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30 Under 40: Part II
September 18, 2013

30 Under 40:
Part II

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A common trait among our 30 Under 40 entrepreneurs is that they didn't always start out with the dream to launch a startup. (Everyone would rather be Derek Jeter than the guy who invented baseball.) See how an aspiring doctor, mechanical engineer, and two soldiers got lured into tech.

Brian Ballard

30 under 40-brian ballard
Before there was Google Glass, Brian Ballard's APX Labs was writing software in 2010 to power future "smart glasses" for enterprise users. Now the firm has over 50 employees working on powering the user interfaces and server side applications of these mobile devices. Brian, 33, says 2014 is going to be a breakout year for Smart Glasses, and he says APX has a good head start. On the side, he paints and airbrushes, plays lacrosse, and races motorcycles. (As if startup life wasn't daring enough.) Best business lesson: Trust yourself, your team, and your experiences to guide your business rather than the trap of overthinking. When you do act, always work with integrity as your foundation.

Kevin Lenane

Veenome founder Kevin Lenane was close to becoming Dr. Lenane, MD. He took a one-year program at Georgetown to prepare for med school and realized that he really liked building apps, which is what he did during undergrad at Wesleyan. Veenome has an API that lets ad networks, advertisers, and publishers know all about what video content is before they serve ads in front of it. The young startup has signed some big clients like Collective and BrightRoll, and Kevin, 33, has hired some senior developers to push the company further into self service. The native Bostonian once played college football as a defensive tackle and spends his free time on yoga and finding cheap travel deals. Best business lesson: Never focus on one deal, one investor, one customer, one feature. It's always good to have many pots on the stove.

Blake Hall and Matt Thompson

idme-blake and matt
Blake Hall, 30, and Matt Thompson, 33, met at Harvard Business School after serving combat deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. The former Army rangers traded their combat boots for laptops to start ID.me, an online service that validates the identity of soldiers, students, and first responders so they can receive discounts offered by retailers and other organizations. The business evolved from a daily deals service for military families to a distributed identity product that lives on third-party sites. Best lessons: Blake—Take individual responsibility when things go wrong; pass along credit to the team when things go right. Matt—Devote yourself completely and never surrender faith.

See below for recent news from ID.me.

Grant Verstandig

Well before he could even rent a car, Grant Verstandig launched Audax Health at the tender age of 21. The DC company has created fun online tools for people to track their health through partnerships with insurance companies and employers like Cigna, ValueOptions, and Cardinal Health. In over three years, it's raised over $55M in funding, opened offices in DC and San Francisco, hired 100 employees, and recruited board members and execs like former Apple CEO John Sculley, TIAA-CREF CEO Roger Ferguson, and former Zynga COO David Ko. Grant says the benefit and challenge to being so young is he doesn't have the scars from past failures. Best business lesson: Hire great people and get out of their way.

Tim McLaughlin

siteworx-tim mclaughlin
Three things you may not know about Siteworx founder Tim McLaughlin: he studied to be a mechanical engineer; he pursued a minor in music; and he lived in Scotland for a year. But what put the 37-year-old on this list is his digital agency of over 200 employees that has done all kinds of content management and web and mobile work for clients like Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, Time Warner Cable, AARP, and Citrix Online. One recent highlight was getting funding from RLH Equity Partners, a private equity firm that focuses on professional services businesses. Best business lesson: Pick good partners at home and work. A spouse can provide continuous support at home, which Tim says is a major part of his success.

Big thanks to our great partners in this process: New Atlantic Ventures, Greenberg Traurig, Deloitte, Jones Lang LaSalle, the Rosslyn BID, and Susan Groter from Insperity. We have many more talented entrepreneurs to feature in next week's Tech Bisnow.

All Hail Hailo

spon spot-hailo
As most city slickers know, hailing a cab is a fine art. Now, with Hailo, you don't even have to know how to whistle. Simply download the free app, and Hailo acts like a taxi magnet at any location. Jump out at your destination and get an instant receipt by email. No drama. All it takes is two taps on your iPhone or Android (easier than waving your arm at the curb). Also, all Bisnow readers get $10 off their first Hailo taxi ride by using the BISNOW10 promo code after you register for free. Hailo is the world's largest taxi network and works in some of the best towns for taxis—DC and NYC included. Next stop: the world. To download the app and find out more about our sponsor, Hailo, click here.

Grants For Safer Surfing

SOTU-pres obama
Five companies were chosen by the White House yesterday to develop ways to make online experiences safer and more reliable for the public. (We suggested taking away the e-mail privileges of the Nigerian royal family and are still awaiting our funding.) They'll get $7M in grants as part of the The National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace program, launched by the administration in 2011 and housed at NIST. One of those companies was McLean, Va.-based ID.me, which is getting a $1.2M grant to develop a way for military families to access sensitive information online from government agencies, financial institutions, and health care organizations in a private and safe way. The other organizations receiving grants are Exponent, Georgia Tech Research Corp, Privacy Vaults Online, and Transglobal Secure Collaboration Participation.

Steve's Message

Steve Case, whom we ran into at the Washington Economic Club breakfast yesterday, told us he's working hard on the tech immigration issue. He had a bottom line message for our readers: Get your representatives to support the comprehensive Senate reform package, to make a "world of talent" available to American startups. We also learned from keynote speaker Treasury Secretary Jack Lew that "a lot of headwinds" are dying down, sequestration is being absorbed, banks are way better capitalized, and the US is seen as a very attractive country for investment. 

What other bills should techies be supporting? Please tell Bisnow's Tania Anderson.

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