Montgomery County wants more data centers.
The massive structures, which house racks of servers and other information technology equipment used by companies to store data and keep computer networks humming, have the potential to bring fresh tax revenue to county coffers.
The problem? Neighboring Virginia is already an established hotbed for data centers — particularly once-rural Loudoun County — in part because of ample undeveloped land and lower electricity prices.
To level the playing field, economic development officials will dole out $12 million in grants over the next 12 years to companies that house their IT infrastructure inside an existing Silver Spring data center owned by McLean-based ByteGrid Holdings.
Steve Silverman, Montgomery County’s director of economic development, said the arrangement could serve as a model for future efforts to recruit data center operators and their tenants inside county lines.
As part of the deal, the county will offer up to $12 million to reimburse tenants of ByteGrid’s Silver Spring data center for one-third of the personal property taxes they pay on IT equipment located in Montgomery County.
The county will then reap the remaining two-thirds of the personal property taxes that tenants are required to pay, a source of revenue that the county would not otherwise receive, Silverman said.
“Big data is the now and the future. Data centers are going to be part of that discussion. We want to be competitive,” Silverman said. “The first thing is to change the reality and impression that it’s going to cost too much to be in Maryland.”
Formed in 2009, ByteGrid has purchased data centers in Silver Spring, Atlanta, Cleveland, Chicago and, most recently, Seattle. The company not only owns and operates the physical buildings, but also offers basic IT services to tenants who lease space there.
The Silver Spring facility was fully occupied by Citibank until last year. ByteGrid has since leased space to Lockheed Martin and a handful of other companies, but more than two-thirds of the data center’s capacity remains unfilled.
“To have a healthy growth ... you need these assets and that’s what we’re trying to do in Montgomery County,” ByteGrid chief executive Ken Parent said. “This grant is recognition by the county of the importance of this asset.”
Glenwood-based Healthcare Interactive, a software company that allows insurance providers and health systems to manage and analyze patient data, disclosed an $8 million investment last week.
The infusion of venture capital, which comes from Grotech Ventures and Harbert Venture Partners, will be a first for the eight-year-old company. Co-founder Keith Lemer said the company has been self-funded since it was formed in 2006.
Healthcare Interactive provides software that allows those who pay for health care, such as insurance companies and large employers, to identify the biggest health risks and drivers of health care costs among their customers or employees.
The software can then identify ways to improve patients’ health outcomes and reduce costs, while also providing online tools so patients can more easily access their information and communicate with health care providers.
The investment will allow Healthcare Interactive to add several top executives, including a chief operating officer and chief financial officer, as well as a few dozen engineers and sales representatives, chief executive Henry Cha said.
The company counts 52 employees to date.
District-based WiserTogether added two executives to its roster last week, appointing Tomer Frey chief technology officer and Julie Schroeder general counsel.
Founded in 2008 by Shub Debgupta, WiserTogether provides online tools that help patients make health care decisions based on their symptoms, physicians’ input and financial considerations.
Frey most recently served as vice president of product development for Trizetto, a provider of health care management technology. Schroeder joins from 3M Health Care, where she held the role of division general counsel.
500That’s the number of new employees that McLean-based Cvent plans to hire this year. The company, which makes software for organizers of conferences and events, said positions will be added in its offices across the globe. The company went public last August.
“One of the most rewarding aspects of being an entrepreneur is creating jobs, and because Cvent is growing so rapidly, we can offer amazing career opportunities. We hope to attract the very best candidates in technology, client services, sales and marketing,” Reggie Aggarwal, Cvent’s founder and chief executive, said in a statement.