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May 20, 2008

35 UNDER 35
Top Entrepreneurs
(Part 2)

Our great sponsor Deloitte is accepting nominations for the Technology Fast 50 rankings, honoring the area's fastest growing tech, media, telecom and life-sciences companies. More info and nomination forms are here. Nominations are due by June 6.


In case you missed it, we introduced our first batch of amazing honorees yesterday (hey, that what the archives are for at www.bisnow.com). Thanks again to sponsors anchor sponsors Deloitte and Greenberg Traurig, as well as Cabot Consultants, Comerica, and media partner Fortune Magazine. And to judging panel co-chairs Phillip Merrick and Mary McPherson, with assists from Gene Riechers, April Young, Scott Frederick, Dendy Young, Mike Daniels, and Mario Morino.


Wes Cruver, 25, CEO, KZO Innovations. He may only be young, but Cruver is no stranger to creating a web business, as the co-founder of Kidz Online, a media site with informational content for children, when he was 11. (No typo.) Cruver is responsible for the look and feel of all Kidz Online content. Now he's also running KZO Innovations, a Herndon-based software developer and R&D outfit that streams online videos. What's he going to be doing at 30?


Michael Ortner, 34, President, Capterra. Ortner's company connects shoppers for enterprise software with providers. The Arlington-based company started in 1999 and did more than $6 million in revenue last year. The Georgetown grad has also posted a guide to software marketing and online lead generation on his blog, www.michaelortner.com. A native of Malvern, Pa., he spends time off with his wife, Liz, and kids Gabriel and Julia.


Rob Jewell, 30, CEO, Gratis Internet.  Any business that starts with giving away condoms and iPods gets attention, but Jewell had a serious and hugely successful business plan.   A new form of “incentive” online marketing emerged with advertisers like Paypal, AOL and Visa who supported the business model of giving away the merchandise. By 2004 his site FreeiPods.com was grossing $20.5 million in revenue.


Jeff Giesea, 32, CEO, FierceMarkets. Giesea rhymes with easy, which is how he made it look. He created multiple electronic newsletters (sound familiar?) in the national, niche telecom space, and sold the B2B media company to Questex Media for an undisclosed but evidently multi-million dollar figure. He's sticking with the company for a few more months; he may have dreamed up his next adventure on a recent 200-mile rafting trip through the Grand Canyon.


Marc Katz, 31, Custom Ink. You may well own one of Katz's t-shirts, considering his Tysons-based company ships nearly 5 million items per year. With $50 million in revenue and 190 employees, Katz allows customers to design their own shirts on the company website and order as many (or as few) as they want. The next t-shirt he personally designs, though, will probably be an extra small, for his baby daughter.


Matt Fleischer, 32, President and CEO, Hook and Ladder Brewing.  Talk about an easy selection, especially after trying enough of his product. Fleischer started Hook and Ladder Brewing in 1999 with his brother, a volunteer fire fighter for 15 years, in San Francisco, but later moved operations to Silver Spring. His beer took the Gold Medal at the Great American Beer Festival in 2001 and is available in bars and restaurants in the Metro area. Part of each sale is donated to help burn victims and firefighters in need.


Ian Wyatt, 28, President, Business Financial Publishing. Wyatt founded BFP in 2001 and has turned it into a leading online magazine aimed at investors. The company uses investment research and proprietary analysis to provide advice, and has expanded from $500,000 in revenue as of 2005 to $7 million last year.


Steve Goldenberg, 31, CEO, Interfolio. Goldenberg was a student working in Georgetown's career center when he figured there must be a better way for students to collect, promote, and disseminate their personal dossiers of academic and professional achievements. So he created this document storing and sharing system that is now accessed worldwide by 100,000 users. When he's not growing his business, Goldenberg grows his picture collection as an avid photographer.


Send story tips to David Stegon: David@Bisnow.com at 703-674-7718. He did not select the honorees, so send your complaints somewhere else. Just kidding-kind of.



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