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Crystal City's Newest Tech Entrant


San Francisco-based Shift Technologies announced this morning it would invest $20M to open its East Coast operations in Arlington.

The company, launched December 2013, will start with space in 1776-Crystal City and expand as it builds out its 100-person team. The company’s technology helps link up people selling used cars with buyers. 

Shift business and product lead Toby Russell, who will be in charge of the Virginia operation, says the 100 people will mostly be engineers and they’ll be hired quickly—unlike other new firms to the DC region that have longer hiring runways. The DC region has never been known for consumer tech expertise, and Toby says there’s been a misconception in the region that Silicon Valley was the only place to work with the best engineers.

“We want to be at the leading edge of creating a Northern Virginia consumer tech ecosystem,” says Toby, here with Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe at the announcement this morning. “DC area engineers don’t need to go to Silicon Valley anymore to work with the best of the best.”


The Arlington office will work on the technology that Shift employees use to process the cars.  

The company, which has raised about $74M and has more than 200 employees, allows consumers to hand off their used cars to Shift and then wait for a check. The company takes care of detailing the car, getting it in front of consumers, taking them on test drives, and all the DMV registration and titling. Toby says it appeals to people who want to get the most for their used car but don’t want the hassle or risk of doing it on their own.

Toby, whose background includes co-launching Alexandria-based Taxi Magic (now Curb), says Shift chose to locate to Arlington after a West Coast visit by Gov. McAuliffe last September. The state and county are providing some funding for the company’s employee training.

You can hear more about the tech boom at Bisnow's Creative Office & The Growth of Tech event Feb. 23.