Name: Yellow House Associates LLC
Funding: The company is self-funded and is not looking for venture funding.
Big idea: Yellow House provides software engineering and information assurance consulting services to intelligence and law-enforcement clients.
Where the idea was hatched: The company's five executives met while working together for the Defense Intelligence Agency as contractors. "Projects there gave us a neat background in information-sharing, data-exploitation and work-flow systems -- all the different pieces of how an organization can take fragmented data and put it together into a correlated system that is greater than the sum of its parts," said Michael Schader, president and chief executive.
Example of use: The company's primary customer so far is the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department. Initially hired to maintain one database, Yellow House ended up building a data-integration system named Columbo that brought together information from disparate databases. "An officer would have to go into separate systems to find data and merge it together," said Richard Harris, the company's chief technology officer. "Columbo lets you have a single interface to search all of those databases and have a combined view of that data." Columbo also allows officers to map crimes and other events in the District in order to view hot spots or high crime areas, said Kevin Barone, chief operating officer.
Who's in charge: Schader; Catherine King, chief financial officer; Gregory Woods Sr., chief marketing officer; Barone; and Harris.
Employees: Ten. The company plans to hire four employees soon.
Web site: www.yellowhouseassociates.net
Partners: Yellow House is part of Lockheed Martin's team for intelligence work and is also working with Lexis-Nexis on integrating commercial database products and internal organization databases.
What the name means: Schader came up with the name while visiting the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam. "I was reflecting on why life as a contractor in a big company was so unpleasant. . . . We had to fight our bosses and managers to let us stay together and help each other. . . . I saw [Van Gogh's] painting of the yellow house. His dream was to make a colony out of it. He wanted his friends and fellow artists to feed off of each other. I thought it would be a great name for a company."
Quote: "Once people see what you can do with development and expert engineering, then the users themselves become your greatest asset. They have great ideas," Schader said.
-- Andrea Caumont