DID YOU HEAR? . . .
"The technology part of this business is running at 150 miles an hour."
-- Emanuel J. "Manny" Friedman, chief executive of Friedman, Billings, Ramsey Group Inc., on why the Arlington investment bank's three name partners decided to stop running day-to-day operations and start keeping a full-time eye on the changes in their business.
A Gift That Keeps on Giving
The University of Virginia's Darden Graduate School of Business Administration is set to open an entrepreneur research and resource center in Reston in January, thanks to a huge donation by an alumnus.
Frank Batten Sr., the retired chairman of Landmark Communications Inc., ponied up a whopping $60 million to help the business school start the Batten Institute and fund various entrepreneurial programs in the university system. The $60 million was the biggest single gift to the university.
Batten, in a statement, said he wanted "to challenge and enable Darden to become a global leader in the new entrepreneurial economy."
Edward A. Snyder, dean of the school, said the institute hopes to become a focal point of the high-tech entrepreneurship in the region.
"Years ago Stanford established an office in Silicon Valley to help young technology companies," Snyder said. "We want to be viewed in the same way that Stanford and Caltech are viewed in Silicon Valley."
The institute will be directed by Wendell Dunn, who ran the Batten Center, which Batten helped establish in Charlottesville with an earlier $13.5 million gift. The institute will have two full-time employees and a regular rotation of visiting professors, executives-in-residence and ongoing seminars and conferences.
Finally, Snyder said, the gift will also allow for the formation of a venture fund the university can use to incubate promising young companies. The fund's size and focus have yet to be determined.
Business school officials will be scouting sites in the Dulles tech corridor in the coming weeks and plan to open for business Jan. 1.
-- Terence O'Hara (firstname.lastname@example.org)
We can only hope Michael Saylor has altogether stopped paying attention to the value of his 59.5 percent stake in MicroStrategy Inc. Even for Monday Morning, which doesn't own MicroStrategy, watching its stock climb is like the fear and anticipation you feel in a roller-coaster car, eyes toward the sky, as it click-clicks to the top of a very high peak -- the one right before the blood-curdling drop.
Saylor, MicroStrategy's 35-year-old founder and CEO, woke up this morning worth $5.307 billion, capping an unbelievable week in the value of Washington area technology stocks, especially for MicroStrategy. The stock opened last Monday at $143, then skipped around a bit before making a final lurching leap to $231.31 at the Friday close.
At its current rate of earnings (28 cents a share in the past 12 months), it would take more than 835 years for MicroStrategy to earn back the investment of someone who bought at that price. But then, people don't care about price-to-earnings ratios anymore, do they?
The number of Washington area companies in the Deloitte & Touche Technology Fast 500 survey, which ranks technology companies by five-year revenue growth. Of the 77, 41 were in Virginia, 35 were in Maryland and one was in the District. The fastest-growing tech company in the region? Global TeleSystems Group Inc. of McLean, which operates telecommunications networks in Europe and had a 14,989 percent five-year growth rate, the 17th highest of any tech company in the survey.