The Pentagon is huge. How did you find the right people inside to listen to your product ideas?
We had a reputation from when we served in the military that allowed us to at least be heard. We had done some good things. When we asked for a meeting, they didn't think we were some crazy person. ... It's more about selling other defense contractors and companies. They have a contract with the government. If the solution that you have helps them fulfill their requirement, it's an easier route for them to take. It's more about finding someone who's already been tasked to do something revolutionary and partnering with them to do it.
The military budget is supposed to be contracting in the coming years? Are you concerned?
The government has a certain amount of resources to build this technology for the war fighters. As these big programs get canceled, that frees up resources for companies like mine to create these better-value solutions. For me, it's actually a very good thing. The people who provide the best solutions now have a freer amount of resources that can be allocated.
This past week, you opened a 6,600-square-foot office in Baltimore. Why choose to open in this city, as opposed to some place closer to the Pentagon, in Northern Virginia or the Washington suburbs?
We're all in on Baltimore. My wife and I, when we met, we lived in Columbia. We used to live in Locust Point. We fell in love with this area. We decided we were here to stay. I like its roots in blue collar, which means people work for a living. ...
I also think people here are crafty enough, smart enough, to be leaders in technology. You can get a lot of talent here. An entrepreneur's dream is to go into a place that has great potential. When you go in to D.C. or Northern Virginia, a lot of it is already baked. It's too baked to figure out where you fit in.
On top of starting up a company, you've also launched your own nonprofit called Digital Harbor Foundation? Why?
We're giving a percentage of profits to charity. We were throwing lots of money into nonprofits in Northern Virginia and D.C., and I couldn't see what they were doing with the money. I decided to start my own nonprofit focused in Baltimore, that's focused on bringing technology talent up in Baltimore. ... We're going to give scholarships and [train] kids. We're going to incentivize companies to come to Baltimore.