DC Tech 40 Under 40
They're young, they take risks, they're not afraid to be disruptive, and they've found a way to fix things with technology. These are the DC region's top 40 Under 40 entrepreneurs.
Brian Ballard – APX Labs
Brian Ballard, 34, launched APX Labs five years ago when the only smart gadget we had was our phones. But the 53-person company created a software platform that powers industrial applications for smart glasses in manufacturing and field services for large enterprise customer. It’s raised $15.6M in outside funding and recently debuted new partnerships with Sony and Vuzix. Brian, a former defense industry CTO, says the company is best known for its partnership with Google through its Glass At Work program and developing enterprise applications on Epson Moverio AR glasses.
What you didn't know about Brian:
-He races motorcycles for fun and once had a wreck going over 160 MPH.
-Halloween is his favorite family holiday – he dressed his 6-month-old as Darth Vader and turned her stroller into a TIE fighter.
-He started his career in super computing.
-Brian and his best friend tried to make a Kung Fu movie in China, even filming a fight scene on the Great Wall.
Logan Soya – Aquicore
Aquicore’s technology collects real-time data on a commercial building’s energy usage and presents it in a web-based platform for companies like MRP and Brookfield to analyze it and to make changes. Logan Soya, 30, says the company, which he launched in 2013, has grown to 23 employees and provides its technology to over 500 buildings in the mid-Atlantic, Texas, San Diego, and Mexico. Aquicore, which has raised $1.6M, also recently moved into new office space on 7th and New York Ave., and plans to double head count and expand to Philly and New York this year.
What you didn’t know about Logan:
-He shaves with a straight razor.
-He’s been to over 25 countries, including less-traveled ones like Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Algeria.
-He almost didn’t pursue an MBA to pursue a career as a competitive triathlete.
-He was born and raised on the space coast next to Cape Canaveral.
-His bucket list includes completing an Ironman.
Mike Baird – Avizia
Mike Baird, 38, runs Avizia, a telemedicine company launched in 2013, whose products connect patients to doctors in real-time to share video, audio, and data. The company, which has raised $5M and generated over $10M in revenue in 2014, has 300 customers, made up of hospital systems, nursing homes, schools, and workplace clinics in 34 countries. Avizia, which has 50 employees, recently acquired Emerge.MD, which will allow the Aviza platform to integrate with electronic medical records, store images, and video in the cloud, and create an e-visit platform for patients to see their doctor through a webpage at home.
Five things you didn’t know about Mike:
-He has five kids and an amazing wife. “Some might call it crazy!”
-He loves all things consumer electronics and loves wandering the streets of Tokyo or Singapore and seeing devices long before they hit the US.
-He takes up a new hobby every year, including surfing, snowboarding, photography, sailing, backpacking, and SCUBA.
-Somebody he’d like to run for the Virginia Senate.
-He needs three more states and two continents to finish his 50/50 and 7/7 goal.
Lee Finkel – Brave UX
Lee Finkel, 31, has been launching companies since college in NYC and DC. Brave UX is his latest venture, a User Experience agency launched last February, that designs and develops application interfaces. The 6-person firm hasn’t raised any outside funding, and is generating revenue. Lee says the first year of the firm’s existence was strong, doing projects for clients like HHS, WeddingWire, and character.org. He expects 2015 to be even better based on current projects and is hiring to grow the team.
What you didn’t know about Lee:
-He started his first company in college (an event services business), and has never had a “real job.”
-He fell in love with DC since moving down from NYC three years ago.
-He’s a member of NextGen Angels and has invested in multiple local tech startups, including Encore Alert and RevMetrix.
-He goes to Aruba every summer with his extended family.
Ryan Healy – Braven Careerist
Ryan Healy, 30, is founder and president of Brazen Careerist, a SaaS-based mobile event platform that lets employers like Raytheon, Deloitte, and KPMG host mobile meetups and hiring events. Universities like Dartmouth, Georgetown, and Penn State use it to host mobile events to attract and engage alumni, students, and prospective students. Its 22 employees have beat quarterly projections and have seen 40% quarterly revenue growth. The company, which has raised $6M, recently launched a new version of its platform and signed new customers like Amtrak, AT&T, Parsons, NYU, and Cal Berkeley.
