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September 2, 2008
 
 
 
THREE HOT
COMPANIES

Free-of-charge to our readers! Announcing Bisnow's Fall Happy Hour co-hosted by the Capitol Riverfront BID and JPI. Come check out the views of the Capitol and the ballpark, have a drink, and network on the rooftop of the just-opened Jefferson at Capitol Yards luxury apartments. Tues., Sept 16, 6-8pm. One-block from the Navy Yard metro (Half St & I St SE), free parking. Sign up now!

 

When we went to see Clearspring CEO Hooman Radfar in his McLean office last week, we were impressed that company chairman Ted Leonsis was already there meeting with him—though it meant we had to wait a couple extra minutes. We're guessing they were trying to figure out how to stop all the Obama-like buzz surrounding one of the region's fastest-growing companies so they can actually get some work done.

 

Okay, they might also have been discussing Hooman's focus on finding new ways for people to share widgets (portable mini-Web applications like a game) among social networking platforms. "Sites like MySpace and Facebook are great, but they are their own universes, so our goal is to find ways to bring those worlds together," Hooman told us. Those logos on the wall represent some of 80 platforms on which Clearspring already lets users share widgets. The company also helps customers like ESPN, Honda, and NBC create, market, track and monetize their widgets. Hooman says Clearspring distributed nearly four billion widgets last month, making the 77-person outfit one of the world leaders in the field.

 

Hooman started the company in 2004 after studying social networking trends at Carnegie Mellon. He began in his hometown of Pittsburgh, but after receiving funding from locals Leonsis, Steve Case, and Novak Biddle, moved to DC. That's all great, but Hooman is ready for the start of football season where he roots (and that is a gross understatement) for his hometown Steelers.


OLYMPIAN JUDGMENT
 

Did you think the Olympics were behind us? The 2012 games are scheduled for London, but Expert Choice CEO Rich Dougherty tells us his Arlington-based decision-making software firm may help the International Olympic Committee pick the host of the 2016 games. Expert Choice recently launched a site asking visitors to choose the venue for '16. "A few hours after we launched, a member of the IOC called inviting us to Switzerland," Rick says. If they do something together, it would not be their first big deal: The 25-year-old company's software has been used by the Joint Chiefs to prioritize terror threats and by Sprint/Nextel to streamline operations during their merger.

 

Rich says Expert Choice is used by more than 100 of Fortune 500 companies, and launched its Software-as-a-Service platform last year to help clients prioritize decisions using weighted criteria that users themselves create. They've even asked what kind of golf ball works best, Rich says. Rich grew up in Richmond and has degrees from UVA and North Carolina (thankfully he prefers the Wahoos over the Heels). Rich came to Expert Choice in 2001 as CEO after working as a VP at Statusphere, an IT services firm, and Dell where he ran the workstation, server and storage lines for the company's $2 billion medium-sized business sales division. Presumably he consulted Expert Choice before switching.


SUCCESS!
 

Do they look richer? We still see metal cabinets. But nine months after selling to Bay Area-based Irdeto for $72.5 million, software security provider Cloakware finds itself in an enviable position: "For once we can make long-term plans instead of trying to live quarter-to-quarter," says company president and COO David Canellos, who we met last week at his Vienna office. Cloakware, which maintained its operations procedures—and cool name—in the sale, protects software in everything from video games and MP3 players to government networks and help large organizations meet compliance requirements related to password management. David came to the 120-person company that was founded in Ottawa in 1997 after working as a VP at Cramer Systems. He's also worked in sales and Biz Dev for Oracle, Versatility and SAIC.


David Stegon gave blood yesterday for a pint of ice cream. He'll come interview you for a bag of M&Ms, so send story ideas to David@Bisnow.com.

 
 
 
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