Capital Buzz: MicroStrategy gets bigger in Tysons Corner


Kim Callis of Springfield samples the aroma of a tea variety kept on the “sniffing wall” at Capital Teas at National Harbor. (James A. Parcell/For The Washington Post)
August 14, 2011

Tysons Corner-based data mining specialist MicroStrategy earlier this month reported that its profits fell sharply in the second quarter, falling to $2.9 million for the three-month period compared with $11.6 million a year earlier, despite a 28 percent jump in revenue.

About the time those results were raising eyebrows on Wall Street, the company decided to increase its office space at 1850 Towers Crescent Plaza by 48,000 square feet— a 33 percent increase over its current 142,000 square feet.

Maybe not the best time to announce an expansion, but chief operating officer Sanju K. Bansal said the company needs the room to expand and capi­tal­ize on digital megatrends such as the rise of cloud computing, social media and mobile applications.

“All these are the major disruptive forces in technology today,” he said. “We started making investments last year to create products to harness the power of these trends.

“We are hiring people,” Bansal said. “It means we need space to house them. We have floors seven through 14, and we are going to be expanding to additional space on the sixth floor.”

According to the company’s filings with Securities and Exchange Commission, as of June 2011, the company had 2,823 employees, half of which are in the United States.

Tea capital

Peter Martino, founder and chief executive of Capital Teas, the Annapolis-based chainlet of five tea retail boutiques (four of which are in the Washington area), said he has been fielding inquiries from investment bankers ever since the national chain Teavana went public July 28 and rose 64 percent the first day.

“It sparked a tremendous external investor interest in Capital Teas,” said Martino. “We aren’t selling the company, but we are definitely raising capital to scale the company fast in a growing national market for high-quality tea.”

Meanwhile, Martino is adding a high-powered board member to Capital Teas: retired U.S. Navy Vice Admiral Edward M. Straw, who is a fellow alumnus of the Naval Academy and longtime mentor to Martino. Straw was president of global operations for Estee Lauder, the sprawling cosmetics company.

How does tea and perfume mix? They are both sold based on their smell.

The Buzz Hears:

* MicroStrategy Chairman and chief executive Michael Saylor is speaking at the National Press Club on 14th Street NW on Sept. 9. The subject is “The Mobile Economy, The Social Economy, The App Economy ... The New Economy: What’s It All About?”

* The weather held off until the very last minutes of the day at the Burning Tree Father-Son Golf Tournament earlier this month for sons and grandsons of members. At the dinner that followed, former Redskin Charles Mann gave a 20-minute talk on how building a successful team turns you into a winner.

Mann’s step-by-step approach to winning, and its roots in the Joe Gibbs-coached Redskins teams of the 1980s and early 90s, inspired a lot of Redskins fans to think fondly of days gone by.

Mann’s advice?

Always have passion for the craft/vocation that you choose, according to some of those present. The 1980s Redskins made up for all of their athletic shortcomings by having a love for the game. A team of passionate people will always beat a team with superior talent, he said.

* Anna Birch, president and founder of Adventure Links at Hemlock Overlook Regional Park in Clinton, recently auditioned for the cast of Bloomberg TV’s “The Mentor”, where budding entrepreneurs get help from CEOs of some of the best-known companies in the nation.

 She had a 45-minute interview recently and will hear next month on whether she is ready for prime time.

“They were very intrigued by the fact that I found a mentor very early in my start in this industry that challenged me to be myself,” Birch said. “I was painfully shy up to that point.”

* C urry’s Auto Service is growing like gangbusters, with its ninth store set to open this November on South Picket Street in Alexandria.

The Sterling-based high-end repair shop is building 6,100-square-feet with eight service bays.

Curry’s has already opened three stores in the last year, including Dulles Town Center, Fairfax City and Gaithersburg.

When is the public offering?

* Watch out, Venga. Savored, the restaurant Web site formerly known as VillageVines, launches its partnership with OpenTable in Washington, D.C. starting Wednesday. Privately held Savored is based in New York City, where Hearst Interactive Media is a major investor.

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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