What you didn’t know about Ryan:
-He grew up in Seattle and New England (Connecticut), making this year’s Superbowl a little confusing. Thankfully the team he decided to root for won.
-He met his wife through a blog.
-He was interviewed by Morley Safer on 60 Minutes when he was 23 and was terrified.
-He’s a huge fan of Gladiator (the movie).
-He hates the sound of nails being filed.
Abigail Seldin – ECMC Innovation Lab
Abigail Seldin, 27, was co-founder and CEO of College Abacus, the “Kayak.com of college financial aid,” up until last summer when she sold it to ECMC Group, a nonprofit in Minnesota that operates one of the largest student loan guaranty agencies in the US. She’s now innovation and product management VP at ECMC, where she runs the ECMC Innovation Lab, a 7-person team based in DC. The team continues to enhance CollegeAbacus.org, a free online tool to compare personalized financial aid estimates at over 4,000 colleges, and work on other technologies to change the way Americans manage student debt.
What you didn’t know about Abigail:
-She’s studied seven languages, and has nearly forgotten five of them.
-She refuses to check luggage, so she’s learned to pack for two weeks in a carry-on.
-She needs an astonishing 9+ hours of sleep.
-She rarely passes a day without chatting with (at least) one family member.
-She adores science fiction.
Zvi Band – Contactually
Zvi Band, 30, started Contactually in October 2011 to offer businesses a CRM platform to track and engage with key relationships. The 55-firm works with realtors, lawyers, executives, sales teams, and financial advisors and is expanding into larger enterprises in the over 1,000 seat range. Zvi, whose been a CTO of an enterprise software startup and head of a consulting firm, says Contactually has raised $3.5M and is generating revenue in the millions, but not yet profitable. “But it’s growing quickly.”
What you didn’t know about Zvi:
-The craziest thing he’s ever done is launch Contactually.
-He was raised on the west coast and didn’t see snow until age 15.
-He cries at the end of Top Gun and isn’t ashamed of it.
-He consumes hot sauce like it’s water.
-He can’t snap his fingers. (Don’t judge.)
Rami Essaid – Distil Networks
Rami Essaid, 31, started Distil Networks in his 20s in 2011 and has grown it to 45 employees and recently opened an office in San Francisco. Distil, which has raised $13M in outside funding, developed a SaaS Bot detection and migration solution, released in 2013, that stops automated attacks against websites. Customers include enterprises, e-commerce SMBs, digital publishing, and online directories. Rami, who started his first company out of college, says Distil’s biggest milestone, aside from generating revenue, is that not a single person has quit since its founding.
What you don’t about Rami:
-He loves animals – he has three dogs and often fosters dogs and cats for their rehabilitation.
-He enjoys adrenaline sports and activities, including snowboarding, sky diving, surfing, scuba diving, and flying planes.
-His bucket list includes seeing all the seven wonders of the ancient world.
-He’s an immigrant of Syrian and Lebanese descent.
Gary Hensley – EdBacker
Education has been Gary Hensley’s life – he’s worked as a teacher, a dean, and as an assistant principal. He also founded and sold edtech firm, Intagrade, to Pearson in 2009 by age 30. Now at 37, he’s running EdBacker, an end-to-end solution for schools, organizations, and PTAs and PTOs to manage fundraising. The revenue-generating firm, with four people and five developers, has over 200 parent organizations on board in 25 states. Gary has also brought on advisors like serial entrepreneurs like Michael Chasen and Craig Cummings. EdBacker, run out of 1776, has raised $400k and will soon close another round.
What you didn’t know about Gary:
-Bucket list includes running with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain and being on stage with Drake with him wearing an Edbacker shirt.
