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July 10, 2008



"We like to be on top of everything here, but considering NO ONE knew New Atlantic Ventures Managing Partner John Backus was getting married this past weekend in Hawaii (not colleagues, friends, family, or parents), we are giving ourselves a pass. John and lovely bride Caren eloped on July Fourth on the Big Island.


"We decided to get married two weeks ago, but did not want a long engagement, so we just went ahead and did it," says Caren, queen of  D&O insurance at AH&T. Always the techie, we note John is reading wedding vows off his Blackberry! On the work front, John says New Atlantic Ventures has made early stage investments in three companies since the first close of its new fund, all outside the D.C. area, but will likely invest in three to five more this year, including some locals, each about a $1M to $1.5M in the A round. Meanwhile, although we could say John's wedding is just another early stage investment, actually it's way beyond that: We congratulate John and Caren on going public.


If you watch TV after 2 a.m. you are guaranteed to see advertisements for ab machines, Girls Gone Wild, and.Rosetta Stone, the Arlington and Harrisonburg-based language learning software developed for schools in 1992 that's exploded with consumers in recent years. We talked with COO Eric Eichmann at his Wilson Boulevard office only in English, though he speaks three languages and is learning more. Eric's Swiss, but was born in Bogot?, Colombia, and lived all over the US. He was a consultant at McKinsey and an SVP at AOL before moving over to Rosetta Stone in 2006. Since then, the 1,000-person company had revenues 40 to 60% over their $92 million in FY '06.


Eric, here with colleague Deepa Miglani, tells us Rosetta Stone is ramping up SharedTalk.com, a site engineered to give language learners a place to practice. The company has also launched Audio Companion, to reinforce and practice on the go. Eric has passed his love of languages to his 3 and 6-year-old daughters, who speak four languages. "I speak to them only in French, my wife in Russian, our au pair in Spanish and they pick up English in everyday life." Oh, and he also skis, cycles, and plays tennis, though no word on what language he uses to curse bad shots.



Fairfax-based Customer Value Partners managing principal Anirudh Kulkarni wants to hold on to his roughly 110 employees, but instead of offering more money or nicer offices he encourages them to create new companies related to CVP's strategic consulting. "Employees want to stay because they are creatively stimulated while our customers benefit; it's a win-win." One project is Black Turtle Media, a social networking site for artists to connect with brand name companies looking for imaginative advertising. The company also has invested in Zymetis, a Maryland-based biotech firm developing enzymes for cellulosic ethanol production.


Anirudh may look a little corporate, but his team certainly does look entrepreneurial: Cathy Hong-Praslick, Neal Thurman, Brian Webb and Chris Chen. The GW grad started CVP in 2003 after time at Answerthink Inc. His consulting practice focuses on streamlining efficiency with more than 40 % of his clients in the healthcare industry, but also big names like AOL and McGraw-Hill. When not working, Anirudh is kept busy by his teenage daughters, one of whom is learning to drive. That could be his next consulting gig.

Bisnow's David Stegon heads to the Bethesda AFCEA Government-wide Initiatives Excellence Awards TONIGHT! Say hi to him there or send story ideas to David@Bisnow.com or 703-674-7718.

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