Virtru, a data-protection cyber company, opens its new offices on Wednesday. Known as The Hub, the 17,000-square-foot space will foster innovation with programs and events alongside the daily workday.
With this endeavor, the company is the first awardee of the DC Vitality Fund, from the district’s Comeback Plan, to revive downtown office space.
This space is double the size of the previous headquarters for Virtru, which was founded in 2012. Leadership signed a 13-year lease for the space, according to CEO and cofounder John Ackerly, which he said goes hand in hand with the company’s work.
“The investment that we made in physical space is really a manifestation of the broader mission of what Virtru is trying to achieve: to bring people together to solve what’s been a decades-long and pernicious challenge of how to give people and companies real agency over their information,” Ackerly told Technical.ly. “It’s a challenge that no one company can solve on its own.”
At The Hub, the 194-person company will host events and programming to lead tech workers and companies in discussions about cybersecurity. They will include roundtable discussions, training programs or meetups, Ackerly said. Community engagement will also revolve around topics related to, but not centered on, data privacy.
The space itself won’t be filled with every single staffer at all times, though. Virtru still operates remotely for those located outside of DC, and people local to the area only have to work in person 50% of the time. As Ackerly said, it’s not a time-stamp kind of culture — just one that values an in-person space when necessary.
“People are more productive when they’re in person. That’s possible, but you better make sure that there’s programming and a reason to be together,” Ackerly said. “If you’re just doing the same work that you can do at home, then stay at home.”
Virtru’s new workspace is partially funded by the DC Vitality Fund, a multi-year, performance-based incentive program for companies looking to relocate or expand in DC. The fund is part of the district’s Comeback Plan, which was announced earlier this year to set economic goals for the next year, as well as encourage businesses to stay in DC and add new jobs. Virtru is the first awardee of the Vitality Fund and has worked with the city in the past on a number of programs.
“We couldn’t be more thrilled to have Virtru stay and grow here in the District. For years, Virtru has been at the forefront of DC’s burgeoning tech industry,” said DC’s Interim Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Keith Anderson in an email to Technical.ly. “And the District is particularly proud to be able to support Virtru [to] open their beautiful new headquarters as the first awardee of the Vitality Fund. We look forward to continuing to support innovative employers, particularly in the tech and cybersecurity space, [and] create more in-person jobs and workspace in Downtown DC.”
“We’re proud to have incredible companies like Virtru that are choosing to grow and expand right here in the Capital of Innovation,” added DC Mayor Muriel Bowser in the same email. “At the heart of DC’s comeback is how we bring people back together — to live, work and play. And we’re using every tool at our disposal, including the Vitality Fund, to attract and support employers that will help us bring the people, fill the space, and create a thriving Downtown DC.”
Ackerly said that the investments the city is making to reverse the tide and revitalize downtown are part of a tough battle, but one he is confident in for the future of downtown DC and areas like the Golden Triangle.
“We’re seeing some really good green shoots here post-pandemic and I’m really excited that we’re in the heart of downtown,” Ackerly said.
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