In a study by the US Department of Commerce, women in STEM jobs earn 33 percent more money than women in non-STEM positions. With computer science jobs predicted to increase by 22 percent by 2020 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), where are these women to fill these positions? In a report by the National Student Clearinghouse only 18 percent of women graduated with a science degree in 2014.
While the White House has tried to make a push to encourage more girls to enter STEM and boost women founders by passing two laws, The Inspire Act and The Promoting Women in Entrepreneurship Act, there still is a gender gap that needs a lot of filling.
Near the nation’s capital, Arlington, VA has a thriving startup community that supports female-led companies, startups in STEM, cyber security, defense, and everything in between aimed at improving the status quo.
This year at CES 2018 Eureka Park, the mega startup hub of the conference, the hottest early-stage startups from around the world will showcase their products and services aimed at disrupting their respective industries.
It is here that Arlington Economic Development (AED) has joined with CES 2018 and will host the Startup Arlington Lounge (booth #50463) at Eureka Park to showcase some of their top startups. You can talk with the companies, and learn more about growing a business near epicenter of the US government and positive impact they’ve received from the community.
I had a chance to talk with founders about what’s awesome about growing a business near the nation’s capital and how the community has supported their growth. Meet the startups showcasing at Eureka Park Startup Arlington this year at CES 2018:
The Boolean Girl is a place where girls can feel empowered and learn to code. They are a non-profit that offer summer camps, after-school programs, free online curriculum aimed at inspiring girls to build, code, create. Their product the Boolean Box, is an all-in-one, hands-on, kit that can introduce your child to computer programming. Their Boolean University is a self-paced online classroom that takes the child through lessons in coding.
Ingrid Sanden, Co-owner and Vice President of Communications of BooleanGirl, has realized much success with support from the Arlington community.
“In Arlington, we have a very receptive audience and have had very solid support from families since the beginning. We grew to nearby cities and counties and into Washington, DC. We have been privileged to be able to develop our products and curriculum in Arlington with input from the girls using them, and [shared] our products and classes with disadvantaged schools,” Sanden said. “We also have been supported by a very knowledgeable and ‘tech-minded' Arlingtonians who have generously shared their ideas, time, and expertise with us. Showcasing at CES will give us an opportunity to connect with individuals and companies who are committed to increasing the number of girls and women in STEM careers.”
Using artificial intelligence to compartmentalize and discover patterns within large volumes of data is a forte of Deep Learning Analytics. Their team is filled with data scientists with experience in deep learning, machine learning and predictive algorithms in defense and medicine. They also build deep learned-based products for IoT devices. At Eureka Park, they will showcase their latest product deepSpeciesID, a computer vision prototype that can recognize the species of a plant or animal from a smartphone photo.
John Kaufhold, founder of Deep Learning Analytics, said his company has benefited from the influx of investors to Arlington.
As a startup we have “access to educated, entrepreneurial, machine learning talent,” Kaufhold said. “AED is strategically growing the local startup ecosystem with new investors, like SineWave, and attracting larger commercial organizations like Nestlé to the region, which is good for the whole economy.”
Robots don’t all have to look like Wall-E, some could look like a girl. SmartGurlz is a line of action dolls and robots that are designed specifically to teach girls to code through games and missions. Their Siggy Robot is a self-balancing robot that rolls on a pink segway and can be coded to dance, go through obstacle courses, and engineered for entertainment. Their award-winning SugarCoded app takes the girls through coding tutorials, games and e-books to help them learn.
After their exposure on Shark Tank and a deal with Daymond John, Sharmi Albrechtsen, CEO and founder of SmartGirlz, continues to grow her company in a community with high energy in Arlington, VA.
“I am a Washingtonion by birth and was looking for a Metro area that offered value-based offices, good transportation facilities and a startup community that is vibrant and open.” Albrechtsen said.
There’s no doubt cyber security is at the top of list of priorities for businesses in 2018. Virgil Security is joining in the fight and adding another layer of protection to the internet. Their company helps developers bring security to their apps and devices with minimal code. They built the world’s most agile crypto library, and regardless of programming language, platform or market, they can help developers deploy end-to-end encryption and protection within one’s application. Through their crypto and key management, they help make data protection a simple process.
Michael W. Wellman, CEO of Virgil Security, said being near the nation’s capital has given them the edge on the cyber security market and talent needed to develop products.
“The greater Washington, DC area is truly underappreciated as a center for technology development. The proximity to the seat of the US government and the organizations that serve the area is all but unique in the world and as a result there is a constant and continual flow of incredibly talented people into the area. Combine this with the increasingly active angel investment and venture capital communities and you’ll discover that Arlington is at the hub of an emerging startup ecosystem,” Wellman said.
“The team from Arlington Economic Development has been relentless in supporting Virgil Security from providing introductions to potential customers and partners, to helping us locate space in the Arlington area to host events, to now hosting us here at CES 2018.”
If you were impacted by the Equifax breach, then you are well aware of the dangers of data breaches with organizations that hold your private and personal information. WireWheel has developed a Data Privacy Management platform that helps companies comply with data privacy and protection regulations such as HIPAA, Privacy Shield, and more. Using an innovative method and blend of data science, machine learning, algorithms and cloud computing, they help companies meet new privacy compliance demands.
Justin Antonipillai, founder and CEO of WireWheel, relies on the business connections and talent in Arlington to grow his business.
“There is a diverse set of talent in this market and a growing amount of experience and expertise in all areas of technology and business acumen. It’s also a great place to live and send your children to school,” Antonipillai said.
Read more about emerging startups in Arlington on TechCo
The article was brought to you in partnership with Arlington Economic Development. Learn more about the Startup Arlington program