-Grew up a preacher’s kid and dad is currently a Chaplain Colonel in the Army.
-He’s half Puerto Rican and Italian.
-To unwind, he rides his Harley V-rod Muscle and does yoga.
-His favorite movie is Dead Poets Society.
Johann Moonesinghe – EquityEats
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 if they are 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 rib-eye 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.
James Li, Tammy Cho, and Felipe Lopes – EncoreAlert
Encore Alert is a social marketing solution that helps brands automatically 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 7-person company has raised $450k in outside funding and recently brought on the Ottawa Senators and Travel Raleigh as customers. A mobile app is coming.
What you didn’t know about James, Tammy, 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.
Tim Hwang, Jonathan Chen, and Gerald Yao – FiscalNote
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 recently 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 team predicts it will grow from 40 employees to 100 by the end of the year. Before launching the company in 2013, Tim’s background included getting elected to the board of education at 17, working on Obama’s 08 campaign, and graduating from Princeton and deferring HBS; Jonathan worked at Bloomberg BNA and graduated from the University of Maryland; and Gerald has started several companies since middle school and went to Emory.
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.
Adam Zuckerman – Fosterly
Adam Zuckerman, 34, has everything on his resume from working as an attorney and in wholesaler distribution rights and logistics at Anheuser Busch to working for nonprofits like The No Greater Sacrifice Foundation. His latest venture is well known among DC tech: Fosterly. The organization, launched exactly three years ago, supports innovators and entrepreneurs with events and resources. Its Collaborate conference this month attracted over 1,000 attendees and some of the biggest names in tech and government. Adam also works full-time on innovation at Discovery and was a member of Muriel Bowser’s mayoral transition team.
What you didn’t know about Adam:
-He’s leaving Saturday to hike Kilimanjaro.
-He’s been recognized for helping to save an injured rock climber’s life on the Appalachian Trail.
-He built houses for street kids in Huanaco, Peru, and bicycles for entrepreneurs, healthcare workers, and students in Zambia.
-He mountain biked El Camino Del Muerte (the Death Road) in Bolivia.
-He went sky diving and the parachute didn’t open as it was supposed to.
-His grandfather invented temporary tattoos.
Raj Bhaskar – Hurdlr
Raj Bhaskar, 37, used the proceeds from a company he exited a few years ago to start developing Hurdlr in 2012. The mobile app, expected to release later this year, will help solopreneurs and freelancers simply manage their finances, including business expenses, payments, and tax planning. Raj says the app, which has a team of seven people working on it, is already connected to leading banks and credit card companies. Raj’s previous company – a rental and real estate management platform for affordable housing – sold to Yardi in 2010.
What you didn’t know about Raj:
-He’s a DC area native, who grew up in Silver Spring and Bethesda.
-He had various cash-only businesses from 5-12 grades like selling sodas at golf tournaments and car detailing.
-He did a Tough Mudder last year with his co-founder and friends (all in their twenties), followed by three months of rehab.
-He once MC’d a sold-out dance competition at Constitution Hall.
-He’s an angel investor, who’s funded over 30 startups, but insists he's now 100% focused on his new venture.
Steve Goldenberg – Interfolio
Interfolio provides a collaboration platform to big universities like UVA, Stanford, and Yale to make tenure and hiring decisions online rather than through legacy technology, e-mails, and spreadsheets. Steve Goldenberg, 37, who launched Interfolio in 1999 as a consumer service, says it launched the first web-based product focused on faculty tenure promotions last year. The 40-person company, which raised a $1M seed round in 2013, also saw enterprise revenue grow 100% last year. The company is raising growth capital and plans to hire 10 more people this year.
What you didn’t know about Steve:
-His favorite band is Tool and he’s always loved mosh pits and crowd surfing at concerts.
-When he was 16, he spent a summer in Oman to visit a friend, swim with sharks, and to go canyoneering.
-He met his wife on a blind date during March Madness in 2005. They now have one son.
-His hobbies include doing CrossFit and photography.
