MasterPeace Solutions is crossing the Potomac.
The Columbia-based cyber company acquired Full Suite Solutions (FSS), a Reston, Virginia-based company that provides software to intelligence community agencies.
With the deal, FSS cofounders Paul and Cait von Schnetlage will remain with the company in leadership roles. It brings the combined company, which will operate as MasterPeace to a team of about 100 employees. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
MasterPeace Solutions CEO Drew Cohen said it allows the company to bring its services into the other side of the DC metro area.
“We can take what MasterPeace is doing in the Columbia, Maryland area and expand it to similar clients in the Northern Virginia area,” Cohen told Technical.ly.
While MasterPeace is a government contractor, the focus for Cohen is on the technical talent at the company. MasterPeace doesn’t seek to land “prime” contracts, instead serving as a subcontractor and growing a team of engineers that can provide the best services to those bigger contracts. It has teams focused in areas including machine learning, cyber and network operations, UX and cloud DevOps. FSS will add to those capabilities.
It also centers opportunity to launch and work on startups. Through an in-house incubator program called MasterPeace LaunchPad, the company sets aside employee time to work on projects that could spin out into new companies, typically in emerging technology areas. It offers employees who join the teams equity in the companies as they work alongside MasterPeace’s leadership team to develop a business. It has led to the creation of startups like connected devices cybersecurity company Zuul and Yikes!, a cyber company designed to protect home and small business networks.
Entrepreneurship comes with tradeoffs, as most founders must ultimately decide whether to quit their jobs and start a company. MasterPeace offers both the stable work that comes with federal government contracting, and the chance to take part in the creativity and learning that comes with starting something new.
“We’re really seeing this startup model as something that differentiates us. It’s a reason for people to come to MasterPeace,” Cohen said. “The value of the equity of the startups is something that every MasterPeace employee gets.”
Now, that incubator program will have a Northern Virginia location, as well.
The companies first started discussing joining forces at the end of 2019, but the market shifts that followed the COVID-19 pandemic meant the deal didn’t come together until 18 months later. In particular, Cohen said the uncertainty surrounding government contracting and the switch to remote work that happened inside the federal government led the two sides to wait. But with the government showing that remote work can be an effective model, it is now moving forward.
In making an acquisition, seven-year-old MasterPeace is planning to grow its model on the one hand serving government clients, and on the other hand supporting the kind of creativity on its team that can lead to new tech companies.
“It takes us to another level,” Cohen said.
It also brings a need for more leadership to grow that company. To lead the integration, MasterPeace hired Jeanine Callahan as SVP of MasterPeace technology services. She brings 30 years of experience working with the intelligence community, and has served in roles scaling businesses with Northern Virginia firms including Plus3 IT Systems and Eagle Ray.-30-