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The Numbers Are In: There are now 2,450 technology firms in Virginia that employ more than 290,000 people, according to a fresh report from George Mason University's Center for Regional Analysis. The report released last week, which is the first to look exclusively at Virginia, found that the technology sector now represents 1.5 percent of total firms, 11.5 percent of total employment and 15.4 percent of total earnings. The report was commissioned by Virginia's Center for Innovative Technology in Herndon, Va.

Deal of the Century: Novak Biddle Venture Partners LP, a venture capital partnership formed in June 1996, will have its initial closing on Feb. 12. The high-tech fund will be worth $20 million. According to Jack Biddle, a general partner, the fund closed in a record seven months. He said most funds take at least 18 months to close.

Biddle and his partner, Rogers Novak, expect 60 percent of their deals to be made in the Netplex. Since June, the two have been receiving one business plan a day from high-tech companies mostly in the Netplex. Three or four plans, he said, have already caught their eyes.

They plan to have a second close in about three months, hoping to grow the fund to $50 million through institutional investors.

Merger Action: Savant Corp. of Rockville, Md., and Lucas Associates of New York City merged Jan. 1. Laura Lucas, president of Lucas Associates, will share the helm with William Wynn, president and founder of Savant. The two will share equal responsibility over the company; she will serve as creative director and he will retain his current title. Savant will retain its headquarters in Maryland and have a new office in New York City. Savant, a data management company, merged with Lucas to strengthen its presence in the database tools market.

A Higher Profile: Gerald Gordon, executive director of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, got his title changed by commissioners of the authority. He will now serve as president. According to a spokesperson for the authority, the title of president better suited the authority's increasing focus overseas.

Have you heard some inside-the-Beltway news? Send tips and tattles to technews@technews.com with Beltway Biz written in the subject line.

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