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Tech Bisnow (DC)

Tech's Take on Ebola

Is the Ebola outbreak a problem that tech can solve? One DC area company says yes.

Magpi's mobile data collection tool is in demand by organizations working on Ebola in Africa and the handful of cases in the US. Co-founder Dr. Joel Selanikio says at least five organizations, including the DOD, have contacted the DC-based company about using its product to collect info about people potentially exposed to Ebola. Joel, here with co-founder Rose Donna, says the technology collects info via a mobile phone or tablet rather than keeping track of a stack of papers. And many people in African countries have mobile phones. The technology works on smart phones or cell phones, whether they're online or offline.

Joel and Rose started the company in 2003 after he worked as a CDC outbreak investigator and she worked on tech for the Red Cross. They came together with the idea that technology could replace the traditional clipboard and paper. Magpi grew quickly to 33,000 users, including most health-focused organizations like the World Health Organization and UNICEF. But it's also now being used by construction, energy and utility, and research companies. The private sector and larger organizations pay a yearly subscription, and those organizations without the funds get a free version.

Joel says the 12-person company, which recently changed its name from DataDyne, is working on new features like being able to take photos as part of the data collection and the ability to read RFID tags for supply chain management. Most of the company's employees are in Nairobi, where Joel and Rose have been able to find quality programmers. (This group was part of a Randon Hacks of Kindness hackathon.) So all the company's tech development is in Nairobi and business development and accounting are in DC.

Arlington (Learning2) TECH
Wingate Hughes (OnTop) TECH

Hacking Music

Tech may be missing a huge disruption opportunity—music. TanZ Group co-founder and DC Entrepreneurship Week co-creator Jon Leonardo (left) is organizing "rockathons"—music industry oriented hackathons—to develop new ways for musicians to create and present their music while connecting with fans. The first Rockathon was last month at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. Over 22 entrepreneurs worked in teams with mentors, resulting in five ideas that were presented to judges, including Rock and Roll Hall of Fame president Greg Harris. The winner was DataBot's Autoband program, which lets users create custom performances by their favorite bands. The winner received six months of mentorship and free office space at the Cleveland-based Accelerator Launch House, as well as a chance to compete for a $20k grant.

The other Rockathon concepts included Pre-Tracked, which allows artists to leak music tracks to fans. Another created a way to play guitar, drums, and bass on a computer. Jon, who's replicated DC Entrepreneurship Week in other US cities, says he doesn't have a DC music hackathon planned yet, but the city has an appetite for it. (You don't need to be a music-focused city like Nashville to be considered.) Jon is also working on other events that connect artists with their audiences through his new company, TanZ. Some of the group's upcoming events are an electronic and live symphony performance in Miami and a music and tech festival in LA.

Cardinal (Lending9) TECH
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TWD's New Digs in Tysons

TWD & Associates tech sales exec Woody Hume and CEO Larry Besterman are standing in the company's new Tysons home. The communication and collaboration solutions provider moved from Arlington to a 10k square foot space at 1751 Pinnacle Dr this week. (And it appears most of the walls are actually squares—or rectangles.) The moves puts the company closer to new commercial and construction contractor clients, while maintaining its presence in the government community. (It's close to the Silver Line.) TWD consolidated two of its offices and has space for over 30 employees. The company has been growing its unified communications practice and recently won a prime spot on DHS EAGLE II.


Anyone have a heart attack during last night's Nats game? Tell Bisnow's Tania Anderson

 
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