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October 22, 2008
Jones Lang LaSalle

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Yesterday morning we rose early to hear about a certain market that's growing despite the economic downturn: mobile advertising. We joined about 30 others for an executive briefing at the Deloitte Tech Venture Center in McLean, where we learned the number of mobile devices in the U.S. will jump more than 32% next year. You mean there'll be even more than there are Starbucks?


PointAbout co-founder Daniel Odio and Mobile Posse CEO Jon Jackson. Daniel's three-month-old startup creates shell mobile applications that use the phone's GPS to retrieve useful information. They even created a Metrorail app to show your nearest stop and scheduled wait time. (We hope the 2.0 version will help us find an empty seat on the bus.) Jon tells us Mobile Posse is a targeted mobile advertising platform and just inked a deal to carry Gaithersburg-based Weather Bug's info.


If anyone knows what's going on in the VC world, it's Crossmine founder Bob Nelson and Columbia Capital's Mike Avon. Bob tells us that Crossmine, a database of local tech companies and investors, is focusing on connecting users with corporate investors since angel and VC money has dried up. He also says he's "got the answer on how to survive in this economy." To our surprise, the words "panic" or "scream" are not contained in it. Mike assures us there's still money to be had: "We're still spending, but we've got to be smarter."


Admixture CEO Danny Allen and Crossmine CTO Bill Livingston. Danny tells us he's leaving Admixture, an online advertising network which caters toward minority groups, in a couple of weeks, but "I'm not sure what I'm going to do next." At least the newlywed, and Austin native, can still root for his beloved Longhorns, who remain the nation's No. 1 college football team.


Distributive Networks CEO Kevin Bertram and Deloitte's Ellen Mundell. Kevin has the key to controlling spending: Hire your wife and sister-in-law, who, he says, are easy to negotiate with. However, he may not need to cut costs-his company distributed Barack Obama's big deal VP text announcement.

Peanuts Beware!

When someone says statistics, we think of batting averages and ERA, but for 31 years, Rockville-based EMMES Corporation has made a business of complex biostatistical research, primarily for NIH, developing their own data collection software along the way. This week we met the president, Dr. Don Stablein, who tells us the company is doing a five year study on children with milk and egg allergies to see if they also develop peanut allergies. (We hope for no correlation, but, then again, are peanut butter, egg and cheese sandwiches really in high demand?) It's one of 40 current projects, and Don says, "Doing work for NIH puts us on the edge of research and innovation."


Don joined Emmes in 1980 after serving as an assistant professor at the Medical College of Virginia. Now, the last of his four children is about to leave home, granting Don more time to root for Philly sports teams. (He's from the Brotherly-Loving suburbs.) "For so many years I either worked or was with my family, so I'm kind of unsure what will happen now," he says. If we had to guess, he'll still yell at the TV during Eagles games, only now he must pretend there's somebody else in the room listening.

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