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Brat Pack

  • Introduction
  • Jon Hallett
  • Brent Halliburton
  • Jamey Harvey
  • Julie Holdren
  • David Miller
  • Jason Olim
  • Matthew Pittinsky
  • Andrew Stern
  • Oron Strauss
  • Christopher Young

    From The Post

  • Blackboard practices its presentations in front of volunteers.

  •   Matthew Pittinsky, 25, CEO of Blackboard Inc.

     

  • Name & Title:
    Matthew Pittinsky, Chairman and CEO
  • Company:
    Blackboard Inc., Washington, D.C.
  • Revenues:
    Proj. 1998 Revenues: $1.5 million
  • Age:
    25
  • Education:
    B.A. in Political Science from American University, Master's in Education from Harvard
  • Motivation:
    Making a Difference: " What drives me is the passion to build the product to make teaching and learning over the Web a reality."
  • Attitude toward money:
    "To make everyone who works here a millionaire would be really, really cool."
  • For relaxation:
    Spends time with his girlfriend in New York every other weekend "religiously."

    TechCapital magazine
  • The 19th Street office building in downtown Washington looks respectable enough. But take an elevator to the sixth floor, breeze around the corner to the suite with the Blackboard logo out front and open the door. Inside there are three red beanbag chairs, a Foosball table and, yes, a blackboard, the old-fashioned kind with the word "Welcome" scrawled in chalk.

    Barely a year old, Blackboard is making a splash in the online learning market. Besides building its own software that universities are using to make course work available to students online, the company has been working with Educom, a nonprofit consortium of some 600 colleges and universities on the Instructional Management Systems project, which would standardize Internet-based education tools.

    While working at KPMG Peat Marwick as a higher education consultant, Pittinsky was struck by the growing need for education-based Internet software. He figured that as more and more universities are wiring their campuses with an advanced technology infrastructure, a market for tools to build the online dimension for education would be created. He left KPMG in 1997 to concentrate on Blackboard in earnest. The company retains a partnership with KPMG, whose higher education consulting division will have first dibs on Blackboard products.

    In May, Blackboard acquired Ithaca, N.Y.-based CourseInfo and their eponymous Internet course management software, a multimedia tool that allows universities to put class information on the Web in use at universities like Cornell and Yale. The company has 21 employees and plans to do $1.5 million in sales this year.

    Pittinsky says he's been hanging back on raising money, but is currently ramping up his efforts. The company closed on several private equity rounds with angel investors in May and is currently going after serious venture investments. "By next year, if we're not a 40-person company with hundreds of clients, we're going to just disappear," Pittinsky says.

    As far as exit strategies go, Pittinsky says he's had one serious acquisition offer already, but he says he's more interested in playing a role in defining the market and seeing what his company can do on its own.

    Next CEO

    © Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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