COMPANIES

Deep contracting roots propel small firm forward

One a government contractor, always a government contractor; at least, such is the case for Aveshka president and CEO Girish Jindia.

In the 1980s, Jindia co-founded Advanced Technology with Bob LaRose. It was there that he met Bob Martin, who is Aveshka's senior vice president of business development. The two worked together before AdTech was sold to Emhart Corp.

After AdTech was sold, Jindia went on to launch Integic Corp. with LaRose while Martin began working at PRC. Years later, Girish sold Integic Corp. to Northrop Grumman and was freed up in time for Jindia’s “next big project,” as he called it—his daughter’s wedding.

That was 2008. In late 2009, Jindia’s wife began prodding him to use his government contracting expertise once again, so he cut her a deal: he would embark on a new contracting journey if she picked the name.

“I wanted to focus on the national security area,” Jindia told Washington Technology, adding that the name needed to begin with the letter “A” so that it was top of the list. “It had to be pronounceable to the local natives and it needs to mean something regarding what we’re going to do.”

The two settled on Aveshka, derived from the Hindi word, “aveshkar,” which means innovation and discovery.

Jindia ran into Martin at former partner Bob Larose's wake in 2010, and the two were linked once again.

Founded in 2010, Aveshka provides analytics, cybersecurity, policy planning, preparedness and emergency management to a number of defense and civilian agencies involved with protecting the homeland.

Aveshka is a unique small business because it paints in very broad strokes across the government; instead of being a small business that focuses on one or two customers, Aveshka has close to 20 different contracts, Martin said.

“That diversity gives us a little bit more agility and flexibility and also resilience to changing budgets,” he added.

To get the company off the ground, Jindia invested in his people. The company might be small, but Aveshka has dedicated departments for human resources, contracts, finance and business development.

“If somebody was to look at us from the outside in, and look at us from an organizational perspective, they would think that we are a lot bigger of a company than our actual revenue, and that was by design,” Jindia said.

Aveshka finished 2015 with $16.5 million and landed the No. 4 spot on Washington Technology's Fast 50 rankings with a compound annual growth rate of 127.5 percent over five years. The company employees around 130 people.

“I wanted to have breadth first, before depth,” Jindia said—work that was meaningful and made an impact on the customer, which he added was a value he learned from LaRose.

High up on the list when the company was getting its sea legs was infrastructure, Martin added. Aveshka’s infrastructure allows the company to scale up quickly when it wins a contract instead of digesting it for six months, he said. “This way, we can sustain momentum.”

The company is also aware of the importance of competing in unrestricted procurements.

“Typically, when you have contracts and bids that are small business set asides, 99.8 percent of the time, the small businesses basically puts their name up and does very little else in terms of a proposal or capture effort,” Jindia said.

It does not matter to him if the company is a prime or a sub; what matters, Jindia said, is that Aveshka carries its weight.

Looking forward, the company has its sights set on organic growth. Though Aveshka acquired the homeland security unit of Civitas Group in March 2012, the company does not foresee any acquisitions in the near future.

“Right now, I think we’re having too much fun doing what we’re doing; we enjoy the competitive landscape and going after business and capturing and performing,” Jindia said.

“We’d like to do $100 million [in revenue] by 2020, and that’s kind of what my personal goal is from a program development perspective,” Martin said.

And business is looking up for Aveshka; the company is waiting to hear back on a protest decision of a contract that could push its total business revenue past what it made last year, Jindia said.

At the end of the day, Martin said, it is an all-hands-on-deck effort.

About the Author

Mark Hoover is a senior staff writer with Washington Technology. You can contact him at mhoover@washingtontechnology.com, or connect with him on Twitter at @mhooverWT.

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