-One of his employees is a Ph.D in music and lead singer of Gwar, a thrash metal band.
Kevin MacDonald and Tim Kress-Spatz – KitCheck
Kevin MacDonald, 36, and Tim Kress-Spatz, 33, co-launched Kitcheck nearly three years ago to help hospital pharmacies keep track of medications through RFID tags. Now over 150 hospitals are using the technology, including the University of Maryland, its first customer, and Potomac Hospital. The revenue-generating company has 59 employees and has raised $22.4M in funding. It recently announced a partnership with CareFusion, a large player in medication management and dispensing. The two will work together to provide more integrated solutions for hospitals.
What you didn’t know about Kevin:
-He’s known for his karaoke skills at the annual holiday party. (Cue up the Neil Diamond.)
-He’s a sailor, typically in the Chesapeake.
-He’s done business on six continents.
-His first real job was in high school working at a horse race track in Chicago. He helped create the track’s first gambling loyalty system.
-He co-founded KitCheck with no health care background, but based on a conversation with his wife’s friend, a hospital pharmacist.
What you didn’t know about Tim:
-His favorite band is Mosco Rosco.
-His favorite movie is Serpico.
-He’s done web development since 1994 and launched his first website focused on hacking and hacker culture in early high school years. He shut it down after realizing federal agencies were visiting it.
-He played piano, tuba, french horn, and trumpet, and also photography.
-He ran the NYC Marathon in 2010, an amazing experience that gave him some moments of solitude as a struggling entrepreneur.
Jenny Abramson – LiveSafe
Jenny Abramson, who slyly tells us she’s “under 40,” runs LiveSafe, an Arlington company founded in 2013 whose safety technology combines a smartphone app with a cloud-based “Command Dashboard.” It allows users, who are mostly college students, to communicate directly and discreetly with law enforcement about safety issues and crime. She draws inspiration from the LiveSafe team, who now works with schools in over 20 states, including Virginia Tech, Georgetown, and USC. Jenny, who’s worked for other early stage companies, The Washington Post, DC Public Schools, and Teach for America, says the Detroit Pistons is one of its newest customers. LiveSafe has raised $6.5M and recently added Barry Diller to its board.
What you didn’t know about Jenny:
-Her bucket list includes going to a Superbowl.
-One of the craziest things she’s ever done is climb to Everest Base Camp as a teen.
-One of her Halloween costumes was Wonder Woman with an invisible jet. (We can’t say if she wore this as an adult or as a child.)
-Her favorite food is cheap, sugary candy like Swedish Fish and candy corns.
-She’s one of the few people born and raised in DC, who still lives here.
Tom Giannattasio – Macaw
Tom Giannattasio is barely into his 30s (age 31 to be exact) and he’s designed and developed web-based products fApple, Oracle, Twitter, and MIT. His latest venture, Macaw, has been building creative software for professional web designers and developers for nearly a year. Now the 4-person firm, which raised $275k through Kickstarter, is working on a new product (code named Scarlet) that will launch this year. Tom says one of his biggest, “more nerdy” milestones was seeing a book published about Macaw’s software sitting on the shelf at Barnes & Noble.
What you didn’t know about Tom:
-He’s a designer but also colorblind.
-He’s obsessed with outer space and will do whatever it takes to get there one day.
-He dedicated himself to working on the web at age 13 and was asked to help promote Tony Hawk’s tour on his personal skateboarding site.
-He’s a comedy fanatic and is currently obsessed with the show, Broad City, but always finds his way back to Seinfeld and Arrested Development.
-He’ll be a professional skydiver in a future life. (He’s only skydived once.)
Eric Koester – Main Street Genome
Eric Koester, 37, co-founded Main Street Genome with Scott Case in 2013. Its Vendor IQ product uses data, technology, and mobile apps to make it easier and more transparent for small business owners to buy goods and services from their vendors and suppliers. The 16-person company works with restaurants and foods vendors in the mid-Atlantic and plans to expand to other regions this year. Before Main Street Genome, Eric co-founded Zaarly, a San Fran-based company that builds mobile marketplaces for home services providers. Among its backers are Kleiner Perkins, Ashton Kutcher, and Meg Whitman. (His most recent startup is three-month-old, Quinn.)
