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August 4, 2008

Scripps Networks;

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With the one-year anniversary of their sale to Scripps Networks just passing, we ran out to Arlington on Friday to meet Pickle.com founders John Funge and Leo Scott and hear how they're relishing (sorry, couldn't resist) corporate life. The duo's creating interactive content for the web sites of Scripps TV networks, including the Food Network, HG-TV, and The Do-It-Yourself Channel (we prefer The Someone-Else-Do-It Channel) as part of their very own division, Scripps Networks Interactive.


Leo and John started Incando (the holding company for Pickle.com) in 2004. The site "combined YouTube and Flicker before either really existed," says John, allowing users to post personal videos (like from a child's birthday party) for others to view. They also did work for companies like the Washington Post, which hired them to create a portal for readers to post pictures of their moms for Mother's Day. "We were still in the pre-revenue stages, but had so many companies coming to us with projects, we figured it would be great to join someone full-time." Now they're doing the same type of work with Scripps, recently hosting a picture contest to find favorite Christmas cookies or the worst yard in America.


John and Leo met as engineering students at Carnegie Mellon. They joined together in '95 to form their first company, Clara Vista, a maker of large-scale Internet systems, before selling to CMGI in 1999. When not working, John spends time with his 18-month-old daughter and tries to run. "With so much to do now, I can hardly find time to work out, so I try to cut back on how many French fries I eat." Leo's a frequent traveler. He just got back from India (they have an office there with a dozen in employees to go along with their 10 in Arlington) and is planning a trip to Dubai before the end of summer.



We met Sequella CFO Marty Zug at his Bethesda office on Friday, who tells us the 16-person pharma manufacturer is making a home tuberculosis test that could be released overseas in the next few months. (We don't think it's that big turquoise tank.) "Of the six billion people in the world, more than two billion carry TB in their lungs," Marty says. It's when the disease becomes active that problems start, so Sequella is developing a patch that can tell in 72 hours if someone's infected. Sequella (a fancy term meaning "secondary consequence"), is working on two other products, one in early stage clinical trials and the other in toxic trials, which help cure the disease quicker than before. "The drugs used to fight TB are 50 years old, and while they work they cause strong side effects," Marty says, who has an MBA from Dartmouth. Marty's background is in sales, not pills: He was a sales VP for Snyder Communications and the Redskins before coming to Sequella.



FindWhere CEO Jaap Groot has made a business of tracking people, whether it's for police officers watching a criminal or someone wanting to make sure her child or elderly parent is safe. Jaap's privately funded Potomac Falls-based company allows users to monitor GPS-enabled phones or GPS tracking devices on a secure web site. They can even be notified via email or text when someone has gone outside a set boundary or exceeded a certain speed. "If your daughter is driving too fast on Route 28, we can let you know," says Jaap, who started the company in 2001.


We met Jaap in his office Thursday, but he would rather be poolside with a bottle of wine at his house in France. He actually lives near the French border with Spain, but splits his time between there and NoVa. The Dutch native previously founded Triptech International, a logistics information systems software company, which he sold to Qualcomm, and Roadshow Europe, a routing and scheduling company. When not working, traveling, sipping wine, or speaking one of four languages, he can often be found snowboarding.

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