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May 21, 2014
Finding Business and Love
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A DC entrepreneur raised $30k on Kickstarter this week to make a docu-series on her mission to start a company in 90 days and find love at the same time.
The series, called Love & Business, 90 Days To Launch, will start releasing episodes this summer and could be distributed online or through a “major" network, says Giadha Aguirre De Carcer. She's also deciding which of three businesses to launch during the filming. The ideas include: an app to visualize how a large furniture piece would look in a room with a drag and drop function; a behind-the-scenes look at producing Love & Business, which has expansion plans (more on that below); and selling market data and analytics on the cannabis industry. So why also tackle love? Giadha says single-female entrepreneurs can relate to the challenge of balancing a startup with a personal life.
Giadha, who has advisors like Fortify VC and StartupLand producer Jonathon Perelli (pictured) and Priceline cofounder Jeff Hoffman, says she was inspired to do the series from her own experiences with gender discrimination and seeing the disparity between funding for male-vs female-led startups. Giadha, who came to the US during high school after growing up in Italy, Spain, and France, says she doesn't want the series to come across as male hating because she thinks they're just as confused about gender roles. Her plan is to continue the docu-series to feature female entrepreneurs globally and start a seed fund for female entrepreneurs with proceeds from the docu-series.
Giadha, at the recent Love & Business launch party, worked in investment banking and then launched GNI International in 2007. The company's wireless solution monitored driving behavior for safety and efficiency. It couldn't afford to renew its patent and Progressive Car Insurance came out with a comparable version two weeks after GNI's patent pending expired. Since then she has been consulting US companies that want to expand to emerging markets and running a nonprofit that helps female entrepreneurs. She also launched Venture Camp, a live/work incubator for startups. She moved to DC after 9/11 to pursue a master's. She was the only person from her former investment banking team in New York to survive the terrorist attacks.
Veenome's 2014 Outlook
It's looking like another big year for online advertising, which bodes well for Veenome. It helps online advertisers track where their ads are going and how they're being viewed and for how long. Founder Kevin Lenane, who runs the company out of Über offices in Arlington, Va., says the company has expanded its market from working with ad networks and adtech to agencies that buy ads for their clients and brands. The company recently signed the public agency and ad network EQWorks and a few others that can't be named quite yet.
Veenome, which saw 600% revenue growth from '12 to '13, was recently featured in a New York Times article about how online advertisers don't have a sense of where their ads are ending up. One source found their ads on porn sites, for example. Kevin says since the article, 15 ad agencies have asked Veenome to demo or license its product. Kevin tells us he'll be selling aggressively in New York and enhancing it with neural network technology that further automates the process. Veenome will go from eight employees to 14 and possibly add another round of funding to the $2M already raised.
Come to the Bisnow SuperSchmooze!
Every couple years, you veterans may remember, we put on a big pure networking and food event—so big we can only call it "SuperSchmooze!" The evening of June 12 is our next one. Bring your business cards, and your appetite to the old ESPN Zone downtown. But instead of finding games there, you will find over 20 of DC's top restaurants, offering some of their best food. Plus, a big open bar. And you will find our readers from every local field of business: tech, law, association, finance, commercial real estate, and government, all converging for two hours of fun, food, and schmooze. More info and sign up!
The DC Corporate Sports Games Wants You
Business people understand this: It all ends with the tug of war. That's why the May 31 fundraiser, The DC Corporate Sports Games, challenges all you superstars to a half day of feats of strength, culminating with a fervid tug-of-war (team openings still available). The event benefits The DC Children and Youth Investment Trust Corp's Team Up DC Youth Sports Network, which uses sports and fitness to assist youth in succeeding on the field and in life.Funds will go toward a coaches' certification program, a workforce development program, and a partnership withthe Washington Redskins. Challenges include a putting competition, an obstacle course, and track events. A march-in ceremony is just one more way you'll be able to strut your stuff. Team registration ends on May 28 at 5pm. Click here to register. For more info on our sponsor, click here.
Vornado Goes Green
Yesterday, Vornado/Charles E. Smith (here's COO Patrick Tyrell) hosted its Green Fair, one of the largest private sustainability education program/expos in the DC region, at 251 18th St in Crystal City. Crystal City is truly the “Emerald City,” with Metro, Capital Bikeshare, recycling, multiple charging stations, making it the perfect venue for the Green Fair. Over 300 of Vornado's property managers and engineers who run the firm's 20M SF very green portfolio were in attendance—plus over 20 of Washington's top energy-forward companies. Vornado is the largest owner of LEED certified property in the Washington area (and the US) and their green focus permeates every part of the organization. With energy efficiency the theme of the day, its Green Fair also featured the firm's fleet of hybrid “Vornado Volts," one of which Patrick poses with here. For more info on our sponsor, click here.
Exofab has sold over 40,000 of its iPhone cases throughout Europe. And now the two-man team is hitting the US. Best friends and Exofab founders George Boosalis, who lives in Falls Church, Va., and Agapios Papadamantiou, who lives in Greece, are meeting with major US retailers and have started marketing the case through online advertising. The sticky but thin gel cover sticks to glass, so it's being marketed as the first hands-free selfie phone case. The stickiness was a hit in Europe with night clubs and bars selling the cases to patrons.
George is married to Kalomira, a popular Greek pop star who won the talent show Fame Story. Development of the $35 case started three years ago with the help of 3M to create an adhesive sticky enough to hold the case for 12 months but not so sticky that it ruins the phone or sticks to the inside of pockets or purses. The cases, which are sold through Amazon, can also be personalized with buttons of sports teams, flags, or special holidays that lay over the Apple icon. The Exofab team, which is getting mentored by Lemur founder Will Fuentes, says the company is capitalized but they're interested in bringing on VCs and angels with retail connections.
What are your professional and personal summer plans? Tell Bisnow's Tania Anderson for a special summer kick-off issue.