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30 Under 40: Part IV
September 25, 2013

30 Under 40: Part IV

Our next set of 30 Under 40 entrepreneurs are doing everything from automating complex seating plans to delivering news. It will make those of us over 40 who are just now learning how to use Siri feel our age.

Tobin Moore and Adam Vitarello

optoro-tobin and adam
Photo: Lateef Mangum
Optoro has grown from 30 employees to over 100 since summer 2011 and has recently raised $25M from well known investors like the Revolution Growth fund (led by Ted Leonsis and Steve Case) and Grotech. And it's all from letting retailers sell returned and excess inventory using its software and an online marketing platform. The DC-based company was launched by Tobin Moore and Adam Vitarello, both 31, in 2008. (They're here with Mayor Vincent Gray at the ribbon cutting of their new HQ last week.) The DC natives were school friends at St. Alban's and then Brown University, launching eSpot in 2004. And they've spread their entrepreneurial bug to family: Tobin encouraged his sisters to launch Tuckernuck.com, and Adam helped his brother start The Fojol Brothers, the first food truck in DC. Best business lesson: Solve a real problem for your customers and the money will follow; hire people who take ownership of their actions; and don't take anything too seriously.
Wingate (LittleGuys) MTEC

Dan Berger

social tables-dan berger
Social Tables' diagramming software has grabbed the attention of clients like Renaissance, Crowne Plaza, and Sheraton, and has raised $1.6M. It automates room layouts and seating schemes, and provides a check-in app. In fact, founder Dan Berger and his team have brought on over 700 customers in a year. And he likes to boast that most of his team is made up of long-time DC area residents. He was born in Israel but grew up in New York until 2008, when he moved to DC to attend Georgetown's business school. Best business lesson: There's no such thing as too much laser focus; be extremely disciplined with hiring; and if there's one thing to get right, it's customer service.

Logan Soya

aquicore-logan soya
Logan Soya, 29, grew up watching space shuttles take off and land at Cape Canaveral from his back yard. So it's little wonder he launched a tech company after getting his MBA at Georgetown. Aquicore is a web-based enterprise software platform that helps commercial building managers get real-time feedback to improve overall operations and maintenance. The nine-person company has raised $500K and has customers like BECO Management and MRP Realty. Best business lesson: Be hungry. Your passion will show when you get excited about your solution.

Anton Gelman

Anton Gelman's Cont3nt delivers news stories from 22 countries and was one of the first organizations to publish video of the turmoil in Egypt, Syria, and the Boston bombings over the last year. The company, co-based in Ashburn, Va., and DC, lets media companies and freelancers sell their photo and video stories in real-time to publishers worldwide. The 32-year-old was inspired after spending part of his childhood in Ukraine when it was part of the Soviet Union and lacked any type of freedom. He now fully appreciates the idea of the American dream. Best business lesson: Know yourself, and don't fall in love with your products.

Kam Desai

newBrandAnalytics is a social media analytics tool that helps over 10,000 restaurants, hotels, and retailers improve their interactions with customers. Kam Desai, 35, is one of three founders and was inspired in 2010 after analyzing online customer feedback from the luxury salon and spa business he had founded. The business ended up being one of the fastest growing retail spaces in Aveda's network based on changes made from that feedback. Kam grew up in Charlotte, N.C., and spends his time with family, including two small children. Best business lesson: Always put yourself in the shoes of your customers.

Have you seen our Part I, Part II, and Part III of our 30 Under 40 winners? 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. Stay tuned for more 30 Under 40 profiles.

Artisphere's Awesome Atmosphere

spon spot-Artisphere Photo
Artisphere director of special events Sharon Raphael is helping to make sure that Rosslyn doesn't roll up the sidewalks at 5pm. The organization—part of the department of Arlington Economic Development and supported in part by the Rosslyn Business Improvement District—heats up the community with awesome art and music after business hours and on weekends. Happenings include Andy Warhol's Silver Clouds display through Oct. 20 and musical group Bella Russia's recent eight-hour endurance performance. Available for rental to corporations and social groups, Artisphere's amazing entertainment center includes the 4,000 SF Terrace Gallery and the 4,000 SF ballroom for events, performances, and live music. Next door is the 387-seat Spectrum Theater for concerts and events. The space is great for everything from corporate training classes to weddings and rehearsal dinners. For more info on renting our sponsor's amazing space, click here.

A New Bracket Obsession

the fort-jd chang
You thought Hanukkah was coming early this year. How about brackets in October? Trendpo has decided to spice things up with a political sweeps game modeled after NCAA March Madness. The DC-based startup will launch its six-week Senate Sweeps contest today at GovFest, where players can fill up their bracket with the top 65 Senators. Trendpo will use its analytics software to score politicians based on their online buzz on social media. Founder JD Chang says Trendpo is doing it just for fun. He also reports that the eight-person company just snagged its 10th customer, who'll use Trendpo's dashboard service to monitor what's being said on social media. It also helps organizations figure out where to invest their advertising dollars.

So do you think a political bracket contest is a good way to make politics fun again? Send thoughts to Bisnow's Tania Anderson.

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