Virginia Innovation Partnership Corp., formerly known as the Center for Innovative Technology, invested an undisclosed amount in Tysons-based OneDigitalTrust, the developer of a platform designed to help, financial institutions and wealth management advisors integrate estate planning into their offerings. OneDigitalTrust said it will use the proceeds to bolster the capabilities of its platform, as well as expand its business development, marketing and customer capture programs. Potomac Tech Wire carried the release.

BAE’s Bohemian rhapsody: BAE Systems agreed to purchase Bohemia Interactive Simulations, a Florida-based software developer specializing in military training simulators. Through the deal, the Falls Church-area defense contractor — a subsidiary of British company BAE Systems PLC — will gain Bohemia Interactive Simulation’s software and engineering expertise. The subsidiary and parent companies already count a lot of work in military simulation systems, the Washington Business Journal reported.

Getting some “Custom” swag: Merrifield-based Custom Ink, which produces custom apparel and accessories for companies, groups, and organizations, acquired New York City-based Swag.com, an innovative platform for corporate swag and the emerging “gifting-as-a-service” category. The combination will position Custom Ink for continued growth and success in that expanding $100+ billion market, citybiz reported.

Care closer to home: Merrifield-based Inova Health System is adding a Critical Illness Recovery Hospital (CIRH), also known as a long-term acute care facility, at Inova Mount Vernon Hospital in Alexandria. The service is for patients who require an extended stay with specialized clinical attention and support but no longer need to be in an intensive care unit. “The absence of this type of care in our region has previously required patients to be transferred to facilities in Charlottesville, Richmond, or D.C. — far away from their families,” Inova President and CEO Dr. J. Stephen Jones said. “With the addition of the CIRH at IMVH, all five Inova hospitals will be able to confidently transition patients to an Inova facility closer to home for this expert care.” Virginia Business has more.

Bonus state initiative: Virginia employers may be able to get reimbursed for $500 holiday bonuses, Reston Now reported. The Return to Earn initiative was launched in June of this year in an effort to support small businesses and organizations find and retain the talent they need while also helping unemployed Virginian’s transition back into the workforce. Click here to view the eligibility requirements and to access an online application.

We’ll drink to that: Three-year-old Settle Down Easy Brewing Co., in Falls Church, will open a second location in Oakton. It will be the first craft brewery in Oakton when it opens next spring. The 4,000-square-foot tasting room, with seating for 80, will serve Settle Down’s beers, as well as rotating taps of other Fairfax County breweries, local ciders on tap and a wine list. WTOP served up the story.

Contract wins by firms in Fairfax County

CACI International won a five-year, $785 million contract to develop information and electronic warfare platforms for the Army Special Operations Command. GovConWire

General Dynamics Information Technology secured a $190 million contract to help the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office adopt cloud-based information technology infrastructure. GovConWire

Science Applications International Corporation scored a five-year $93 contract from the Navy to supply tactical integrated threat/target training systems. Naval Technology

Northrop Grumman obtained a $63.9 million contract from the Army to provide the military service branch with ammunition. ExecutiveBiz

BlackSky secured a five-year agreement by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to provide high revisit satellite imaging data in support of the agency’s existing Earth observation research to advance predictive capabilities. Intelligence Community News

Featured business events

December 8 — Virtual Health & Care Job Fair. Presented by the FCEDA and Work in Northern Virginia, this event is hiring at all experience levels for those in the health and care industries. Click here if you are a hiring-entity or job-seeker that is interested in participating.

January 11 — Entrepreneurship 101: Starting a Business in Fairfax County. Presented by the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority in partnership with the Virginia Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity, the Community Business Partnership and the U.S. Small Business Administration, this webinar will provide the business fundamentals needed to successfully start a business. The Entrepreneurial Spotlight this session will feature Pallabi Saboo, CEO of Tysons-based Harmonia Holdings Group (and the newest member of the FCEDA Commission, by the way). Click here for more information. Registration opens soon.

January 27 — Cyber/Cloud Virtual Career Fair. The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority will present another one-stop-shop for technologists to network and interview with leading, hiring tech companies in Northern Virginia. Interested companies  may contact Mike Batt, director of talent initiatives, at mbatt@fceda.org. Registration for job-seekers opens soon. Click here for more information.

How the Fairfax County EDA can help

The FCEDA is here to connect businesses of all kinds to resources and information. Visit the FCEDA’s Covid-19 Business Resource Hub for up-to-date 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.