Under The Radar: B23
Bisnow has started a series profiling interesting, yet under-the-radar tech companies in the DC region. A little-known company called B23, which was started by two of the original employees at Amazon Web Services, kicks off our series. Send other suggestions for this column to Bisnow’s tech editor, Tania Anderson.
Founders: Brad Kolarov (left) and Dave Hirko
HQ: Incubator space on Pinnacle Drive in Tysons.
Company name: Inspired by a concept called the 23 Enigma. The number "23" appears more often than any other number. Plus “B23” rhymes.
When did B23 launch and why? 2013. We were working at Amazon Web Services and kept getting requests from customers for hands-on engineering and implementation work. We couldn’t find a partner to do that type of work, so we left AWS and launched B23. Our niche is building big data platforms in the cloud.
Example of your work: Our customers have great ideas or analytics unique to their business but no way to secure it and scale it in the cloud. The cloud is a tech platform, so we help them productize applications for the cloud.
Customers: We can’t name them but they’re Fortune 20, some Fortune 500 and a few startups.
Why customers can’t be named: Like any tech disruption, it needs some time to build up a good reputation. Cloud is still perceived as not being as secure. It’s a misconception.
Company challenges: Finding people with big data, cloud and automation skills. We also have more work than we can take on right now.
Most recent news: We’re launching a product version of B23 this spring. Customers will be able to create large scale big data platforms in minutes. One of our beta customers is a big international bank.
Outside funding: We met with investors in Silicon Valley but decided not to take money. We’re generating good revenue on core B23 business.
Employees: Eight, but hopefully getting to 15 by the end of the year.
Dave’s background: Engineering degree from UVA. But always felt a compulsion to be an entrepreneur, so I got an MBA from the University of Maryland.
Brad’s background: I didn’t want anything to do with technology or sales. I was an officer on a Navy Seal team and came to understand and love tech and big data and analytics by doing direct action missions. We learned how to collect the right kind of information on those missions, so over time I learned to dabble in tech and understand that all businesses are data businesses.
2016 outlook: Customer targets will continue in financial services, retail, healthcare and public utilities. Last year we saw 250% growth and I think we’ll maintain that. We have some promising leads in financial services with our new product launch.