Pittinsky’s Parchment to open office in D.C.

February 24, 2013

Parchment, an education technology company founded by Matt Pittinsky, the co-founder of District-based Blackboard in 1997, is opening a Washington office next month.

Parchment, headquartered in Scottsdale, Ariz., and founded in 2011, electronically sends and receives academic transcripts. Bethesda-based Novak Biddle invested in Parchment during a venture fund round last year.

Parchment’s Washington office opens March 11 at 2031 Florida Ave. NW. It will initially house 10 sales and business development employees, with expansion expected to double over the next year and a half, according to a spokesman.

Pittinsky will use the Washington office to meet with leaders of the various associations representing higher education, according to a spokesman.

Parchment’s goal is to create digital files to hold an individual’s academic and other credentials.

‘Honor’ thy father

David Keuhner’s Dulles-based Destination Cellars, which produces “wine experiences” for the rich and famous, is getting into the business of selling wine.

Destination recently released 200 cases of “2010 Honor,” a Rhone blend of Syrah, Mouvedre and Grenache from Lake County, Calif., just north of Napa Valley.

The wine was hand labeled and hand waxed on Feb. 4, and retails for $49 a bottle.

While Keuhner wants to make money, it’s also a labor of love. His father, Gary David Keuhner, served two tours as a helicopter pilot in Vietnam, then died back in the states after being hit by a car while fishing, when his son was only 6 years old.

For each bottle he sells, Keuhner will donate 25 percent of his profit to families that have a lost soldier or that are caring for one who has been severely injured.

“We will be releasing 75 cases of 2010 Highest Honor in late March which is a blend of Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot from the Atlas Peak area of Napa Valley that proudly displays the dog tags of Gary David Keuhner,” Keuhner said.

Honor is made by David Grega, who served 12 months in combat during Operation Iraqi Freedom as a tanker and Humvee machine-gunner.

The Buzz hears:

Speaking of education technology, Bethesda entrepreneur Devin Schain recently started CampusMD, which gives college students round-the-clock telephone access to licensed physicians.

Schain, 47, has founded and led several companies in the education field. He started his first education business, On Campus Marketing, as an undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania, and eventually sold the firm.

He also co-founded Educational Direct, which provided student loan consolidation services to graduates.

The National Defense University Foundation will host a dinner at the Ritz-Carlton on M and 22nd Streets NW on March 13, where former National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft will be honored. Scowcroft is to receive the International Statesman and Business Advocate Award from former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and IBM chief executive Ginni Rometty. Former Secretary of State Colin Powell and Marriott International Chairman J.W. “Bill” Marriott Jr. will be present.

American Capital Mortgage Investment Corp., a Bethesda-based mortgage real estate investment trust, reported strong earnings for the past quarter and saw its shares rise by 4.4 percent Feb. 11, on the news. The company celebrated by selling almost $600 million of stock to investors that night, increasing its outstanding equity by nearly 65 percent. The REIT now has $1.5 billion of outstanding stock and paid $3.60 per share in dividends in 2012. It invests in mortgage securities backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and also in mortgage securities without federal backing.

Restaurateur Sanjeev Tuli — known for his two Heritage India restaurants in the District — is opening a pair of restaurants in the lower level at 1901 Pennsylvania Ave. One will be Heritage India and the other will be named Crossroads, offering dishes from Asia, Latin America, the Mediterranean, Europe, Africa and North America. The opening is scheduled before the end of March.

Carlyle watch

Carlyle Group’s 1,300 professionals apparently like their own cooking. In 2012, according to the company, Carlyle’s team committed more than $1.4 billion to their own deals. That is after tax income. That brings the total to more than $6 billion since the firm began in 1987. “We believe these numbers are a very strong indicator of the internal confidence in our future,” Carlyle spokesman Chris Ullman said.

Factoid of the week

1,398. That’s the number of days since the last time Congress passed a budget. In that time, the deficit has grown $5.3 trillion to $16.5 trillion, according to the real estate services firm Jones Lang LaSalle. For perspective’s sake, the last budget was passed before Apple first released the iPad and when gas cost $2.05 a gallon. The budget drought has made it difficult for some to make long-term commitments on real estate. Not good for the local real estate pros.

Thomas Heath is a local business reporter and columnist, writing about entrepreneurs and various companies big and small in the Washington Metropolitan area. Previously, he wrote about the business of sports for The Post’s sports section for most of a decade.
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