The Download: Canvas goes international with Sydney office

December 2, 2012

James Quigley co-founded Canvas in 2008 and already bears a title he didn’t expect so soon: chief executive of an international company.

Canvas, which provides mobile apps for businesses, will open its first overseas office in Sydney. The company has been adding foreign customers at a rapid clip, and an office on the other side of the globe will allow the firm to provide around-the-clock customer support.

“We started having people all over the world start to use the solution, and their chance of becoming a paid subscriber [was higher] if we got to talk to them on the phone,” Quigley said.

Canvas employs 25 people at its headquarters in Reston. The Sydney office will be smaller, Quigley said, but it won’t be the company’s only overseas outpost for long. Canvas intends to open an office in Europe next year.

“It used to be even in the ’90s you would own the United States first. You wouldn’t think about going anywhere else ... because it’s very expensive and hard to do,” he said. “It’s almost impossible to not have a global business [today] if you’re on the Internet, and if you do it right ... it ends up happening faster whether you wanted it or not.”

Cash for content

Dulles-based Cont3nt.com collected an undisclosed sum last week from Virginia’s Center for Innovative Technology GAP Funds. The start-up provides an online marketplace where everyday people can sell photos and video to news organizations.

“The Arab Spring, Occupy Wall Street and the recent presidential elections have shown the power of real-time communications and citizen journalism, but today it’s still difficult for citizen journalists to earn money on even the most amazing content,” Anton Gelman, Cont3nt.com’s chief executive, said in a statement.

Enlightened

Enlightenment Capital, an investment firm with offices in Arlington and Chevy Chase, intends to raise $100 million to finance companies in the aerospace, defense and government sectors.

The plans were disclosed last week in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. Enlightenment’s managing partners, Devin Talbott and Pierre Chao, declined to comment.

The firm invests in small and mid-size companies in the form of senior debt, mezzanine debt and minority equity, according to its Web site.

Steven Overly covers the business of technology, biotechnology and venture capital in the Washington region for The Washington Post and its weekly Capital Business publication. In that capacity, he has written about start-up struggles, investment trends and major drug discoveries.
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