Coming soon: Internet, 100 times faster

Welcome to CapBiz A.M., your morning primer on business news with a focus on Washington.

Seriously speedy surfing: AT&T is gearing up for a major expansion of super-fast Internet services to cover as many as 100 municipalities in 25 metropolitan areas, with download speeds about 100 times faster than what consumers typically get with broadband. With the new service, called GigaPower, the company is gunning for Google’s rival product, Google Fiber, and it’s targeting small and medium-sized businesses. (WP)

Shark charmers: Rosslyn-based Zoobean made an appearance on Shark Tank and walked away from Friday’s episode with a $250,000 investment from sports and entertainment tycoon Mark Cuban. On Tuesday, the co-founders plan to announce an even larger round of funding from local investors. (CAP)

Acquired hiring: Reston-based staffing firm HireStrategy has been purchased by Addison Group, a Chicago-based staffing and recruiting firm, the companies announced on Monday. HireStrategy, already one of the area’s largest staffing firms, will now have the resources to expand its offices in Reston and the District, and it plans to add a location in Maryland. (CAP)

Location consolidation: Lockheed Martin plans to move out of an Alexandria office at the end of September, shifting about 150 employees at that location to other offices throughout the region. The move is part of the company’s broader plans to consolidate its real estate holdings in the D.C. area. (WBJ)

Moving on down the line: Ford Motor Co.’s top executive, Alan Mulally, may step down before the end of the year, according to new reports, and he likely will be succeeded by current chief operating officer Mark Fields. An announcement outlining the timeline is expected in the coming weeks, as the company is hoping to halt a streak of messy executive transitions (BB)

Higher costs hit businesses: During the first three months of the year, 31 percent of business owners surveyed reported higher material costs, more than double the 15 percent that saw costs rise in the previous survey by the National Association of Business Economics. And an even larger number saw their labor costs go up during the first quarter. (AP)

Sandy’s blow still lingers: One third of small businesses in Sandy disaster areas of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut reported financial losses a year after the devastating storm struck, according to a new report by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Many, without any insurance to fall back on, have been paying out of pocket to cover the damage. (WP)

Harvesting capital: The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Monday a new $150 million program designed to provide investment capital to help small agriculture-related businesses in rural areas of the country. The program will target, for example, established biotechnology companies and regional food hubs that need an infusion of capital in order to grow. (AP)

A break for business borrowers: The Small Business Administration on Monday implemented several new rules easing and eliminating some of the restrictions on its most popular loan programs. Under the new rules, small-business owners will have more time to organize projects before applying for a loan and less restrictions based on their personal wealth. (OSB)

On Wall Street

Stocks climbed higher Monday ahead of some major earnings calls later this week. Comcast, AT&T and McDonald’s kick things off on Tuesday. (Get the latest updates here)

What’s on tap today

ICSC-Goldman Store Sales (7:45 a.m)

Existing home sales (10 a.m.)

D.C. tech’s”Best Hidden Opps” event, to be held at 1776 (6:30 p.m.)

CIT’s Mid-Atlantic Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Funding Strategies Symposium (8:30 a.m)

Prince William Chamber of Commerce hosts Martin Briley, chief executive of Virginia Economic Development Partnership (11 a.m.)

Help: How to collect, analyze and protect your company’s most valuable data (OSB)

Follow: Gene Marks, small business adviser and author

Extra: How Kickstarter helped Awesome Con become more awesome (WP)

J.D. Harrison covers startups, small business and entrepreneurship, with a focus on public policy, and he manages the Post's On Small Business blog.
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J.D. Harrison | April 21