Bob Kocher of Ideal Innovations | Photo by Mark Rhodes
Their faces may not be as recognizable as the characters on the “CSI” television series, but just like them, Bob Kocher and his team at Ideal Innovations Inc. help stop the bad guys.
“Our work includes forensics where we take fingerprints off of bombs and process evidence from crime scenes. We also focus on biometric collection and base-access security systems,” says Kocher, the company’s founder.
Arlington-based Ideal is a leader in biometrics technologies and services. Biometrics involves identification by fingerprints, facial recognition and DNA.
Ideal officials say it was the first U.S. company to implement an automated fingerprint identification system in Iraq and the first to develop in conjunction with Northrop Grumman Corp. biometrically enabled smart cards for access to U.S. bases there. In addition, Ideal developed and produced identification cards for the Iraqi Ministry of the Interior. “We anticipate the need and put together a valuable solution,” Kocher says.
The company also helps the military by providing scientific engineering support to analyze threats posed by improvised explosive devices (IEDs), deadly bombs used by insurgents in Iraq. Ideal was the first company to build a vehicle that could effectively stop large roadside bombs called explosively formed penetrators (EFPs).
Kocher’s expertise in forensics and identity management stems from his experience in the military. A graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, he served in the Army from 1976 through 1997. Before opening Ideal, he worked as program manager for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
His company now has 318 employees at locations in the U.S. and the Middle East. Ideal made the Inc. 500 list in 2007 and 2008. It also ranked as the 53rd fastest growing company in North America on Deloitte’s 2008 Technology Fast 500. Last year revenues rose by 60 percent.
Kocher credits the company’s growth in part to its ability to attract top talent and subject-matter experts. “We have the top talent in forensics,” he says. “We are in tune with what the client needs.“
2009 Fantastic 50 | TECHNOLOGY: Ideal Innovations Inc.