What you didn’t know about Eric:
-It’s always been his dream to run the bases at a Nats game as one of the presidents (preferably Honest Abe).
-His favorite dog is a pug and his family has two named Bailey and Riley.
-He’s a fan of Startup Weekend, Enstitute, the Wish App, Tim Ferriss and Lifehacking, and Mashups.
-His favorite entrepreneur is Dean Kamens, inventor of many things, including the Segway, medical devices like the autosyringe and robotics prosthetics, new Stirling electric generators, and water purification solutions. He also likes his commitment to US First, a robotics competition to increase kids’ interest in science and tech.
-He traveled around the globe on a cruise ship during college with Semester at Sea. Now Eric and his wife, Allison, have a goal to visit all 100 wonders of the world from Hillman Wonders.
Marty Ringlein – nvite
The first month of 2015 put Martin Ringlein’s nvite on the right path. The events platform for RSVP’ing, registering and purchasing tickets opened its product during Q4 last year and has already signed contracts with events that will process over $20M in ticket sales this year. Martin, 33, says NASDAQ used the embedded technology for an event that sold out in 20 minutes. Other clients have included Adobe, NPR, the White House’s Student Film Festival screening, and all of José Andrés’ ThinkFoodGroup restaurant events. Martin exited his first company through an acquisition by Twitter and helped lead Twitter’s design and research team as the company’s first design manager. He was also a Presidential Fellow at the White House.
What you didn't know about Martin:
-He owns a dog and a cat, who are best friends. Preston (half pug-half beagle) is on Twitter @puggle.
-Martin met Mickey Mouse and Michael Jackson in December 1986 when his family walked through the turnstiles at Disney and set its attendance record. The family won a car and rode in the parade. “Epic childhood memory!”
-He designed the first LivingSocial logo when it was four Hungry Machine guys in a Georgetown attic.
-He’s had lunch at The White House.
-His entire career has been based on his ability to design and use Photoshop, a skill he learned to impress a girl in high school yearbook class.
Lars Dyrud –OmniEarth
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.
Adam Vitarello and Tobin Moore – Optoro
Optoro’s cloud-based software and e-commerce platform let retailers deal with the 10% to 15% of inventory that’s returned or deemed excess. Consumers get amazing deals, retailers avoid any loss and items stay out of landfills. The revenue-generating company, launched by Adam Vitarello (above) and Toby Moore (right), both 32, has nearly 200 employees. It’s backed with $50M from investors like Kleiner Perkins and Revolution Growth, and clients are Top 50 retailers. Before launching Optoro in 2008, Toby and Adam co-founded eSpot, one of the first eBay drop-off stores in the country.
What you didn’t know about Adam and Toby:
-Adam never had interest in business growing up, but did love Legos.
-He once watched Groundhog Day every day for a month.
-His happiest moment was reaching the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro. His second happiest was leaving the top.
-He studied History and Latin American studies at Brown.
-Toby went bungee jumping three times at three locations in one day.
-His bucket list includes riding a bull.
-One of his biggest fears is getting left alone and lost at a giant, crowded grocery store.
-He used to have a turkey with candles in it for his birthday growing up, instead of a cake.
-His sisters, Jocelyn Gailliot and Maddy Grayson, co-founded local e-commerce company Tuckernuck.
Morgan Giddings – Piper
Morgan Giddings is changing the way retailers offer receipts by making them electronic. The Piper platform captures transaction details when a credit or debit card is used without having to collect an email address. Shoppers get details of the transaction through their Piper account and always have access to it, along with the merchant, through cloud-based storage. The five-person company, founded by Morgan in August 2012, will launch the solution this year. Piper was also the only US company to compete at the 2014 Startup Nations International Summit in Seoul, South Korea, last November.
