High-Tech Meets High-Powered Giving

April 9th, 2018 | Posted by Alexa Magdalenski in CXO Auction - (Comments Off)

By Bobbie Kilberg, President and CEO, NVTC


resized-Bobbie-KilbergThe Greater Washington region’s technology business community is filled with influential leaders and companies. As one of the nation’s premier high-tech centers, every day we hear about another investment, development or partnership driving growth and innovation in our community.

Having been associated with the technology sector here for almost 20 years, I can honestly say that Greater Washington has the most impressive and passionate community of leaders I’ve ever encountered. Whether it’s a CEO who has successfully grown multiple companies, a trailblazer in an emerging field or an innovator whose early work set the course for our industry, our region is fortunate to be led by truly inspiring individuals.

I’m proud that these leaders choose to give back to the community in which they live and work as active leaders of NVTC. We value their guidance as Board members and volunteers who believe in our region’s potential, supporting the growth of our diverse technology ecosystem, and serving as mentors to entrepreneurs and startups.

For the fourth year in a row, many of these leaders also are giving back through their participation in the NVTC Foundation CXO Auction on April 24. During this unique event, industry C-level executives from companies like Amazon Web Services, CACI International and SAIC are auctioned off and winning bidders are guaranteed a meeting with their auctioned executive to gain insight or pitch future plans.

Best of all, all proceeds from winning bids goes to support the NVTC Veterans Employment Initiative, which connects Veterans and military spouses to employment opportunities and provides support to member companies in their efforts to recruit, hire, train and retain Veteran employees. Veterans are a vital part of the Greater Washington tech community. Many of the auctioned executives are Veterans themselves and understand how difficult the transition can be and how important it is to help a brother or sister in arms.

Doing well by doing good is a common refrain in many corporate circles and the generosity of this region’s technology business community is not just monetary. Our region’s most successful executives are willing to frequently and openly share what they’ve learned in their careers to those on their way up. To me, that’s the Greater Washington region’s competitive advantage – and the mark of a successful business community.

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The NVTC Foundation CXO Auction on April 24 at The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner is an exciting event during which regional and industry C-level executives will be auctioned off to raise money for NVTC’s Veterans Employment Initiative (VEI), which connects Veterans and military spouses to employment opportunities and provides support to member companies in their efforts to recruit, hire, train and retain qualified Veteran employees.

During the in-person auction, attendees will bid electronically to win one-on-one meetings with C-level leaders, during which they can gain insight or pitch future plans. Many auction packages go beyond a meeting to include unique experiences like sporting outings, wine tastings, and even a curling session!

Here are 5 reasons to attend the 2018 NVTC Foundation CXO Auction!

1. Support a great cause: Since the VEI’s founding in 2013, over 9,000 Veterans and military spouses have been hired by NVTC member companies. Help increase the VEI’s impact as it heads into its 5th anniversary!
2. Affordable minimum bids: With bidding starting at just $250, the CXO Auction is a great way to secure one-on-one facetime with tech industry leaders
3. High-powered networking: Executives being auctioned will be in attendance at the event. Take advantage of unparalleled networking!
4. Propel your business: Winning bidders are guaranteed one-on-one access to the brightest minds in industry within 12-months. Many of the companies represented are looking for their next partner or software!
5. Fun atmosphere: Enjoy delicious hors d’oeuvres and drinks while you connect with fellow NVTC members, tech leaders and members of the military community in a relaxed setting — for a great cause!

Click here to register for the event and here to see all the exciting auction packages you can bid on!

Auction 1 Auction 2

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Transp Data Summit Logo - TransparentDuring the 2018 Capital Data Summit’s  Spotlight on a Successful Local Big Data Firm and One of Its Local Venture Capital Investors panel, David Link, CEO of ScienceLogic, and Patrick Kerins, special partner, New Enterprise Associates, shared their unique insights into establishing and growing a successful big data firm in the Greater Washington region. Rodney Lusk, Director, National Marketing Division, Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, moderated.

