Silent Circle start-up ‘hiring as fast as we can’

May 19, 2013

A new start-up based in National Harbor is rapidly hiring as its encryption technology gains popularity.

The 56-employee Silent Circle is led by two retired Navy SEALs, Mike Janke and Vic Hyder, as well as Phil Zimmermann, who invented e-mail encryption software PGP, and Jon Callas, an Apple alumnus.

The self-funded company is selling the technology to government customers, individual consumers and commercial businesses, said Janke, Silent Circle’s chief executive.

“What we do is we negotiate encryption keys in a way that doesn’t share them with any servers,” Zimmermann said. The technology essentially means users can make calls or send messages without leaving a trail.

Silent Circle officially began operations in October, though its executives started developing the technology two years ago.

“We’re hiring as fast as we can,” said Janke, who said he expects to have more than 100 employees by year’s end.

Govini seeking to help contractors

Some of the biggest government contractors are looking to Silicon Valley for help winning new contracts.

Big data analytics company Govini is promising companies better analytics geared toward identifying new opportunities to win work. It says it can figure out who has been awarded a contract and what rates they may be charging, helping rivals shape future bids.

Eric Gillespie, the Govini’s founder, said he got the idea after building a Web site that tracked Recovery Act spending. Govini now has about 1,000 users, including Boeing, Booz Allen Hamilton and IBM, according to the company.

Still, Gillespie said the company has had to overcome skepticism on both coasts. “On the West Coast, government data’s not sexy. Government contractors do not resonate in the Valley,” he said. On the East Coast, “people are leery of that new technology because they have a work flow established.”

CSC posts improved earnings

Falls Church-based Computer Sciences Corp. reported last week that profit for the quarter ended March 29 rose to $286 million, up from a $153 million loss in the same period a year earlier. Revenue dropped about 7 percent to $3.7 billion.

As CSC pursues a recovery, it is consolidating its real estate and making workforce changes. Mike Lawrie, the IT company’s chief executive, said CSC plans to reduce its 16 million square feet of owned and leased space by more than 1 million square feet by the end of next year.

CSC has reduced its management layers from about 13 to eight, he added.

SAIC CEO says decisions on split have been emotional
Both companies formed by the split of McLean-based Science Applications International Corp. are staying in Northern Virginia because they need to be close to the customer, said John Jumper, the contractor’s president and chief executive.

Speaking at the National Press Club last week, Jumper said the decisions SAIC has made so far, including choosing Leidos as a name for one of the companies and deciding to sell the headquarters, have been emotional.

Asked whether he thought SAIC, the services business, will have a tougher time than technology company Leidos, Jumper said both businesses are in good positions.

In doing the split, executives sought to ensure “there was no winner or loser.”

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