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Seed Fund Down But Not Out
January 28, 2013

Virginia Seed Fund
Down, Not Out

Virginia's economic development machine, the Center for Innovative Technology, has become a major early- and seed-stage investor. But with a smaller budget this year, will the investment pace continue?

CIT-Pete Jobse
CIT president Pete Jobse's annual report says CIT's GAP Funds put $4M toward 28 new companies in 2012, a huge increase from six companies in 2011. But the legislature's allocation toward GAP fell this year, from $4M to $3.2M.

CIT-Tom Weithman
Managing director Tom Weithman says the funding drop shouldn't make it any harder to get funding from GAP. Interest in GAP funding has grown in the last seven years, with CIT getting "lots" of pitches and business plans. Tom didn't get specific about how many entrepreneurs pursue the state funding, but he thinks CIT sees more deal flow than any other investor in the region. But investment competition is friendly with CIT, with many traditional VCs going in on deals. "We're a known entity," he adds. Since the program's launch in 2005, $8.5M worth of GAP funds have gone toward 72 Virginia-based tech companies.

Tech Salaries Up Big Time

Dice-Scot Melland
Wondering why you're rolling in dough? Tech salaries saw the biggest jump in over a decade, with tech workers seeing an over 5% increase in average annual wages to $85,619. The latest Dice salary survey also found that a huge number of tech workers said they could find an even better job in 2013. Employers are stepping up recruiting and retaining with more interesting or challenging assignments, increased compensation, and telecommuting options. Dice president Scot Melland says companies used to just invest in recruiting or retention but now they're putting money toward both.

Silicon Valley is the only market where tech people get six-figure salaries on average, the study also found. But Pittsburgh, San Diego, and St. Louis have seen huge salary increases in the last year. Virginia-based tech workers average $96,539 salaries; Maryland is at $93,098; and DC pays $97,895 on average. The biggest earners are big data experts who know Hadoop, NoSQL, and Mongo DB, all earning north of $100,000. Cloud and virtualization experts are just under $90,000 and mobile salaries hover around $80,000. But the jocks who made fun of them in high school (and now earn half that salary) once kissed a JV cheerleader... so it all evens out.

Evan's New Innovation Mecca

evan burfield
Tech entrepreneur and Startup DC founder Evan Burfield is launching a venture next month called 1776, bringing together startups, universities, media, and advisors to spur more innovation in the DC region. Evan has 36k SF of office space near the White House and at least 15 startups to start a "mecca" for innovation. Describing his plan recently at a Tech Cocktail event in Washington, Evan has also formed partnerships with accelerators in other regions to bring their recent program graduates to DC to grow their startups. Evan says he's been launching experiments over the last year, including a new angel investing group of lobbyists.

The Newest Startup

tom ridge
Former PwC Consulting CEO Scott Hartz, with the help of Gov. Tom Ridge, is joining the startup fray and bringing TaaSERA, a company he recently joined, out of stealth mode. The anti-malware startup has a product that finds unseen cyber attacks. (Tom, DHS' first head, is serving as a company advisor.) The Cupertino, Calif.-based company says over 70,000 malware strains are born daily and TaaSERA plans to market to fed agencies and the private sector. The plan is to also use behavior modeling to stop cybercriminal hacking and identify insider threats. Some of TaaSERA's tech was licensed from SRI International, which used government R&D money to develop and prove the behavior model for international network malware detection.

TechAmerica Gets Defensive

techamerica-scott bousum
TechAmerica recently hired congressional staffer Scott Bousum to handle DOD and intel matters on Capitol Hill. Scott worked for the House Armed Services Committee, supporting the Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee. He's also worked for Sen. Tom Coburn, who reps Scott's home state of Oklahoma. Scott is one of several recent hires to TechAmerica's Global Public Sector team since SVP Trey Hodgkins took over last year. The association has recently spent much of its lobbying muscle fighting sequestration.

The Super Bowl is just around the corner. (Or so we hear.) What apps will you be playing with while you watch the game? Send story ideas to tania.anderson@bisnow.com.

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