Scroll below for full video from the panel!

Among the key points arising from the discussion:

  • Passion for solving a specific problem is inherent to launching any tech company; investors need to share in that passion
  • The Greater Washington region’s strong product areas in cybersecurity, biopharma and deep history in the roots of the Internet provide top opportunities for investing
  • Venture capital organizations enable startups to “see around the corner” and accelerate engagement with external stakeholders in a vital way

Full panel video:

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Big Data: A Vehicle for Value Creation

March 19th, 2018 | Posted by Alexa Magdalenski in Capital Data Summit - (Comments Off)

The second annual Capital Data Summit took place on Feb. 28, 2018 at The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner. NVTC continues to share original content and video from the event.


Ruh v1Bill Ruh, CEO of GE Digital, and Senior Vice President and Chief Digital Officer at GE, opened the 2018 Capital Data Summit morning session with keynote remarks, discussing GE’s digital journey. Ruh highlighted how digitization is transforming business models across every industry, from automotive to industrial to telecommunications. He emphasized how digitization is driving new insights that enable companies to offer a more compelling user experience and deliver more value to customers.

Here are some other key themes that emerged from Ruh’s keynote:

  • The digital shift and embracing big data cannot move forward without a cultural shift in organizations. This requires strong investment in employees and that may mean upskilling current employees
  • Data rights will become exponentially important as the amount of big data and the demand for real-time insights expands; who owns the data?
  • Data analytics is a vehicle for value creation

Video full video from Ruh’s remarks below:

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2018 Capital Data Summit: AWS Keynote

March 15th, 2018 | Posted by Alexa Magdalenski in Capital Data Summit - (Comments Off)

The second annual NVTC Capital Data Summit took place on Feb. 28, 2018 at The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner. The Summit’s second keynote was provided by Alan Halachmi, Senior Manager, Solutions Architecture, Amazon Web Services, and Ben Snively, Principal Solution Architect, Data and Analytics, Amazon Web Services.

Halamachi discussed the rapid growth of the big data ecosystem through connected devices, cloud computing and more, and shared how organizations must have strong metadata management and accessibility in order to fully leverage real-time data insights. Snively shared how Amazon Web Services’ analytics solutions in artificial intelligence and deep learning are being put into practice to serve a variety of customers and causes. Snively highlighted the radical shift today in how people are interacting directly with systems, creating more data than ever, and driving demand for rapid insights at the edge.

View full video from AWS’ keynote below!

Snively v1 Halachmi v1

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The second annual Capital Data Summit took place on Feb. 28, 2018 at The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner. Over the upcoming weeks, we’ll be sharing original content, video and photos from the event.


Advanced Analytics panelArtificial intelligence (AI) and advanced analytics are transforming every field today and solving real world problems in energy management, home-care, crime reduction, and more. The Summit’s Opportunities, Challenges and Future Trends in Advanced Analytics panel discussed how the democratization of artificial intelligence has resulted in new intelligent applications that are altering business processes and engaging various stakeholders in new ways.

Panelists included Microsoft Data Solution Architect Arief Bavan, Digital Reasoning Chief Analytics Officer Dr. Uday Kamath, Virginia Tech Computer Science and Discovery Analytics Center Research Associate Nathan Self, and Virginia Tech Associate Professor of Business Information Technology, Pamplin College of Business, Dr. Onur Seref. ATA, LLC CTO John Eberhardt III moderated.

Here are some of the valuable points that emerged from this discussion:

  • Open source data enables strong engagement from universities and the future tech workforce in the analytics field
  • Collaboration is surpassing competition in data analytics and that provides huge business value and exciting innovation that will impact every industry
  • Fully embracing AI requires a cultural change within organizations; it’s a journey

View full video from the panel below!

Stay tuned for more Capital Data Summit content here on the blog and check out the 2018 Summit photo gallery!

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Deep Learning: A Silver Bullet?

