For Arlo Solutions cofounders Lonye Ford and Arlene Wube, recent nationwide recognition of its cyber offerings has been a long time coming.
The downtown DC-based government contracting firm focuses on cybersecurity and intelligence support for the Department of Defense and other federal government agencies. Last week, Arlo made it into the top tier of the 2021 Inc. 5000 list, Inc. Magazine’s directory of the fastest-growing private companies in the US, landing at #153 for its first appearance.
But the company’s history actually goes back almost a decade to its founding in 2014. After meeting through Wube’s husband, who now does business development for Arlo, the pair set out to develop their own company. Despite a complete lack of bank funding, Arlo has now grown to 40 employees, plus additional subcontractors, with plans to be at 100 by the end of the year and grow to 150 in 2022. (Check out currently open roles.)
“For us to see that type of growth and knowing that what we came in with was really thing and we built on our own, even from a financial standpoint, is truly one of the reasons I think that makes this award of that recognition just so monumental to us,” said Ford, who is Arlo’s CEO. “Because that really is a big deal to see that much financial growth without any form of an investor.”
The Inc. 5000 recognition is due to Arlo’s growth over the past three years. In that span, the company grew 2,758%, and in 2020 it added five government contracts for the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Department of Agriculture and Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence & Security. Ford told Technical.ly that the pair also recently signed a decade-long, multimillion-dollar contract with Verizon earlier this month, as well.
Per Ford, part of the reason for the company’s success has been due to its unique viewpoint: Instead of looking at fellow cybersecurity companies as competition, the cofounders searched for partnerships. Now, President and COO Wube said, Arlo partners with larger organizations such as Booz Allen Hamilton and Accenture in its cybersecurity and government contracting work, and it’s paid off.
“Seven years later, we kept our heads down. We got these clearances, these contracts, with our hard work, without asking anyone for anything,” Wube said. “So to really graduate from that phase, now we’re going to Arlo 2.0, it’s huge, and it’s like, ‘Wow, we achieved it, we did it, people recognize it.'”
Going forward, on top of the hiring plans, Arlo intends to continue on with its partnerships and potentially add more contracts as the team grows. Ford also hopes that Arlo’s success story can be an inspiration for others interested in starting their own business, and a nod to the impact larger organizations can have when they support small businesses.
For now, though, she said the focus will be on Arlo’s growth as the company moves forward.
“Our hope is that our foundation is so tight that now that we’re going to 40 to 150,” Ford said, “we really have our processes in place and our people and then now we just have to make sure we have the right structure for that growth.”
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