What you didn’t know about Morgan:
-The craziest thing she’s done (but worth it) is leave a steady paycheck as a client liaison to Fortune 500 companies at a speaker’s bureau.
-Her favorite movie is The Thomas Crown Affair with Pierce Brosnan.
-Her bucket list includes learning to fly, traveling in a motorcade and trying to go one day without coffee.
-She’s from Seattle.
Frank Taylor – Restin
Frank Taylor’s company is dominating a niche market as the only national provider of robotic massage chairs for rent or lease. Launched in 2010, its customers include event marketers like IBM, Sprint, Wells Fargo, Google, Jones Lang Lasalle, and Hyundai who use the massage chairs at events to increase dwell time in their branded environments and support relationship-based sales strategies. Uber Offices recently leased massage chairs for all of its locations. Frank, 27, launched the company while a senior at William & Mary. Restin, which has two employees, has raised $135k in outside funding and is cash flow positive with revenue in the mid six figures.
What you didn’t know about Frank:
-He earned his first dollar at age 3 by playing the role of “Trouble” in a Virginia Opera production of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly.
-He grew up on the water in Norfolk, VA, and has sailed everything from 16-foot racing boats to a 116-foot square rigger.
-At 16, he spent over a month in the Netherlands training and playing in an international soccer tournament.
-He found a dirty, sun-burned, all-white puppy abandoned on the street seven years ago. It’s now a 100-pound Argentine Mastiff and Frank’s best friend.
-In college, he showed up on the first day of a graduate level entrepreneurship course three years in a row before they finally let him in.
Hemang Gadhia and Christopher Brown – Revmetrix
Hemang Gadhia, 38, and Christopher Brown, 33, started Revmetrix a year ago to help retailers transform their massive silos of data into insights about customer behavior. The insight helps create better engagement with customers. The nine-person company expects to hit a seven-figure run rate this year and will add three or four to its headcount immediately. All this before the company has even launched its SaaS solution, which debuts in two weeks. Before joining forces, Hemang launched Condaptive, which was acquired by Millennial Media in 2011. Chris co-founded TapMetrics, which was acquired by Millennial Media in 2010.
What you didn’t know about Hemang and Chris:
-After leaving Millennial, Hemang and his family went on a yearlong trip around the world, covering 28 countries and immersing themselves in local culture.
-Hemang was a “debate geek” during his teen years and sadly peaked at age 17 when he won the National Championship in Model UN.
-Hemang says his best decision ever was to take French in high school. His French is terrible, but that's where he met his wife.
-Chris lived in Japan and has a high standard for sushi.
-Chris completed two deployments to Operation Iraqi Freedom.
-When he isn’t working, he’s at a soccer game supporting the US National Teams or DC United.
Tim McLaughlin – Siteworx
Tim McLaughlin, 38, launched Siteworx, an award-winning digital experience agency, when many companies were faltering from a recession in full force. So the agency’s 10-year anniversary in 2012 was a major milestone. Its 200 employees have worked on projects for Time Warner Cable, Citrix Online and Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, and most recently launched a responsive website for Cameron International Corp. Tim, former CTO of Iteration Zero, says Siteworx received a private equity investment from Riordan, Lewis & Haden Equity Partners in 2012 to scale and grow the business. Siteworx was also named a "Cool Vendor for Services" by Gartner last year.
What you didn’t know about Tim:
-He and a partner are creating a dining and brewery experience in Vienna called Caboose Brewing.
-His taste in music is eclectic from classical to indie to electronic. (Just not country.)
-He was initially a music major in college. He’s getting back into classical guitar after a repetitive stress injury from programming.
-His wife, who he knew in high school but didn’t date her then, is an engineer turned math teacher turned nutritionist. She’s working on the food side of the brewery.
