Backfence Inc. of Falls Church, which has launched online community forums on the premise that all politics -- and advertising dollars -- are local, has secured $3 million from two big out-of-town investors: Manhattan venture capital firm SAS Investors and Redwood City, Calif., investment group Omidyar Network.
"This funding allows us to rapidly roll out Backfence to create vibrant local online communities like the three we've already launched in the Washington, D.C., area," said Mark Potts, Backfence's executive vice president, in a written statement. Potts was formerly on the staff of The Washington Post.
For more than a year, Backfence.com has chronicled the not-in-my-back-yard fights, business openings and closings, and other happenings in the Fairfax County communities of McLean and Reston. The Web site recently crossed the Potomac to add Montgomery County's Bethesda to the mix.
The hyper-local site also received angel funding from local technology community glitterati Edward H. Bersoff, Frank A. Bonsal Jr. and John Burton.
The three were also named to the Backfence advisory board, along with William F. Allman, general manager of Choice Media Inc.; Merrill Brown, principal in the consulting firm MMB Media; and Michael Rogers, former editor of Newsweek.com.
Backfence chief executive Susan DeFife said that Backfence plans to expand to 16 metropolitan markets, with 10 community chat sites in each, over the next three years.
Va. Gets High Ranking
The commonwealth of Virginia placed No. 13 in this year's Small Business Survival Index, the annual ranking of states' small business climates conducted by the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council.
In the metropolitan area, Maryland was further down at No. 25. The District ranked dead last at No. 51.
Fast Times for County Firms
Herndon network provider iDirect Technologies Inc. topped the list of fastest-growing technology companies in Virginia, as compiled by Deloitte & Touche LLP and Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP.
Fairfax companies litter the list, especially the Top 10, with two Sterling firms and one Arlington company getting in the way of a complete county romp.
All five designated "rising stars" are Fairfax companies. They are Spatial Data Analytics Corp. of Vienna, Lanmark Technology Inc. of Fairfax, Mobile 365 of Chantilly, Abraxas Corp. of McLean and Exostar LLC of Herndon.
Movers and Shakers
Jim Reagan has been named chief financial officer of Deltek Systems Inc., a software and systems provider headquartered in Herndon. Reagan was formerly with San Jose-based Aspect Communications Corp. He was executive vice president and chief financial officer of American Management Systems Inc., before the company was acquired by Montreal IT-giant CGI Group Inc. in May 2004.
F. Weller Meyer, chief executive of Falls Church-based Acacia Federal Savings Bank, has been named chairman of America's Community Bankers. The organization represents community financial institutions that pursue progressive, entrepreneurial and service-oriented strategies to serve customers.
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