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Posted at 04:59 PM ET, 09/18/2013

Startup Maryland entrepreneurs take on Texas Gov. Rick Perry in Bethesda


embers of Startup Maryland gathered on Wednesday, September 18, 2013 outside Morton’s Steakhouse in Bethesda, where Texas Gov. Rick Perry was having lunch. (Mike Venezia - With the Film)
A group of Maryland entrepreneurs aren’t afraid to mess with Texas.

A bus loaded with entrepreneurs participating in Startup Maryland’s Pitch Across Maryland tour to promote young companies rolled into Bethesda earlier today for a scheduled business competition.

They weren’t alone.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry had lunch at a Morton’s Steakhouse in Bethesda. (Mike Venezia - With the Film)

Also in Bethesda was Texas Gov. Rick Perry, dining with local political and business officials at Morton’s Steakhouse as part of his own tour aimed at recruiting businesses to the Lone Star State.

“If you want to live in a state where you have high taxes and a relatively burdensome regulatory climate, if you want to live in a state where the litigation is relatively easy to get into, then go live in those states,” Perry told Bethesda Now.

“But if you want to be free, if you want to live free, free from overtaxation and over litigation, free from overregulation, in a place that’s got a great, skilled workforce, move to Texas.”

The dozen or so entrepreneurs from Startup Maryland won’t be packing suitcases anytime soon. Though they did not get to speak with Perry directly as hoped, organizers still voiced concern with his sales pitch.

“The messaging from Governor Perry is laser focused on the tax environment,” said Startup Maryland co-chair Michael Binko. “If businesses are only looking at the tax environment for where they should go to succeed, we think that’s shortsighted as entrepreneurs and probably a recipe for disaster.”

Binko suggests businesses also look at the caliber of schools, available tax credits and access to venture capital — areas where he asserts Maryland has more to offer than Texas.

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) penned an op-ed for The Washington Post waging a counterargument of his own in which he decries that “Perry and like-minded Republican governors subscribe to the slash-and-burn economic philosophy.”

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By  |  04:59 PM ET, 09/18/2013 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 03:19 PM ET, 09/17/2013

ID.me collects $1.2M grant to develop identification technology


ID.Me co-founders Blake Hall and Matthew Thompson. (Jeffrey MacMillan - Jeffrey MacMIllan for Washington Post)
Tysons Corner-based ID.me is the recipient of a $1.2 million grant from the Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology to develop and test online identification technology.

ID.me plans to use the grant to earn Level of Assurance 3 credentials from the General Services Administration, which will allow its members to securely identify themselves when interacting online with federal agencies.

Co-founder Blake Hall said the award provides the company with the money to “achieve things on the roadmap that weren’t feasible for the next couple of years to get [them] done in the next 12 months.”

ID.me expects it will receive a second grant worth $1.6 million from the agency after a year.

The company’s mission has evolved since it was first founded in 2010 as an online marketplace and daily deals site for military families. The company now authenticates military and public safety personnel to access online discounts and benefits at retailers.

More than 200,000 veterans and service members use ID.me’s Troop ID service to access benefits online, according to a news release.

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By  |  03:19 PM ET, 09/17/2013 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:39 PM ET, 09/16/2013

Cvent posts net loss in first earnings report as public company

McLean-based Cvent, the maker of event management software, on Monday issued its first earnings report since becoming a public company, posting a net loss of $2.3 million for the second quarter.

That marks a decline compared to net income of $500,000 during the same period last year. Cvent’s revenue for the quarter totaled $26.9 million, a 36 percent hike from the same three-month period in 2012.

Chief Executive Reggie Aggarwal attributed the decline to costs associated with the company’s acquisitions last year and initial public offering in August. He said the company is also investing significantly in research and development.

Aggarwal pointed to a separate measure of the company’s cash flow— $4.3 million in adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization—as a sign of its financial strength, though that total was down compared to $5.3 million in the same quarter in 2012.

“The bottom line is that we think it makes more sense to invest in growing our business than it does to just throw cash on the balance sheet,” Aggarwal said.

Cvent is aggressively hiring in the United States and abroad, Aggarwal added, though he declined to provide specific employment numbers. The firm opened an office in London earlier this year, adding a second international outpost to its existing location in India.

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By  |  04:39 PM ET, 09/16/2013 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 12:48 PM ET, 09/16/2013

LivingSocial executives talk hiring, cybersecurity attack and profitability

Executives at District-based LivingSocial outlined a new strategy last week that would move the company away from its daily e-mail deals toward those that sit on its Web site for longer periods of time.

But in a round of interviews at the firm’s New York Avenue NW headquarters, senior leaders delved into a variety of other topics, including plans to hire across the company and profitability projections.

Here are the highlights from those interviews:

On hiring:

Executives said the company intends to hire “a couple hundred” employees in departments as varied as sales, finance, marketing and engineering.

For those who follow LivingSocial’s trajectory, the news seems confounding. Less than 12 months ago, the firm laid off 400 workers, primarily in the United States. Of those, 160 were based in D.C.

Executives said many of those cuts came from markets, both overseas and domestic, as well as lines of business that weren’t generating sufficient revenue. Other areas, however, merit additional staff.

“At the time you heard [chief executive Tim O’Shaughnessy] say we’re investing less in some areas and investing more in other areas,”said Jake Maas, senior vice president of product and operations. “I think you’re seeing [hiring in] some of the areas that we’re investing in, that we’re excited about, that we think are going to drive growth.”

There’s even a $6,000 reward for employees that refer successful applicants.

Executives said many of those hires will be based here in the District, though others will be located in the company’s sales and customer service centers around the country.

“We’re expanding a couple of sales centers and they will be hiring dramatically,” Chief Financial Officer John Bax said.

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By  |  12:48 PM ET, 09/16/2013 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 05:43 PM ET, 09/09/2013

Cardinal Financial to buy United Financial Banking Cos. for $51.7M

Cardinal Financial Corp. said Monday that it had signed an agreement to purchase United Financial Banking Companies, the holding company for Vienna-based The Business Bank, in a cash-and-stock deal valued at $51.7 million.

The Tysons Corner-based company will pay $38.26 per share of United Financial, more than double Monday’s closing price of $18.50.

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By  |  05:43 PM ET, 09/09/2013 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

 

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