-He studied artificial intelligence in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Dan Berger – Social Tables
Dan Berger, 33 (and a Scorpio), launched Social Tables exactly four years ago. The company’s events and meeting software is used by over 3,000 customers in 30 countries to sell, plan, execute and collaborate on events. Social Tables has 75 employees, has raised nearly $10M, and just added a collection of event furniture from AFR Event Furnishings. It’s the first time a third-party vendor has their items in Social Tables’ cloud-based software. Dan has had two prior lives: one as web developer and the other as congressional aide.
What you didn’t know about Dan:
-He’s an immigrant from Israel; when he came to the US at 9, he didn’t speak a word of English.
-He has a Simian crease.
-He’s traveled to 40 countries.
-He ran an online video game team and considers it the best leadership development he’s ever experienced.
Elise Whang – SNOBSWAP
Elise Whang started SNOBSWAP after craving a way to swap clothes with her sisters, who were in different parts of the country, and finding little time to shop consignment stores. So she created the online marketplace to give people access to luxury clothing and accessories from over 50 consignment boutiques and over 3,000 private closets. The company has raised $700k in seed funding, has a team of six, plus interns, and is generating (undisclosed) revenue. She’s now working on giving SnobSwap.com a makeover.
What you didn’t know about Elise:
-Her favorite condiment is Sriracha -- she says it’s great on eggs, pizza and hamburgers.
-Her biggest fear is working on something she’s not passionate about.
-One item on her bucket list is to take her kids on a safari in South Africa.
-Her favorite karaoke songs are “Don’t Stop Believin',” “Titanium” and “True Colors.”
Nathan Derrick – SupplyHog
SupplyHog was launched in 2011 to connect people working in construction with construction supply vendors. So a home builder could use the marketplace to find a roofing vendor. Nathan Derrick, 35, runs the show and recently announced the platform would now allow anyone to talk to a vendor for estimates, availability, delivery and payment. Nathan, whose background includes working in real estate, general contracting and exterior building products, says it’s significant considering construction is one of the last industries to come online. The 10-person company has raised $4M in outside funding and had nearly $4M in revenue last year.
What you didn’t know about Nathan:
-He’s had over 100 crashes on ATVs, dirt bikes, street bikes, cars, trucks, skid steers and UTVs, and has never broken a bone.
-His bucket list includes driving until he reaches the tip of South America; and seeing 200 mph on a speedometer. (He’s come close--189 on a street bike and 186 in a car.)
-His biggest fear is not living up to the potential God has given him and not being someone his daughter is proud of.
-His favorite movies are Shawshank Redemption, The Outlaw Josey Wales, Trading Places, and Chef.
Adam Vincent – ThreatConnect
Adam Vincent, 35, launched ThreatConnect to offer a Salesforce.com-like product for the security industry. The 43-person company, which has raised $4M, helps security teams at Fortune 500 companies and government agencies aggregate threat data into a single platform, no matter the source. It then provides a place to analyze the data and lets users take action to block malicious activity and protect the networks. Revenue has increased over 500% in the past year and it’s expected to double in 2015. The company has plans to hire over 40 people this year and move into larger space in Arlington.
What you didn’t know about Adam:
-He’s most relaxed on a boat with good music and a beer in hand.
-He’s been told he looks like Val Kilmer from Top Gun, which may or may not be the reason he joined the Air Force.
-He can fix just about anything, including a C5 Galaxy and toy microphones.
-He tries to attend Oktoberfest in Germany every year.
-He comes from a musical family, except for him.
Blake Hall and Matt Thompson – ID.me
Former Army Rangers Matt Thompson, 34, and Blake Hall, 32, are helping people prove their identity online to access exclusive discounts and services, while also protecting their personal information. The company, which has raised $16M, launched the service on partner websites in late 2012 and has expanded it from members of the military to all Internet users. The 54-person company recently won a GSA contract to improve citizen access to digital government applications through ID.me credentials. Before launching the company, Matt was in the military for 11 years and served in four combat deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Blake was an Army captain, attended Harvard Business School and spent a summer working for McKinsey.