March 2nd, 2018 | Posted by Alexa Magdalenski in Titans - (Comments Off)

On Jan. 31, more than 400 members of the region’s technology community gathered to discuss the promises and pitfalls of deep learning at NVTC’s Titans event featuring Intel’s Chief Data Scientist, Public Sector, Americas Melvin Greer and Deep Learning Analytics’ Managing Partner and Data Scientist Dr. John KaufholdDr. Ravi Pappu, Chief Architect of In-Q-Tel, moderated.

Kicking off the event, Dr. Pappu shared the history of deep learning and described how it is becoming more accessible for businesses of all types. He highlighted enablers of deep learning, such as algorithms, data, hardware and talent, as well as pitfalls such as errors, bias and transparency.

Kaufhold and Greer emphasized how deep learning is enabling businesses across every sector to solve important problems more efficiently and more cost-effectively. Greer highlighted the importance of marrying the right algorithms, data and hardware to the problem a business is trying to solve. Kaufhold expressed his belief that, if you have the data, AI and deep learning can be applied to almost any problem to make the process cheaper or faster. The panel also highlighted some of the latest advancements being driven by deep learning, including personalized medicine, cyber intelligence, autonomous vehicles and speech recognition.

The panelists pinpointed some of the impediments that exist today in harnessing the full power of deep learning. Kaufhold expressed his belief that talent and data are the critical gatekeepers for successful applications. Greer agreed that having clean data that is appropriately labeled is crucial and can be the heavy lifting in any deep learning effort. Greer also noted the legal, ethical and societal challenges of deep learning. Both called attention to the widening data science talent gap, the slow adoption of advanced data science curriculum in higher education and how this is posing significant challenges to deep learning advancements and adoption.

Check out video highlights from the event!

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By Nathan Self, Research Associate, Department of Computer Science, and faculty at Discovery Analytics Center, Virginia Tech. Self will be participating on the Opportunities, Challenges and Future Trends in Advanced Analytics panel at the second annual Capital Data Summit on Feb. 28, 2018.

VT DAC 2Imagine your biggest spreadsheet. Too many rows and columns to take in at once. At the Discovery Analytics Center (DAC) at Virginia Tech we are interested in how humans and machines can work together to make sense out of all that data. Andromeda is an example of how analysts can combine sophisticated machine learning algorithms with interactive visualization to get insights from their data.

Let’s assume that your enormous spreadsheet has a row for every customer and a column for every statistic you keep about each customer. Andromeda draws a scatterplot in which each point represents a customer. Points that are close to each other represent rows that are similar to each other. Likewise, distant points represent dissimilar rows. To begin with, Andromeda assumes that each column is equally important.

This is where the human aspect comes in. You know what the data actually represents and you can interact with Andromeda in two ways. You can either (1) change the importance of a column. The points of the scatterplot will regroup to preserve the “near is similar” constraint. Or, (2) you can reach right into the scatterplot and move points closer or farther from each other and Andromeda will compute which columns have to be important for them to be considered similar.

Andromeda, with new algorithms and new paradigms of user-algorithm interaction,  serves as a good example that complex statistical methods do not necessitate complex user interfaces or expert users. The selling point of Andromeda is that you don’t have to know that Andromeda uses an algorithm called weighted multidimensional scaling to lay out the scatterplot. You don’t have to know that data scientists at DAC developed inverse multidimensional scaling to handle interacting with the points. In fact, users have effectively generated insights despite having no experience with these, or similar, algorithms. And, their insights are more complex than when they use spreadsheets alone.

There are countless pivotal statistical processes that are well-suited and useful for current data analysis needs. Any of these would be well-served by intuitive interfaces for people that are not experts in statistics.

There is an adage that the same statistics can be used to justify either side of an argument. Machine learning has the same malleability. Understanding exactly what a machine learning tool like Andromeda can do for you — as well as its limitations — is important for deciding what to do with its outputs.

