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July 21, 2008


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Some people may have a case of the Mondays today, but not the team at Hungry Machine, which announced this morning Series A funding from both Grotech Ventures and the Steve Case Foundation, along with the official launch of their social media site LivingSocial.com. We can see into the future so we met last week with CEO Tim O'Shaughnessy at his P Street headquarters, to give you the full story the second it was announced.


You can tell Tim's the chief executive because he wears the jacket in the company. With him, colleagues Warren Konkel, Conan Rimmer, and Cindy Couchman. LivingSocial.com is a spin-off of Tim's first project Virtual Bookshelf, that allowed users to search the social media pages of other users interested in the same authors or subjects and read their reviews. "We took that idea and expanded it to other things we're interested in like video games, music and movies." For instance, a user could find a review of the new Madden football game and see the MySpace or Facebook profiles of others who also reviewed it.


More than 6.3 million people connected to LivingSocial.com in its beta form, Tm says, cataloging nearly 80 million items, so it's no wonder he's scheduled to be a panelist at this week's Facebook Developer Conference in San Francisco. The 26-year-old Minnesota native started Hungry Machine (now 11 employees) after working as a product manager at AOL and Revolution Health. When not working, Tim can be found sampling Washington's best restaurants, including Komi near DuPont Circle.

The Jason Taylor of Software


Software pirates beware, because Arxan protects software better than new Redskin Jason Taylor guards the line of scrimmage. CEO Mike Dager, whom we visited in his Bethesda office, tells us his 100-person company inserts code into software that will either send a message back to the software publisher with the counterfeiter's IP address or cause the tampered-with software to self-destruct. It's so impressive, DISA brought in Arxan to protect all its military software from missile commands to fighter jets. "We protect almost everything the military touches, so if the enemy got hold of one of the Navy's missiles, they could not decode the software to replicate it," says Mike, former CEO of Worksoft and OSE Systems. Arxan investors Paladin Capital Group and Silicon Valley-based Trident have seen its revenues double each of the past three years.

Young Gun Still Gunning


It's been a couple of weeks since Interfolio founder and CEO Steve Goldenberg was named one of our "Top 35 Entrepreneurs Under 35," but he's working hard on making next year's list. Steve tells us his L Street-based software-as-a-service company that allows users to store and manage professional documents will also allow them to build public sites come mid-September. "We create a place for people to showcase their work the same way an artist would, but instead of a painting, it could be their thesis on German literature," Steve says from a couch we saw at IKEA over the weekend.


Steve grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan, but fell in love with Georgetown driving across the Key Bridge even before touring the school. He worked in the school's career office, and after seeing the volume of papers, figured there must be a way to manage them, starting his company two days after graduating in 1999. The company received some angel funding, but has been cash flow positive since 2002, Steve says, now boasting 100,000 users. He spends his off hours behind a camera (note those pictures on the cabinet and walls), so we got his help in taking his own portrait. His parents were in town this weekend for their 40th wedding anniversary, so Steve put together a slide show of more than 200 old pictures of them as a gift.

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