What you didn’t know about Matt and Blake:
-Matt is a private pilot and flies to relax and clear his head.
-He was an Army Ranger and doing crazy things was his job.
-He became a father in May and has learned having a baby is like launching a whole new startup.
-Blake is the first Google result for the phrase “muscly entrepreneur.”
-Arnold Schwarzenegger has written to him three times.
-He met the POTUS while wearing shorts.
-The worst 30-second pitch he ever gave was inside an actual elevator.
-He also became a father recently and his little girl is the best thing ever to happen to him and his wife.
Ajay Kori and Jeff Sheely – UrbanStems
Valentine’s Day is three days away, so perfect timing for UrbanStems to announce a $1.5M seed round. Consumers in DC, Arlington and Manhattan use the service (iPhone app coming) to send $35 bouquets from eco-friendly farms in South America. When it arrives within an hour and without delivery fees, a photo confirmation is sent in front of the recipient’s building. The nine-person company was launched by Ajay Kori, 31, and Jeff Sheely, 30, a year ago and is seeing sales growing double digits month over month. Previously, Ajay (above), a Duke and Harvard grad, started and sold an Internet company for $1M while in high school, worked at GSK and Microsoft, and launched Amazon's first pharmacy. Jeff, also a Duke grad, worked in marketing for growth stage companies and startups.
What you don’t know about Ajay and Jeff (above):
-Ajay once acted in a play in a foreign country, in a language he didn’t speak.
-He’s a perpetually heartbroken fan of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
-He cooks a mean knock-off of Outback Steakhouse’s Alice Springs Chicken.
-When UrbanStems launched, he didn’t know the difference between a tulip and a lily.
-He wears a breathing strip to bed every night.
-Jeff was born on July 4, and as a child (and possibly into his teen years) was convinced the fireworks were for him.
-He won a Houston-wide science fair in high school.
-He grew up in Texas and has high standards for BBQ. He smokes his own brisket.
-He has an “unbelievably cute and sneaky” German Shepherd/Spaniel mix named after Clint Dempsey of US Soccer.
-His favorite flower is the orange “free spirit” garden roses used in UrbanStems’ fall bouquets.
Joel Holland – Video Blocks
The humble origins of Joel Holland’s VideoBlocks go back to his days as a student at McLean HS in 2001. It wasn’t until graduating from Babson College in 2008 that the 30-year-old really started working on the company full-time. The subscription-based stock media company provides unlimited downloads of stock video, motion backgrounds, production music, and other sound and special effects. The 40-person company, which raised $10.5M in a series A round in 2012, had $18.9M in gross bookings for 2014 and is about to pass 100,000 paying subscribers. The company recently launched a marketplace that allows anyone to upload and sell stock video and keep 100% of the profits.
What you didn’t know about Joel:
-He grew up a vegetarian but now eats fish.
-He RV’d across the country last year, visiting 20 states.
-He loves ping pong and recently replaced his dining room table with a ping pong table.
-He loves skiing and grew up racing.
-He was once ranked No. 2 in Virginia.
-He loves zombie books.
Jordan Lloyd Bookey – Zoobean
Zoobean is a web app that creates personalized playlists of books, apps and literacy resources for little kids. Jordan Lloyd Bookey, 36, is a former teacher who launched the business with her husband in 2013. The six-person company, which also has part-time curators around the country, has raised $1.2M and recently started partnering with public libraries. The service is called Beanstack and it launched at the Sacramento Library and will continue with several other partners, including some in the DC region, in the coming weeks. Jordan, who’s been on Bisnow’s Power Women in Tech, was recently selected to be on Wharton’s inaugural 40 Under 40 list.
What you didn’t know about Jordan:
-She doesn’t read parenting books.
-Her favorite TV shows are Scandal and True Detective.
-The book that got her hooked on reading was Roald Dahl’s Matilda.
-The one item on her bucket list is to stay in a glass igloo and see the Northern Lights.
-Her personal mantra: Just do what’s next.