The Networkers

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Networkers

Robert Neelbauer runs Washington area jobs listing site and management consulting firm StaffMagnet, and he hosts Social Matchbox, a quarterly tech jobs recruiting event.

Peter Corbett is chief executive of interactive marketing and consulting firm iStrategyLabs and co-hosts Twin Tech parties, designed to promote discussion between the government contracting set and a newer crop of Internet-focused entrepreneurs.

These guys are sometimes called the glue of Washington's tech community. In addition to running their own District-based companies, Robert Neelbauer and Peter Corbett organize the events that give disparate groups of developers, engineers, executives and investors an excuse to get together.

The most recent Social Matchbox, held last week, was more of a demo night than a recruiting speed-dating round, "because fewer people are hiring these days," said Neelbauer, a former Capitol Hill staffer. He said he has prepared for a slowdown at his own firm, Staffmagnet, by cutting costs and consulting on a wider range of projects as fewer companies are looking for employees.

Corbett, a former concert producer, fashion-show videographer and advertising media planner, has picked up a few tricks for throwing a party. The last Twin Tech get-together attracted 1,050 people, and his current challenge is finding a venue big enough for the next one.

"There are so many smart people sitting in the basement of the DoD [Defense Department] or an association, and in order for the community to grow we need to meet more of these people," he said.

Last month he worked with the District government to put together a contest, called Apps for Democracy, for software developers to design mobile and Web applications that would allow citizens to access government data. Getting citizens involved with government projects saves local resources and generates business for start-ups, Corbett said.

The Advisers

Raul Fernandez is chairman of ObjectVideo; board member of Web-hosting firm Network Solutions; investor in and adviser to mobile ad firm Mobile Posse, equity firm General Atlantic and tech incubator LaunchBox Digital; and part owner of the Washington Capitals, Wizards and Mystics.

Ted Leonsis is chairman of online payment service Revolution Money; board member of widget-maker Clearspring; majority owner of Snag Films; investor in LaunchBox Digital; investor in and adviser to GridPoint; and majority owner of the Capitals and Mystics.

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