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NVTC’s newest infographic provides a snapshot of NVTC members’ data analytics hiring and resource allocation trends, regional funding and national demand for skilled analytics talent.

Data analytics continues to grow in our region and the country at large, evidenced by increased demand for talent, funding and the growing applicability from IT to finance to non-traditional sectors such as sports – just ask baseball fans what they think about any given player and it won’t be long before someone starts citing “Wins Above Replacement (WAR)” statistics, a non-standardized advanced analytics sabermetric statistic, as a way to justify their view of a player’s value and impact. Adoption across the IT sector is approaching omnipresence, with 87 percent of telecommunications firms and 76 percent of financial services firms reporting adoption of big data analytics according to the 2017 Big Data Analytics Market Study.

2018 Data Analytics Infographic

Demand for the Analytics Workforce Grows

In a January 2018 survey, 55 percent of NVTC members reported hiring data analytics positions over the next 12 months. Given the demand for qualified analytics talent across the country, it won’t be an easy task for most local tech employers. For the third year in a row, Glassdoor ranks Data Scientist as the hottest job across all sectors, not just IT. Analytics Manager also broke the top 20 list, coming in at number 19. All told, data analytics positions had four slots in the top 50, with Data Engineer ranking 33rd and Data Analyst ranking 38th.

Diverse NVTC Member Focus on Analytics

In the January 2018 survey mentioned above, 59 percent of NVTC members indicated they are pursuing the use of analytics in cybersecurity.  Data visualization and cluster computing/big data are also attracting a lot of attention across the NVTC member base, with 54 percent of survey respondents indicating they are exploring those focus areas. Other analytics specialties with significant NVTC member interest include data integration (51 percent adoption), artificial intelligence/machine learning/deep learning (46 percent adoption), and blockchain and Internet of Things applications (both at 41 percent adoption).

Growth in Analytics Market & Solutions Funding

Greater Washington businesses with analytics-supported products and services netted over $446 million in funding in 2017. The single largest deal was $80 million for DC-based Afiniti, a developer that uses AI to pair customers with employees based on behavior, while the average funding amount was $8.6 million. This massive amount of funding makes sense given that the market for big data-driven security is expected to grow to $11 billion by 2020, with homeland security and public safety organizations driving adoption of solutions are taking advantage of the abundance of data produced from smartphones, computers, IoT devices and other data sources, which indicates that NVTC members are ahead of the curve in their focus on developing analytics-based cybersecurity solutions.

With increased data analytics adoption both inside and outside of traditional IT sectors, it seems as though the primary limiting factor for this sector will be a lack of qualified talent, and the safe bet seems to be that Data Scientist will remain one of the hottest jobs for the foreseeable future.

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Listen up cyber startup companies: Greater Washington is the place to be for expansion; that’s according to top cyber CEOs building some of the biggest cyber growth companies today.

The region’s cyber leaders came together on November 15 at NVTC’s second annual Capital Cybersecurity Summit and shared their unique insights into scaling their businesses and their teams into world-class organizations in the Greater Washington region.

Panelists included John Ackerly, CEO and Co-Founder, Virtru; Rohyt Belani, Co-Founder and CEO, PhishMe; Jack Huffard, President, COO and Co-Founder, Tenable; and Tiffany Olson Jones, CEO, Distil Networks. BlueDelta Capital Partners Co-Founder Mark Frantz moderated.

Here are some of the key takeaways from the discussion:

  • In moving from startup to a growth company, panelists agreed that companies must fully engage their market segments and tighten their focus to ensure they are serving a specific customer need before expanding.
  • What sets Greater Washington apart from other regions for cyber growth companies? Employees. The region’s talented cyber workforce and its investment in the cyber mission is unmatched anywhere else. The region is retaining top cyber talent too.
  • Greater Washington must seize the opportunity to attract and retain millennial tech talent, especially in cybersecurity – and can serve as a national example in doing so.

Full video from the panel below:

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