Army rapid equipping unit seeks out start-ups

December 30, 2012

As the Army winds down its operations in Afghanistan, the Rapid Equipping Force — an organization established to rush much-needed equipment to the battlefield — is making its own transition.

Col.Peter Newell, the REF’s director, is repositioning the agency as a permanent one that will continue to focus on quickly acquiring essential products and services.

As part of his efforts, Newell has made four trips to Silicon Valley within the past four months, seeking to make start-ups and venture capitalists aware of the Army’s interest in high-tech and forward-thinking work.

The pitch to these companies, he said, is that the Defense Department can help them find another market for their technology.

The typical venture capitalist doesn’t “get excited about DOD business,” Newell said. “Start-ups aren’t thinking that way.”

But he’s hoping to find innovative companies and potentially help them link up with large contractors able to scale a product or integrate it into existing systems.

So far, the REF has put money up for a couple companies, he said, and is considering several others.

Metalogix looks to state and local

District-based software company Metalogix is expanding its public sector division to encompass state, local and higher education work, the company announced earlier this month.

The company specializes in content infrastructure management, meaning it helps organizations modernize and consolidate the content they keep on Microsoft products SharePoint and Exchange.

Patrick Park, the company’s director of public sector, said Metalogix formed its public sector group nine months ago — focusing it on the federal government.

Now, the company is expanding its target users. State, local and educational institutions “are seeing a lot of the same issues where this data and the sprawl of information is everywhere, and they need to consolidate it,” Park said.

NikSoft protest denied

The Government Accountability Office late last month denied a protest filed by Reston-based NikSoft Systems over an IRS award to Baltimore-based Delmock Technologies.

NikSoft claimed that the IRS improperly evaluated its proposed approach to handling the fixed-price part of the contract and erred in its assessment of NikSoft’s past performance.

The IRS solicited contractors to perform IT work — an operations and maintenance effort on a fixed-price basis and software development to be paid using fixed billing rates.

NGA.NET opens public sector division

Australian talent acquisition company NGA.NET has established an Arlington-based public sector business, hoping to capi­tal­ize on the federal government’s need to recruit new hires and prepare for a wave of retirements.

Mike Giuffrida, the company’s co-founder and chief executive, said in an interview that the public sector unit has already received its first contract with a federal agency — though he couldn’t disclose the agency.

NGA.NET specializes in cloud-based human resources technology, focused on recruiting new employees and managing existing ones.

The company has established a public sector headquarters in Ballston and now has about 10 employees, according to Giuffrida. He said NGA.NET plans to grow the local business to 25 employees within the next year.

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