When Eastern Foundry opened its doors in Rosslyn in February 2017, the neighborhood eagerly embraced the Virginia-based coworking space and startup accelerator that supports small businesses interested in working with the federal government. More of a community than simply a place to lease office space, Eastern Foundry hosts a full roster of small business meet-ups, networking happy hours and workshops on topics such as "Honing Your Presentation Skills" and "Leveraging LinkedIn." Using the Rosslyn campus as their hub (their first campus is in Crystal City), Eastern Foundry members come together to learn, share information and make connections that will help them succeed.
Now, almost a year and a half in, Eastern Foundry Communications Director Dan Bowman says their office at 1100 Wilson Blvd. is "bursting at the seams"—so much so that they needed to expand to an additional floor. They currently have 125 total member companies, 38 of which are located in Rosslyn or use this office as their primary drop-in location. Many members have grown within Eastern Foundry and taken more office space with them.
The Rosslyn BID sat down with leaders of four of these companies to learn more about their businesses, what they like about Eastern Foundry and what they like about working here. They represent just a sampling of the diverse and interesting organizations that make their home at Eastern Foundry in Rosslyn.
Heilig Defense is a cyber security company that joined Eastern Foundry in May 2018. They strive to create easy-to-use and effective defensive security solutions that protect networks and data from attackers before they have an opportunity to cause damage. Founder/CEO Dave Heilig is a Marine who has years of experience working with the National Security Agency. Although he hopes to market his products to commercial clients, for the time being he's working mostly with government. He says he chose Eastern Foundry because it offered connections to government and other cyber security clients he desired. He also liked that Eastern Foundry is a Veteran-owned business and that they are local - as a Rosslyn resident, he liked the idea of being able to walk to work.
What are the most common problems he encounters in cyber security?
"Training—the people problem," he says. "People like to click emails and open attachments. And, there are vulnerabilities with the way systems are set up, too."
Heilig has been writing computer code since he was 10, when his dad bought him a book on Java. He loved it, studied coding in school, and served as an intelligence officer for the Marines.
"I've always wanted to do this," he says. "I'm the fourth generation in my family to own my own business. And my Marine Corps experience helps, too. It's given me the drive to do this."
More info: Heilig Defense
For more than two decades, mgm technology partners USA (mgm) has been developing web applications in commerce segments, the insurance industry and the public sector. An international company with headquarters situated in Munich, Germany, they also have a strong presence in Vietnam. Most of their clients are larger Fortune 1000 companies, and much of their work entails the development and deployment of highly scalable, easy to integrate and secure business applications, such as business portals, platforms and online marketplaces, and adopting processes to the digital world. By using rapid model-driven implementation platforms mgm provides their customers with fast and substantial results.
"We're not a product company focusing on selling licenses, but a project company focusing on providing solutions," explains CEO Felix Sieghart. "We measure our success by the success of our clients with the applications that we bring into production for them. Our motto is 'Innovation implemented'."
Currently, mgm is collaborating with a large-scale retailer that opened its first stores in the U.S. in 2017. mgm played a significant role in setting up their online presence, implementing a product information management system to provide relevant information to websites, mobile apps and print media.
Felix says mgm chose Eastern Foundry because "they had already a lot of mid-sized companies under their umbrella and offered attractive prices, great amenities and a lot of wonderful support for starting up a business."
And they love being in Rosslyn, too. "The Metro's just next door, you can walk downtown . . .it's the perfect situation being just across the river from Georgetown," he says. "And there are plenty of great lunch options, too."
Currently mgm has six team members based here in Rosslyn, and is looking to grow to 20 people by the end of 2018. To find out about open positions, visit their website.
Founded by Elvis Oxley, Oxley Consulting provides clients with strategic business development services to grow their sales in the federal contracting sphere.
"Essentially, we help businesses sell their products and services to government agencies," Oxley says.
Most of the company's clients are "outside the beltway," so Oxley Consulting offers them knowledge of how politics and government sales work and "an insider's perspective you won't find in the heartland."
"I help connect small manufacturers to government buyers, or large companies that may need them as subcontractors," Oxley says. "For instance, right now we're working with a safety company based in Pennsylvania. They want to sell to government but don't have as much access as they need. I was raised in politics, thanks to my father’s Congressional career, so I can offer clients a unique hybrid of legislative knowledge and government sales all under one roof. I understand how this town works, and I know the right people who can advocate on behalf of our clients’ (aka constituents’) needs. That's my differentiator when helping to sell their products and services."
Oxley says he landed at Eastern Foundry when he re-established his company after being with another firm. He likes working in a bustling space, and Eastern Foundry's focus on government contracting was a great fit for him. And he loves the density of Rosslyn and the convenience of working here.
Any networking advice for those launching their careers?
"Networking is all about consistency," he says. "And you have to be able to deliver for someone if you're going to turn around and ask them for something."
More info: Oxley Consulting, LLC
Built by digital marketers, Targeted Victory is a full-service strategy and marketing firm providing clients with optimized outcomes in the digital age. Founded in 2009, they are one of Eastern Foundry's largest companies. When they arrived in June 2017, they had 26 employees. Today, they've doubled in size, with 54 staff based in the Rosslyn office.
With staff growth and a big restructuring in 2016, their overall mandate has changed, too. Managing Partner Ryan Meerstein says that, while Targeted Victory initially focused on serving clients in the political sphere, they have moved beyond that to handle corporate brand marketing and public affairs, as well. They recently took on a marketing campaign for a large packaged goods manufacturing company.
Meerstein says Targeted Victory loves being at Eastern Foundry and in Rosslyn for several reasons.
"Being at Eastern Foundry enabled us to get into a high-end building on a shorter lease than we could get through any type of deal elsewhere," he says. "And the flexibility to expand was huge for us. We had a plan to grow and Eastern Foundry allowed us to execute that. In the last two months alone, we've added 50 percent more office space."
Meerstein says Rosslyn's been a great place for its proximity to D.C. and for its ability to attract young talent, which has made up much of the company's growth.
"Younger employees look highly on the neighborhood. They love the Metro access, and we've seen a lot of growth in the neighborhood, with more restaurants and businesses coming in," he says.
Learn more: Targeted Victory