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Power Women of DC Tech: Part VI

Washington DC Tech

We continue our profiles of DC area women running some of the most successful tech companies. Click here if you missed who we've recently profiled. And then help us celebrate these entrepreneurs at our Oct.15 event in Crystal City.

Kristin Muhlner
CEO, newBrandAnalytics

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Company: Customer experience management software. Organizations learn what customers are saying about them online and turn it into competitive intel.
Job focus: Corporate and business development and product strategy 
Customers: Hyatt, McDonald’s, Kohl’s, DC government, Dick’s, and Subway
Latest news: Launched market listening product called Pulse for marketers and operators to understand brand-level sentiment
Inspiration to join company: Strong investors and team, as well as a hot market space. Plus it’s less than a mile from home.
Why a tech career: Was recruited by Andersen Consulting out of college. Started learning programming and coding and loved it immediately.
Biggest challenge: A lot of venture and PE money is at work and many spaces are overcapitalized. Makes for a competitive and noisy landscape.
Career milestones: Transition from consulting career to software; taking first CEO job in ’08; and being part of a successful fast-growing company

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Hometown: Paducah, Ky.
Current home: Georgetown
Why DC: Job opportunities
School: Rhodes College
First job: Ballet and jazz teacher for children
Greatest fear: Mediocrity
Daily habit: Meditation, exercise, glass of wine
Favorite vacation: Riviera Maya, Mexico
Favorite restaurant: Giacomo’s Ristorante in Boston
Family facts: Married 10 years; daughters, ages 8 and 4
Hobbies: Cooking for friends
Advice to 18-year-old self: Slow down. I was a junior in college at 18.

Melinda Wittstock
Founder/CEO, Verifeed

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Company: Predictive social analytics. Proprietary algorithms gather business intel from social conversations to help consumer brands, campaigns, and advocacy.
Job focus: Building team (currently have four, plus advisors and freelancers) and innovating
Some of your customers: Red Cross, CQRC, and Savings Squirrel
Latest news: Chosen to present at MAVA’s Tech Buzz and DC Tech Day
Inspiration to launch: As a former journalist, understood value of getting right info to right person at right time. Now replicating that investigative news-gathering system with algorithms and automated processes to unearth trends and influencers.
Why a tech career: Tech enables unprecedented innovation
Biggest challenge: Getting engineers and sales people to see eye to eye
Career milestones: Growing revenue at Verifeed; almost bringing down British government with news scoop about the Lloyds of London Insurance Market; and having Marissa Mayer call Newsit (Verifeed’s previous name) the future of news

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Hometown: Toronto and NYC
Current home: Bethesda
Why DC: Launch of first business, Capitol News Connection
School: McGill University
First job: Times of London financial correspondent
Greatest fear: Not being authentic
Daily habit: Yoga
Favorite vacation: Beach with kids and dog
Favorite restaurant: Balthazar (NY) and Mon Ami Gabi (Bethesda)
Family facts: Daughter, age 11, who launched pet rescue startup called 4legs4you.com; son, age 8, soccer, Xbox, and Lego expert; and Golden Retriever
Hobbies: Co-authoring book on female entrepreneurship, coaching startup companies, music, meditation, fashion, dogs, travel, discovering new things, reading, and binge-watching dramas like Breaking Bad, Homeland, True Detectives, and Mad Men.
Advice to 18-year-old self: Don’t be afraid to ask stupid questions.

Shavanna Miller
Co-founder/CEO, Bloompop

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Company: Connects consumers and corporate customers to local florists across the country
Job focus
: Everything from finance, team recruiting, and accounting, to fundraising, onboarding florists, and running marketing programs
Customers: Consumers and corporations like Bozzuto Group and Independent Collection hotels
Latest news: Launched Bloompop Weddings, an easier way to order affordable, artisan flowers for your wedding online. And we’re growing the team.
Inspiration to launch: Current online industry is terrible for consumers and a bad experience for local florists. Wanted to take web sales and marketing knowledge and disrupt the industry with better quality products, better tools for florists and consumers, and modern marketing techniques. 
Why a tech career: Been building websites since age 10. First job out of college was at Meetup in NY. Tech has been a natural fit.
Biggest challenge: Being jack-of-all-trades to understand every aspect of the business. 
Career milestones: Getting Meetup job out of college on community and internationalization team; managing large web sales team at Rosetta Stone; and starting Bloompop in 2013.

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Hometown: North Potomac, Md.
Current home: Petworth
Why return to DC: Job at Rosetta Stone that couldn't turn down
School: Columbia and London School of Economics
First job: Hostess at Clyde’s in Rockville
Greatest fear: Something bad happening to my family
Daily habit: Coffee ritual—grind beans and have an entire French press worth of coffee in the morning. 
Favorite vacation: Austrian Alps or Montana
Favorite restaurants: Rasika (West End) and Fasika (Petworth)
Bucket list: Learn to play the piano really well
Hobbies: Making things with wood, cement, or ceramic
Advice to 18-year-old self: Cultivate relationships with professors

Tatiana Langseth
Founder/CEO, Augaroo

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Company: On-shore/off-shore product development and big data consulting
Job focus
: Growing Augaroo’s consulting business
Customers: Companies in big data space, startups, and public companies
Latest news: Added a third office (two are international) and doubled head count this year. Hiring tech engineers and directors.
Inspiration to launch: Wanted to help companies work more closely with engineering talent in Eastern Europe, since there's a limited supply of technical people in the DC area
Why a tech career: Technology is our future. Helping to engineer our future is one of the most important things for us to work on.
Biggest challenge: Timing. Building big ideas at the right time at the right scale is more of an art than a science.
Advice to 18-year-old self: Ignore anyone who tells you that it’s impossible to be a model, actress, and tech exec.
Daily habit: Check news sites to stay on top of latest trends in technology, big data, branding, and marketing.
Career milestones: First magazine feature of my modeling career in 2003; First role in a television commercial in 2005; Becoming tech CEO in 2011.
Photo: Doing charity work in Africa.

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Hometown: Moscow
Current home: Great Falls
Why DC: Came to study history at GMU
First job: Started tutoring company in high school, helping younger students with essay writing
Greatest fear: Bugs (in software)
Favorite vacation: Been to over 60 countries across all seven continents. Top five: Scotland, Bali, Japan, South Africa, and Antarctica.
Favorite restaurant: Lafayette at the Hay-Adams (Ask for the Café de Tatiana, an after-dinner drink).
Bucket list: Take a company public and travel to Mars
Family facts: Married 15 years to my first love, whom I met while in high school
Hobbies: Sailing, literature, Kundalini yoga, architecture, and travel
Best business lesson: Always think globally and leverage world’s best talent, no matter the location.
Photo: Thailand vacation

Big thanks to our great partners in this initiative: DeloitteTriNetCabot ConsultantsVornado, the Crystal Tech FundWingate Hughes, and Kilpatrick Townsend