Adelman scion brings in $850k for video business

Entrepreneurship apparently runs in the Adelman family. Many know Ken Adelman , former ambassador to the United Nations and former director of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. He and his wife, Carol, have a funky company, called Movers & Shakespeares, which uses Shakespeare plays to teach leadership, management and strategy to business organizations.

Their nephew, David Adelman, a Harvard grad with an MBA from the Wharton School, recently closed an $850,000 funding round for his start-up, Silver Spring-based ReelGenie.

The company, which will debut in November, runs a Web service that helps families turn online photos and content — think weddings, Christmas, bar mitzvah, graduations — into videos.

David Adelman said the investors are led by local early-stage investor Cal Simmons, whose portfolio includes technology company Parature, burger chain Five Guys and hospitality site Five Star Alliance. Others investors include CNF, which is the venture capital arm of Clark Enterprises; the state-sponsored Maryland Venture Fund, faculty members from Wharton and other local investors. The round follows a $111,000 “friends and family” fundraiser last year, and will be used to fine-tune the product and hire more employees.

“This is a Web site that you go online and create a video on,” said Adelman, who has seven full-time employees and five part-timers.

The entrepreneur tweaked ReelGenie’s strategy from its original concept, which was the creation of family histories, including photos, text, documents and narration, into the online application to go after a wider audience. The original strategy was similar to his Reel Tributes, which is a production company that makes videos for families and organizations.

The new strategy includes partnering with social media sites and other companies. Adelman would not name the partners, but said they are in discussion with several.

“What we saw was that people loved the concept, but weren’t willing to spend thousands of dollars,” David Adelman said. “We went online to bring this to the masses. This is empowering people to capture memories and lives” through videos.

Getting their feet dirty

What do Bethesda-based KoolSpan , Reston-based Clarabridge and McLean-based Celerity have in common?

Other than being tech companies, they also like getting dirty. And muddy.

The companies are sending teams to Running Dirty’s four-mile “Hell Mile” obstacle course to help build teamwork and get in shape. The races are set for Aug. 3 in Frederick and Sept. 7 in Chantilly.

“There’s a huge incentive throughout corporate America right now for health and wellness to reduce insurance costs and promote active lifestyles and physical fitness,” said Mike Stamper, one of the owners of Elkridge-based Epic Brands, which organizes and owns the races.

The teams can range from two to 200, but most run about 50 people.

So what’s the point for employers?

“You’re getting employees outside of their normal environment, getting them in an atmosphere that is outdoors where they have to work together to complete the task,” Stamper said.

Then — hopefully — they go back to the office and make money.

The Buzz Hears:

CityStash Storage , an Arlington-based storage start-up founded by Tim Friemel, is earning $25,000 a month in revenue, up from $10,000 a month last year and enough to turn a slight profit. “We’re in the black, not the red,” executive Patrick Halligan reported. “We pick up the students’ boxes or furniture that they want stored while they are home for the summer, or if they are studying abroad during the school year. We have one truck full time and two trucks per college season,” said Halligan, who is a 2012 graduate of Fordham University, where he studied business marketing. “We have a five-year plan to open as many locations as we can across the country.”

Local entrepreneur Alan Hayman phoned me last week from Aspen, where he had just finished a 30-mile bike ride.

He wanted to talk about his new start-up, University of Sales.

Hayman, 60, is a local tech mogul who made his fortune at Columbia-based Micros Systems, which provides cash register software to the hospitality industry.

Hayman, who ran a sports smartphone software company called XCO SportsLink, has an idea for a Web site catering to the nation’s 15 million salespeople.

“I have been a student of sales for 40 years,” Hayman said. “There is no portal or community for salespeople to trade information and trade strategy and crowdsource information and experiences.”

Hayman is partnering with Erik Kimel, a young entrepreneur who built Rockville-based Peer2Peer Tutors before selling it to Aristotle Circle in January 2012. Kimel stayed on as chief strategy officer until two months ago.

The pair are looking for faculty members who can be contributors.

“I didn’t want to do it myself,” Hayman said. “Erik is the perfect match. Young. Smart. Built a business and sold it, and knows how to teach people. Take my sales experience and his education experience and we are going to put that together.”

Factoid of the Week

That’s the amount of cash the Rep. John K. Delaney (D-Md.) will receive as part of the deal to sell his bank holding company, CapitalSource Inc., to California’s PacWest Bancorp in a $2.3 billion transaction. Delaney owns 7 million shares of CapitalSource, which may make him one of the largest - if not the largest - shareholder of Pacwest. His Pacwest shares will be worth $67 million. Delaney founded CapitalSource in 2000 in Chevy Chase, Md. The company bought a bank and has been headquartered in California the last few years, but still has several hundred employees in a Maryland office.

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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