Cybersecurity / Startups / Workplace culture

With a new office expansion, NoVa cyber company Shift5 has eyes on growth for 2023

The cybersecurity company has made DC its home since its founding in 2019. Here's what CEO Josh Lospinoso has planned for 2023.

Josh Lospinoso is cofounder and CEO of Shift5. (Photo via Linkedin)
Correction: This article has been updated since initial publication to revise and clarify inaccurate timelines for Shift5's plans in 2023, as well as note that its 54% growth was in employee headcount. (12/19/22, 10:22 a.m.) 

When US agencies started building digital components into their military weapons systems 30 years ago, the assumption was that they would be physically isolated systems, Shift5 CEO Josh Lospinoso said.

That meant that at the time, no one really thought about cybersecurity in military weaponry — a vulnerability he told he constantly encountered during his time in the Army.

“Cybersecurity folks have thought a whole lot about IT systems, cell phones, laptops, network gear, things of that nature,” Lospinoso said. “Military weapon systems are something that we, generally speaking, don’t really think about as computers. But the reality couldn’t be farther from the truth. A modern aircraft or ground system or maritime vessel is teeming with digital components.”

To help, he and cofounder Michael Weigand created Shift5, an operational tech data and cybersecurity company for planes, trains and tanks in 2019. Scrubbing forward to 2022, the company has raised millions; added a CFO, CTO and chief research officer; and was awarded several contracts with such prominent government agencies as the US Air Force. Now, it’s expanding its Northern Virginia office by 67% to keep up with the company’s growth and plans for the new year.

The company currently has 85 employees, though it plans to grow with Shift5’s anticipated office expansion. The company has been located at 1100 Wilson Boulevard in Rosslyn since its founding in 2019 — an agreement Lospinoso said began as a sublet when the company was building its initial prototype. In early 2020, it took over both the lease and even more office space as it continued to raise money.

“The office at 1100 Wilson has been a physical manifestation of the growth of the company,” Lospinoso said. “So it’s been really exciting to see that presence reflecting our growth.”

Lospinoso said that Shift5 has made the DC area its home and plans to stay there due to the region’s national security connections. He also cited another reason to stay close to the nation’s capital: that several of Shift5’s employees (and the cofounders) are veterans.

Now, it’s partnered with various Department of Defense customers for its cyber products. Lospinoso and the company’s leadership hope to make Shift5 the de facto cyber solution for weaponry. For 2023, the company aims to expand its products across fleets with existing customers and eventually move further into assets in the civilian world. Lospinoso specifically wants to move into commercial aviation and rail as the company grows.

So far, Shift5 has been funded through several venture capital raises. In 2019, it completed a seed round led by Squadra Ventures; It followed up with a $20 million Series A in 2021 and a $50 million Series B in 2022 that were led by 645 Ventures and Insight Partners, respectively. In total, the company has raised approximately $75 million in VC funds.

Raising again in 2023 is a possibility, Lospinoso confirmed, but the company doesn’t have any definite plans. But following its 54% year-over-year headcount growth, it does plan to continue its office expansion-enabled hiring streak, though he declined to share exactly how many positions Shift5 would add.

“We don’t see the growth slowing down over the next year,” Lospinoso said.


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