Shift5 Inc., a cybersecurity company that focuses on protecting transportation and military systems from cyberattacks, is nearly doubling its space in Arlington.
The veteran-run company has seen its headcount grow 54% since the start of 2022 to 85 employees. The HQ expansion comes as Shift5 is seeing revenue more than double year-over-year, said CEO and co-founder Josh Lospinoso, declining to share exact numbers, and as the company is planning continued hiring.
The cybersecurity company, which specializes in protecting transportation infrastructure and weapons systems from cyberattacks, was founded by former members of the U.S. Army Cyber Command. Lospinoso previously founded Baltimore cybersecurity company RedOwl Analytics, which was acquired by Raytheon and Forcepoint in 2017.
Roughly 80% of Shift5’s business is with defense customers, while the remaining 20% is with commercial clients, Lospinoso said. He noted that while the market downturn, high interest rates and general economic uncertainty of recent months have been “really difficult” for many, Shift5’s current customer base insulates it in many ways from current economic challenges.
“We exist in a space where we do significant business with the federal government,” Lospinoso said. “So our growth is really tied to defense priorities and the increase in our headcount of over 50% since 2022 is a reflection of us growing as a business.”
That bodes well for the firm’s future growth. Lospinoso said the company will continue to hire in 2023, although no exact number number has been decided on internally. Product development and customer success will be key areas, he said.
Next year, the company will expand its cybersecurity solutions into additional weapons systems fleets for the Department of Defense as part of a $950 million expansive contract the latter awarded Shift5 in March.
While today its federal customers far outweigh its commercial work, within a couple of years, Lospinoso estimates the two will near parity. “That’s just because, again, the size of the commercial fleets are so much larger than the size of even international ally militaries, plus the Department of Defense,” he said. That includes things like commercial aircrafts, locomotives and maritime vessels that carry not only passengers but cargo across the world.
In February, Shift5 raised $50 million in its second funding round in just four months; it brought in $20 million in October 2021. Since then, it’s gone on to hire a number of top-level executives, including Chief Financial Officer Robert Sison, formerly of Mountain View, California’s BigPanda Inc., a maker of artificial intelligence software. It also hired a chief research officer, chief technology officer, and promoted an employee to chief revenue officer, Lospinoso said.
And while Lospinoso is no stranger to mergers and acquisitions, having sold RedOwl Analytics for $54 million in 2017, he said the team is “building this company for the long term.”