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August 26, 2008

Small Act Network;
Ride Charge;

Free-of-charge to our readers! Announcing Bisnow's Fall Happy Hour co-hosted by the Capitol Riverfront BID and JPI. Come check out the views of the Capitol and the ballpark, have a drink, and network on the rooftop of the just-opened Jefferson at Capitol Yards luxury apartments. Tues., Sept 16, 6-8pm. One-block from the Navy Yard metro (Half St & I St SE), free parking. Sign up now!


Dire Straits sang "Money for Nothing," but it's Casey Golden who's using that idea for this week's launch of Small Act Network, a homepage that raises money for charities by having users do, well, nothing. We met Casey at his TeqCorner office to hear how he's using Internet ads to generate revenue for user-selected charities. "Besides e-mail, people use the Internet most for searching, so why not monetize it in a way to help society?" Casey queries.


A Colorado native, Casey co-founded Parature in 2000 as a student at Cornell. He left in '06, wanting to go in a different direction from his fellow founders. He started Small Act last summer, after taking a year off while his wife was pregnant with twins. "An ad on MSN's homepage can generate half a million dollars per day - not because the site is extra special, but because it is the de facto homepage for so many people," Casey says. His site, which has everyone's beloved Google search for convenience, collects ad revenue, then donates it to users' charities.


That's Casey, who was named one of our Top 35 Entrepreneurs Under 35, with partner Chris Gill and intern Stephanie Volftsun. Small Act connects Facebook users, allowing them to earn money for their charity by referring friends to Small Act. The site also features tips on little things people can do each day to help themselves and society. "Everyone searches or has friends on Facebook, so this is a way they can earn money for charity and know they are helping make a difference every day by simply changing their homepage," Casey says.

Dude, Where's My Taxi?

We caught a cab with RideCharge President Sanders Partee yesterday in Alexandria. But instead of standing in traffic with arms flailing, Sanders booked the trip on his Blackberry. RideCharge lets mobile and online users arrange taxi services in 25 cities nationwide. Better yet, it lets them pay their fare without handing over cash or a credit card. "They log into our system right in the cab and can charge the ride, including tip, right to their company," says Sanders. This saves time and paperwork for cabbies, and provides companies with accurate employee expenses.


RideCharge is available on Blackberries and Windows Mobile; an iPhone app is coming soon. In addition to taxis (including local Yellow, RedTop and Barwood), RideCharge supports four classes of rides, from the SuperShuttle to chauffeured limo. A South Carolina native and UVA grad, Sanders has started three companies, including Reltech with former Accenture boss Tom DePasquale. (The duo sold that to Platinum Technology for $25 million.) Tom then launched Outtask, which automated air and hotel business expenses, and approached Sanders about a gap in the market. They started RideCharge last year and will be seeking funding this fall, which should be made easier because Tom's sale of Outtask is now worth about $350 million in Concur (CNQR) stock. But no matter how busy Sanders is building RideCharge, it's impossible to keep him off the golf course. He just returned from a week in Ireland where he played 36 holes a day.

National Parks Online!

Our entrepreneur friends can surely appreciate a basement office, so that's where we met Kinsail CEO Tim Keough (on the right) with employees Jacob Alcauskas and Phil Jordan. Kinsail is an Arlington-based information management bootstrap that specializes in creating and processing online applications for national parks, including Arizona's Tonto National Forest. "Most national and state parks require permits for entry, but do not have the manpower to distribute them," Tim explains, "so they are happy to outsource to us." Tim grew up in Potomac and went to George Mason. He got bit by the entrepreneurial bug when he was working at Arthur Andersen. Kinsail is his fourth company; for another, ZonaFinanciera, Tim raised $45 million in venture funding, but sold it after the dot com bubble burst.

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