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California software company opens government contracting office

By Marjorie Censer
Monday, February 28, 2011; 10

Despite concern over the shrinking federal budget, not all contractors are bracing for a rocky road. Officials at MarkLogic, a California company with a growing government sector, said they're bullish on the company's future -- and they just opened a sizable local office to prove it.

The firm provides software and services designed to allow companies and agencies to organize and search "unstructured" data, or data ranging from e-mails to tweets to geospatial information that doesn't fit into traditional databases. Early this year, MarkLogic opened a sprawling, 16,000-square-foot office in the USA Today building in Tysons Corner.

Randall Jackson, MarkLogic's vice president for federal, said the office represents a "stake in the ground," as the company seeks to further expand into the government market.

Founded in 2003 in Silicon Valley, MarkLogic launched its product in the media industry. It quickly saw an opportunity in the government, which works with a huge amount of information, and started a government practice with about a half-dozen people in early 2007.

The division opened a tiny Tysons Corner office in 2008 and eventually grew to about four offices crammed with 15 desks.

"It was like a locker room," said Jackson.

MarkLogic quickly expanded its government work, winning contracts with the Army, Air Force, a whole range of intelligence agencies and the State Department. Now, the company's government work represents more than 40 percent of the company's total revenue.

Last year, MarkLogic, which has about 65 employees in its federal group, added 18 hires to the division, and in January moved into a true office, complete with kitchen and conference spaces. The office, which was formerly home to USA Today's Weekend section, still has many empty desks.

By moving into the USA Today building, MarkLogic also has access to the campus's cafeteria, gym and convenience store.

This year, MarkLogic intends to hire 30 to 50 new employees for the federal division. Already, the company said its spacious office has helped it win new business.

The facility communicates confidence, said Enrique Alonso, senior director of government operations. It tells government customers "these guys are here for real," Alonso added.

MarkLogic has room to double or even triple its staff in the new office, according to Jackson, and has the right of first refusal for additional space on the floor.

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