TechConnect: Shift5, Inc.

This month’s TechConnect Profile will highlight Arlington-based Shift5. Founded in 2018, Shift5 is a computer software and cybersecurity company that offers interlocking products from hardware to SaaS that defend customers’ fleet assets through data capture, visualizations, analytics and alerts.

In July 2021, The Software Report named CEO Josh Lospinoso one of the Top 25 Cybersecurity CEOs of 2021. Shift5 has also been working closely with the Army’s Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office (RCCTO) in an ongoing project to deliver a vehicle security system for a critical ground vehicle platform. Under the initial $2.6 million OTA, awarded November 12, 2020, Shift5 will provide a unified cybersecurity solution designed to help protect the operational technology of the Army’s Stryker combat vehicle platform.   

We connected with Shift5’s CEO, Josh Lospinoso, to discuss cyber threats, the company’s rapid growth, the advantages of being based in Arlington and the future for the company. Hear what he had to say.

Shift5 has experienced rapid growth in revenues and employees over the last 18 months. What has contributed towards this growth and what has the experience been scaling the business to accommodate its growth? 

Josh: Our revenue growth is a recognition that cyber-physical attacks are the next frontier of cyberattacks. Fleet assets like aircraft, maritime vessels, heavy equipment and military weapon systems were designed for reliability and robustness in the physical world, but they were never designed to resist cyberattacks against a witting adversary. Over the past 40 years, we’ve seen more and more digital components accumulate onto our fleet assets. These digital components make fleet assets smarter, more flexible, lighter, cheaper and faster to produce. Unfortunately, it has also opened a very large surface area for attackers to cause devastating impacts. 

Our recruiting success is a reflection of the critical nature of our mission. In 2018, the Government Accountability Office released a report called Weapon Systems Cybersecurity. It’s a call to action to protect the billions of dollars of fleet assets that the military relies on. These fleet assets are very similar to the even larger pool of fleet assets that underpin modern civilian life — from commercial aircraft to freight trains. This mission resonates deeply. 

As an Arlington-based business, what do you see are some of the biggest assets for businesses as they launch and grow their tech startups here? 

Josh: We’re proud to call Arlington home. There is a deep bench of talent that we’re able to access in the Northern Virginia, D.C. and Maryland area. We have physical access to important customers. We’re embedded in a thriving metropolitan area with quick access to both regional and international travel. The business environment is very friendly. We see the greater D.C. area as a high-growth economic area into the foreseeable future and we’re excited to be part of it! 

You were recently named one of the Top 25 Cybersecurity CEOs of 2021. Congratulations! As a top cybersecurity CEO, what are you seeing as some of the biggest cyber threats to businesses in 2021? 

Josh: Cyber-physical attacks against fleets are the next cybersecurity frontier. We’re now in an era where cyber-physical intrusions are affecting our daily lives. Just this year, people were unable to pump gas. We were legitimately concerned about food security. New Yorkers couldn’t rely on public transportation. We are thinking twice about the water coming out of our taps. Ship operators can’t trust their sensor data

Unfortunately, cyberattackers are finding six or seven figure payouts as they’ve perpetrating ransomware attacks. This is a very lucrative criminal activity which I believe we’ll see increasing in frequency into the foreseeable future. Fleet assets are expensive to own and operate, and they typically play a central business role. They’re also packed with digital components and are increasingly becoming connected for remote access. Coupled with their relatively poor security posture, this makes them a juicy target for cyberattackers looking to extort businesses. 

Can you speak about Shift5’s plans for the future? What’s in store for the Shift5 team in the next 3-5 years? 

Josh: I’m beyond proud of everything that my Shift5 teammates have accomplished so far — but we have a long way to go. There is an enormous number of completely unprotected and highly vulnerable fleet assets around the world operated by businesses and governments alike. These move people and goods across the planet and underpin modern society. We aim to be the world’s experts in defending these critical assets from cyberattack. It’s an enormous undertaking, but it’s possible thanks to the team we’re building and the partnerships we’re forging. 

For more information on Shift5 and its products and services, visit their site. If you are a startup tech company looking to launch or grow your business in Northern Virginia, please visit AED's resource page and contact Adam Henry, Business Development Manager for more information.  


About this Profile Series  

Arlington's startup ecosystem has been rapidly expanding over the past five years and is quickly becoming recognized as an established innovation hub in the United States. Since 2015, Arlington-based companies have generated 250 venture activity deals totaling over $35.7 billion covering several industries, including software, cybersecurity, fintech, big data, digital media, and more. AED launched its monthly TechConnect Profiles to highlight and profile companies in our technology startup ecosystem.  

Topic: BIG Update
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