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Venture Capital Pitches Going The Video Route

Will VCs actually watch? William Dunbar, managing director of Core Capital Partners in the District, says he would tune in to such a channel, but not necessarily to look for serious investing opportunities.

"I would do it frequently for entertainment value and . . . out of curiosity to see what's out there. But I can't imagine that I would expect to find a fundable company through that method," Dunbar said. "The deals that we end up financing usually come to us from someone we know."

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But Gardy thinks there are enough exposure-hungry start-ups to make the channel work. The degree to which he's right could be a telling indicator of the appetite post-bubble entrepreneurs have for venture funding. For his part, Gardy is still looking for that $2.5 million he set out to raise last year.

"You know I'll put myself up on this," he said.

Hackers Academy

Apparently, hackers are in hot demand around town. That's what the folks setting up a hacker training school in Springfield think, anyway.

At the FOSE government-technology conference next week, executives of Intense School, a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., computer-education company, will announce the establishment of a permanent Washington headquarters devoted primarily to "ethical hacking" training.

The company has been offering weeklong "hacker boot camps" in the area once a month for more than two years. The training isn't cheap -- about $2,500 for the week -- but the classes are usually filled to capacity, said Barry Kaufman, the company's co-founder. Demand for the training has been highest among employees of government agencies and the government contractor community, he said.

The school will double its boot camp schedule at the new headquarters and offer mini-courses on specific topics, such as hacking into wireless networks.

Some security professionals think such training does more harm than good by giving anyone with a couple of thousand dollars the tools to become a hacker. But Kaufman says that in order to protect computer systems, information technology professionals need to know what they're up against.

"If you don't have the skills to hack yourself, then somebody else is going to do it for you," Kaufman says. "The idea is to enable the right people . . . with the capability of at least knowing what the enemy looks like and what he's going to do."

Reinventing the Wheel

Overheard:

"I know my idea is more low-tech than the other ones, but . . . uh . . . so was the wheel," Jeffrey Buchakjian, a student at TowsonUniversity, said of his business plan to sell garbage bags lined with an absorbent material that would prevent leaks.

Buchakjian's venture was among the simplest of 40 presentations given by Maryland college students at the Greater Baltimore Technology Council's "Mosh Pit" competition Monday night. The field of 88 ideas will be narrowed to seven before a panel of "investor" judges picks three winners in April to split $30,000.

Ellen McCarthy writes about the local tech scene every Thursday. Her e-mail address is mccarthye@washpost.com.


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