For Acquired Data Solutions founder and president Steve Seiden, starting a cyber and data business came a lot sooner than he may ever have imagined.
After graduating and working for a brief three weeks as a contractor for a cyber company in Maryland, he was struck with a choice: go big or go home.
“The owners left the company and said ‘Either get a job or take over the company’ so I [decided] to put together a contract and start Acquired Data Solutions,” Seiden told Technical.ly.
Today, 20-year-old Acquired Data Solutions, which is based in Rockville, Maryland but works virtually, offers test and system engineering, as well as cybersecurity and integration in the government and commercial sectors.
It has posted 54.5% revenue growth over the past two years, and Seiden said it’s achieved full government contractor status as of late. The company also added six members to its team over the last 18 months — and counting. In August, Acquired also managed to land a spot on the Inc 5000’s regional list for the 250 fastest-growing companies in DC, at #225.
Seiden credits the growth with the sudden need for companies to move virtual in early 2020, which meant implementing cybersecurity, among other technical and data requirements. Contracting, he noted, was faster than training those already on-staff or making new hires, which is part of the reason it was appealing to many.
He saw “people needing to hire more skilled staff during that time because they needed some expertise, where before you could have the time to train people,” Seiden said. “The time to train people disappeared.”
For Seiden, this meant prioritizing the team alongside the company’s contracting boom. A self-proclaimed “self-compassion advocate” stemming from a period after its founding when he said he focused too much on ADS’ success, Seiden said he continues to push a work/life balance for his employees, as well as himself.
ADS works to give back, as well. In the summertime, the company hosts a STEM-themed camp alongside the Marion Barry Summer Youth Employment program, where students can learn tech skills and career development.
Going forward, Seiden said the company will be targeting operational technology efforts (aka anything like a car, bus or train that used to be manual but now requires a computer).
Cybersecurity, in particular, he said, will also be a focus for Acquired. As frontline workers continue to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, he noted that there’s a very parallel effort to fighting cybersecurity hacks and viruses, like the ransomware attack on Howard University earlier this month.
“Were targeting this to be around viruses. Both coronaviruses and cybersecurity viruses are very similar,” Seiden said. “They get out they spread, they have to be contained. It’s all very similar stuff that’s happened in 2020 and 2021. We’re all chasing viruses of some sort.”-30-