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40 Under 40: Part V

Does turning 41 somehow turn you into the wisest of entrepreneurs? We think not, judging by all the entrepreneurs (age 40 and younger) we've been profiling the last two weeks. Read about our next set and then sign up to help us celebrate them on Feb. 12

Johann Moonesinghe


Johann Moonesinghe, 32, is the founder of EquityEats, an equity-based crowdfunding platform that raises money for food and beverage businesses. The 10-person company was launched last November and has raised $500k in outside funding. Johann, who’s launched two other companies (one failed quickly, the other was acquired), says it’s the first company to equity crowdfund under new DC regs allowing any DC resident to invest regardless of if they're accredited. EquityEats is raising funds for its own subsidiary, Prequel, a five-story restaurant pop-up “megaplex” at 918 F St.


What you didn’t know about Johann:

  • He was an early investor in Uber.
  • He was part of the first-ever Techstars program.
  • His favorite thing to cook is sous vide prime ribeye from Costco.
  • His husband, Andy, was able to move from London to DC last year because DOMA was overturned.
  • He loves French wines from his birth year. 

Tim Hwang, Jonathan Chen and Gerald Yao


FiscalNote’s first product automatically aggregates and standardizes legislative data and forecasts legislative outcomes in real time with over 94% accuracy. The company’s technology attracted $10M in a series B round announced this week after already raising earlier rounds from investors like Mark Cuban, Jerry Yang and NEA. Uber, the Democratic and Republican Governors Associations, VMWare, Planned Parenthood and United Therapeutics are using the technology, and revenue is growing 25% month over month. The founding team, which includes Tim Hwang, Jonathan Chen and Gerald Yao, predicts it will grow from 40 employees to 100 by the end of the year.


What you didn’t know about Tim, Jonathan and Gerald:

  • Tim is a registered pilot.
  • Gerald is a master chef.
  • Jonathan is a card-trick magician.
  • They all love to eat Korean BBQ
  • Jonathan and Tim have gone to school together since 4th grade, and Gerald, Jonathan and Tim have known each other since 6th grade

Lars Dyrud


Lars Dyrud, 39, started OmniEarth nearly a year ago to provide global Earth observation and analytics to help customers in agriculture, energy, and water municipalities manage and predict change. The 20-person company had $500k in revenue last quarter and has raised some (undisclosed) funding. The company has already made its first acquisition, IRISmaps, which adds the analytics piece of what OmniEarth is offering. Lars’ past stints include working as a research scientist at Draper Laboratory and the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory. Lars and his co-founder, Jonathan Fentzke, realized the research they were doing in Earth science had broader impact in the private sector. 


What you didn’t know about Lars:

  • He was a semi-professional skateboarder when he was a teen.
  • He speaks Norwegian
  • He’s played the violin since age 4.
  • He learned how to juggle and yo-yo when he was 14 because he thought (mistakenly) it would impress girls.
  • His go-to karaoke song is “Creep” by Radiohead. 

James Li, Tammy Cho and Felipe Lopes
Encore Alert


Encore Alert is a social marketing solution that helps brands find the most important people and trends in their social media, and provides real-time alerts so action can be taken at the right time. Customers include the Atlanta Falcons, the Consumer Electronics Association, WeddingWire and Travel Oregon. The trio behind the technology is James Li (23), Tammy Cho (20) and Felipe Lopes (27), who launched the startup in 2013 and were one of the youngest teams to receive funding from Acceleprise. The seven-person company has raised $450k in outside funding and recently brought on the Ottawa Senators and Travel Raleigh. A mobile app is coming soon.


What you didn’t know about James, Tammy (above) and Felipe:

  • James started his first company in 5th grade--a Pokemon club, complete with homemade laminated membership cards.
  • He wrote speeches for VP Biden and his wife, Jill, for six months in 2011.
  • He was the play-by-play commentator for Georgetown’s football team during the team’s first-ever winless season. 
  • Tammy started working in startups as a HS junior
  • She’s traveled to over 37 states and parts of Canada in 30 days by car.
  • Her first experience in web design was redesigning MySpace layouts for friends.
  • Felipe started his first company at 17 with his brother. 
  • As a software developer and project lead at Dell, he developed an application in his spare time that saved the company over $5M per year.