Cisco to buy local software company Broadsoft for $1.9 Billion

Cisco BroadsoftCisco Systems, the major Internet hardware provider, is buying Gaithersburg-based Broadsoft, Inc. for $1.9 billion; the companies made a joint announcement Oct. 23.

Broadsoft, which according to securities disclosures has about 200 employees at two locations in Gaithersburg, supplies corporations with software platforms for customer service, internal communications, and cloud migration. It has customers in 80 countries, including 25 of the 30 largest Internet service providers worldwide, ranked by revenue.

While headquartered in Gaithersburg, Broadsoft has more than 1,700 employees worldwide.

For San Jose, Calif.-based Cisco, the Broadsoft acquisition is part of a wide-ranging move in the last several years to add web and cloud applications and services to its product portfolio, explained Rowan Trollope, Cisco senior vice president, in a telephone press conference. Broadsoft also brings in many small- and medium-sized businesses to Cisco as customers, he said.


White Flint, White Oak possible Amazon sites logo1Sites in the White Flint area of Rockville and the White Oak area of Silver Spring may be included in Montgomery County’s proposal to Amazon to host the latter’s second headquarters.

As previously reported, as many as 100 states and localities in the United States and Canada are submitting proposals, which are due to Amazon on Oct. 19. Amazon will sift through these first-round bids, and from them choose semi-finalists and finalists in second and third rounds of bidding, before choosing a single location sometime next year. Amazon expects the second headquarters to bring 50,000 mostly high-skilled, high-paying jobs to the winning jurisdiction.

There is no clear public information on what sites, financial incentives, and other features are in the County’s proposal. Amazon is demanding that jurisdictions applying for “HQ2” keep their proposals out of the public eye. David Petr, CEO of the Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation, told the Sentinel that he is under a nondisclosure agreement with Amazon on this matter. MCEDC is the entity submitting the County’s proposal to Amazon.


Four MoCo companies secure $2.5 billion satellite contract

satellite1Four Montgomery County companies are among 19 firms nationwide selected by the General Services Administration to provide satellite services to federal agencies.

There are at least 1,500 mostly high-tech jobs in the satellite industry in the County. That’s based on figures provided by Germantown’s Hughes Network Systems, by far the largest satellite company in the County and among the largest in the nation, as well as information from UltiSat in Gaithersburg.

The other companies selected by GSA were AIS Engineering of Silver Spring and RiteNet Corp. of Rockville. There were also 11 firms chosen from elsewhere in the D.C. area, and four firms outside the area.

Federal agencies use satellites for many functions, including communicating between and within agencies, military surveillance, earth and space observation and other scientific uses, satellite research and development, navigation, broadcasting, emergency assistance both domestic and foreign, and operational activities like employee training and fleet and asset tracking.


Business Incentives at Work: Fox Comes to County, Discovery Consolidates

Fox Broadcasting Company affiliates WTTG and WDCA will move from Northwest D.C. to Bethesda in 2021, bringing more than 200 employees to the County.

Discovery Communications will consolidate 230 technical and creative people, now working on Kennett Street in downtown Silver Spring, to its headquarters on Georgia Avenue in 2018.

Economic development incentives from Montgomery County and the State of Maryland are fostering both moves. The incentives include grants from the County, loans from the State, and tax breaks from both.


Benefit corporations: businesses with social purposes

Registering a company as a “benefit corporation” gives a for-profit company official recognition “as a business that has a purpose,” says Gary Skulnik, CEO of Neighborhood Sun, a Bethesda startup that fosters “community solar” projects.

Perry Hooks, president of Hooks Book Events, another benefit corporation in Bethesda, said, “Business can be for good. Business should be part of the solution.”

Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-8), back in 2010 when he was a state senator, led the effort to add benefit corporations to Maryland statutes, said Skulnik. He added that Maryland was among the first states to have such a law, and the first to allow limited liability companies to designate themselves as benefit LLCs.


Doctors and patients show strong interest in medical marijuana

Medical MarijuanaMany thousands of marijuana plants began growing in the last two weeks in Maryland, as the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission licensed eight more growers, to join the one licensed back in May.

Because the growers were not allowed to begin planting until they were fully licensed and the plants have a three-month or slightly longer growing cycle, the state is not likely to have substantial amounts of medical marijuana product available until November, as previously reported, or even December.

MMCC also licensed four processors on Aug. 14. They work as “middlemen” between growers and dispensaries and create products for administering and ingesting cannabis materials.

Forward Gro in the Baltimore area, the grower licensed in May, declined to say whether it had begun crops back then or waited until processors and dispensaries were available for its output. “Forward Gro is working diligently to get its first product to market,” said spokesperson Vicki Bendure of Bendure Communications. “Timing on processing and distribution is still to be determined.”

As of Aug. 22, the state still had only one fully-licensed dispensary: Wellness Solutions in Frederick.


Bethesda proves to be “Ground Zero” for hotel businesses

Bethesda is one of the top places in the country for companies on both the ownership and management sides of the hotel business.

J.W. “Bill” Marriott, Jr., CEO of Marriott International Inc. from 1972 to 2011 and still executive chairman, led the lodging industry’s separation of management and ownership functions for larger, higher-end properties. Until the 1980s, hotel owners in all price ranges generally managed their own properties, and chains had either central ownership or franchising deals holding them together.

Marriott concentrated on the management side of the business, developing the powerful marketing synergies of nationwide and worldwide hotel brands, as well as expertise and cost savings in hotel operations.


Council and businesses consider innovation to bring in the jobs

Founders of successful Montgomery County businesses discussed why they’re in the County and how they thought it can maintain the inflow of innovative businesses and jobs in a June 20 learning session with all nine County Council members.

David Petr, CEO of the Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation, who organized the event, said the many key components of an attractive package for innovative businesses include: (1) a talented workforce; (2) good real estate space in which to locate; (3) capital access through banking and venture capital; (4) good transportation within the jurisdiction and to the rest of the country and the world; (5) clusters of expertise in particular businesses; (6) good local education systems, both K-12 and university; (7) an effective workforce development program; (8) openness to change and innovation; (9) nurturing small businesses and incubator programs in fields with special promise; (10) and a good community in which to live.

“We crush Fairfax County” on standards such as place to live, education systems, work-life balance and traffic, said Tien Wong, founder/CEO of Opus8 in Chevy Chase, a statement that brought smiles and support from Council members.