Capital One helps Girls Scouts sell their cookies

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly spelled Kevin MacDonald’s name and included an incorrect address for Kit Check’s new office. This version has been corrected.


Through Capital One’s Spark Pay, Girl Scouts are able to offer customers a mobile payment solution. (Girl Scouts Nation’s Capital/Girl Scouts Nation’s Capital)

In a nod to entre­pre­neur­ship — and what is fast becoming a cashless society — Capital One is equipping the Virginia and District of Columbia Girl Scouts with mobile technology to make it even easier for the young cookie purveyors to ring up sales of Samoas, Tagalongs and Thin Mints.

Capital One is giving the girls its Spark Pay app, enabling credit card transactions through a smartphone or tablet.

The McLean-based credit card giant is hoping the effort will eliminate the need for cash, improve cookie sales and impart some business acumen to the young girls. The app will even help track inventory — all those cookie boxes — and market through social networking.

“The Girl Scout cookie program has helped young women gain confidence, work collaboratively and build a better understanding of business and financial basics,” Keri Gohman, executive vice president of small business at Capital One, said in an e-mail. “These troops are our future business leaders.”

The Buzz hears:

Two Washington 20-somethings have started Raise Your City, a social venture that organizes music events and then uses the money from ticket sales and sponsorship to raise money for local causes. Raise Your City is the brainchild of Ryan Ulbrich and Brendan O’Connor, college classmates and alumni of Elon University in North Carolina. For day jobs, Ulbrich works at the Corporate Executive Board, and O’Connor is employed by Tauzin Consultants, a start-up lobbying firm. The company hosts benefit events targeted at millennials across the city.

WeWork, the incubator that bills itself as a movement to change “the way people live and work,” has signed a lease with Vornado for 100,000 square feet in Dupont Circle, according to co-founder Adam Neumann. The company, with offices in New York and San Francisco, previously acquired space in Chinatown and at the former Wonder Bread Factory on S Street in Northwest D.C., both of which open Feb. 3.

The Dupont Circle site will open in about five months.

WeWork, which also has space in Los Angeles, is about to enter the Berlin, London and Tel Aviv markets, Neumann said.

Kit Check, which automates the replenishment of hospital medication kits, has moved. The company in early January found 5,000 square feet of office space at 803 7th St. NW, enough to accommodate growth of up to 40 employees.

“We outgrew our former offices in Rosslyn,” spokesman Bret Kinsella said.

The company began a year ago with two hospitals as customers, and closed 2013 with 43 hospitals and a $10 million funding round. The co-founders, Kevin MacDonald and Tim Kress-Spatz, met at Villanova University. Both live in the District.

Online traffic at Mort Zuckerman’s U.S. News & World Report, based in the District, increased by 50 percent in 2013, with a monthly average of 20 million unique visitors. The big hit was the 2014 Best Colleges rankings, which broke all web traffic records.

Rockville’s Kendall Capital Management hosts a seminar next month on middle-class millionaires who want to protect their wealth.

What’s a middle-class millionaire? Someone over 50 years old who makes $150,000 to $300,000 a year—and saves.

The event is at the Bethesda North Marriott on Feb. 19.

Bulking up

David von Storch’s Vida Fitness chain is starting work on its sixth location in the District Feb. 1.

Von Stoch said the newest facility at the Navy Yard, blocks from Nationals Park, will open some time this summer.

The fitness center, which will be 28,000 square feet and open for sales on Feb. 3, already has 100 customers signed up, according to von Storch.

“We like Navy Yard because there is a lot of residential density coming online south of the [Southeast Freeway],” he said. “Forest City, the developer of The Yards, has spent a lot of time and energy to create the right mix of residential, retail and commercial space.

Von Storch also owns Bang Salon and Capital City Brewery, which is the real cash cow of his Urban Adventures empire. He said all five of his exercise facilities are profitable.

“As long as I am having fun at it and making money, I’m not really ready to slow down. I don’t have an exit strategy.”

Factoid of the week

4.3m That’s the number of boxes of Girl Scout Cookies sold last year in the Washington region.

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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