May 24, 2016
In DC, we often discuss the growing tech scene, but the reality is that many of the local businesses still cater to or work heavily with the government. The largest government contractors often follow the same modus operandi: cubicles and small windowless offices, and stuffy and boring artless walls – apropos and reflective of their similarly boring company cultures. Most of these are not a haven for creativity. Having worked in the govcon world myself, it’s easy to see why Millennials typically avoid these types of work environments in place of new and growing startups. However, there are businesses like Crystal City, VA-based ByteCubed that go against the grain.
ByteCubed is a results-oriented and high-impact consulting firm specializing in next-generation software development and technology. In other words: they help the government manage a great deal of data and turn them into meaningful insights, as well as develop custom solutions and strategies.
“We go in, look at what they have in place, and try to simplify that and build tools/products to have added values for their constituents and clients. We’re not your typical government contractor. We take a holistic lifecycle approach, not just building tools. We also provide subject matter experts to run and manage those projects,” said ByteCubed director of public affairs Ashley Scott.
Though a fairly new company, their current CEO and founding team are no strangers to government contracting. Having worked for IBM, ManTech, and directly for the DoD, Ahmad Ishaq launched ByteCubed just over 5 years ago. The company won their first contract towards the end of 2014, kicking off with the DoD. With small, humble beginnings, the team recently hired their 100 employee and brought on 90 percent of them in the past year.
According to Scott, the team initially started with defense and expanded from there. Branching off to support other government agencies, they are now working with state and local government as well. They are also in the early stages of a commercial offering under a subsidiary of the company. A third offshoot, Beyond Three, will focus specifically Research and Development. More specifically, Beyond Three will help small businesses approach their intended markets:
“A lot of businesses have trouble making that jump from idea and implementation to commercialization. Even congress has put forth a lot of legislation around this. A lot of companies don’t have the tools to get to that space,” said Scott.
Beyond their work and variation in approach to government contracting, their culture and office are other differentiators.
“Government is not sexy. We consider ourselves to be right up there with those in Silicon Valley, but on the East Coast,” said Scott. “We like to flip things over and deconstruct what is in place. We have an open space environment, snack bar, and brainstorming is displayed on the walls.”
ByteCubed prioritizes ideas – even hosting an internal TED Talks of sorts. From these ideas and concepts, occasionally they turn into the next business deal or product that the company will focus on. Scott and ByteCubed Communication & PR Specialist Baura Zia describe the overall environment as a very laid-back space that promotes cohesiveness and innovation.
In one of the many hubs for government contractors, ByteCubed is located in Arlington’s Crystal City. Due to their work with the DoD, location is key, having easier access to the Pentagon as well as agencies within DC proper. Beyond ease of access Zia also highlighted their interest in collaborating more with the local community, and plans to open up their space to more meetups in the area.
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