DMI scoops up Pappas Group in $15M-$20M deal

Bethesda-based mobile technology company Digital Management Inc. has purchased Arlington-based digital advertising firm Pappas Group for $15 million to $20 million.

The goal is to combine DMI’s technology prowess with Pappas Group’s experience in digital marketing and advertising.

“These guys are the tip of the spear, the digital and creative part,” DMI founder Jay Sunny Bajaj, 37, said.

DMI helps some 150 brands, including Discovery Channel, Geico, Anheuser-Busch Inbev and ESPN, move their operations to mobile devices. For example, DMI is under contract to manage 300,000 mobile devices for the Defense Department, handling basic tasks such as securing e-mails and running applications used on the battlefield. DMI has 1,800 employees and expects nearly $400 million in revenue this year.

Pappas Group was started in 2003 by Anthony Pappas, 41, a well-connected veteran of the Washington technology scene. Pappas is staying on with DMI. Pappas Group serves clients such as AARP, the African Wildlife Foundation, Rosetta Stone, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Blackboard and Audi .

DMI is “the perfect engine to help drive our growth,” Pappas said.

Pappas started work at Proxicom, a Reston-based Internet development company created and since sold by Raul Fernandez. Pappas, who at 26 became the youngest vice president at the company, made enough from the sale to start the Pappas Group.

He comes from a family of self-starters. His father is an independent art director in the film business. His mother, Virginia Pappas, is the chief executive of the Reston-based Society of Nuclear Medicine.

Bajaj, a Montgomery County native, also comes from a family of entrepreneurs. His parents have built three successful companies, two of which went public.

More meetings

Add another name to the list of Washington people getting into the conference business.

Local PR player Lauren Wesley Wilson is preparing her first Women of Color in Communications conference for this August at the Ritz-Carlton in Key Biscayne, Fla.

The 29-year-old businesswoman, whose day job is in public relations at Qorvis MSLGroup, has assembled an impressive group of sponsors, including Coca-Cola, Wells Fargo, Prudential, BET Networks, Toyota, Edelman, and Weber Shandwick. She also lassoed heavyweights such as former White House social secretary Desiree Rogers.

“I started working on this at the end of 2012,” Wilson said. “My social life has been dwindling ever since.”

Don’t feel sorry for her. She could turn a handsome profit on the conference.

The purpose of the conference is to help minority women more effectively network in the communication field, said Wilson, who started her own business, ColorComm. The start-up, which has about 300 members from Washington, New York and Chicago, has been hosting quarterly lunches.

The Buzz hears:

Paul Ruppert of Upshur Books has started a “founders club” at his new store at 827 (you guessed it!) Upshur St. NW in Petworth. Members can pay $250, $500 or $1,000 up front, which Upshur Books will match over five years. Who said print is dead?

thomas.health@washpost.com

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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