Certifikid is making a bid to become a national presence in the family-focused daily deals market.
The Potomac-based daily deals site, founded by self-styled “mompreneur” Jamie Ratner, has acquired key assets of Chicago-based daily deals site FamilyFinds, including more than 100,000 e-mail addresses. The terms are confidential.
The move makes three-year-old Certifikid, which started in Ratner’s house off River Road, an overnight player in three major markets: Washington-Baltimore, Chicago and Los Angeles.
Under the confidential agreement, Certifikid will service FamilyFinds subscribers and its merchants.
Ratner, who has between 10 and 15 contract employees, has begun hiring employees in the new markets. She founded the company with $5,000 three years ago and has navigated the turbulent daily deals market, which has forced bigger rivals such as District-based LivingSocial to retrench and refocus.
Certifikid sold more than $2 million in family-oriented daily deals last year, turning a mid-six figure profit.
Several Internet veterans launched FamilyFinds in Los Angeles in December 2010 with $5.75 million.
Rock Creek Property Group has purchased the longtime home of the Gospel Rescue Ministriesbuildings in the District’s Gallery Place neighborhood for $5.9 million, and plans to turn the location into first-class apartments or condos.
The purchase came from Rock Creek’s Fund I Investors LLC.
Gospel Rescue Ministries, which was founded in 1906, will move to the Fulton House of Hope and Lambert House, which has programs for the homeless.
The property may become corporate or temporary housing for law firms, academia, nonprofits or corporations that are moving into the area.
“The growth around the Verizon Center is creating increasing demand for multi-housing,” Rock Creek Partner Andy Glick said.
* Mast Capital, a real estate investment firm, is investing millions in a 57-room hotel that will be called the Graham Georgetown— named for Alexander Graham Bell — at 1075 Thomas Jefferson St. NW. The hotel, which will include a rooftop bar, is on the site of the old Hotel Monticello, and is Mast’s first investment in Washington.
“It’s a rare acquisition opportunity, and Georgetown in particular has extremely high barriers to entry,” Camilo Miguel Jr., Mast Capital’s chief executive, said through a spokesman.
The graduate of the University of Miami is the son of Colombian immigrants and has been working in commercial real estate for most of a decade.
* Local cook Jenn Crovato, personal chef to many of Washington’s high rollers, is publishing her cookbook, “Olive Oil, Sea Salt & Pepper,” which comes out in early March. Crovato dedicates the book to the late Joe Robert, the financier and philanthropist best known for the annual Fight Night fundraiser for children. Crovato cooked exclusively for Joe from January 2006 through December 2011, making everything from fried oysters (soaked in Joe’s favorite Old Bay seasoning) to such comfort foods as meatloaf and chili. The book sells for $35.99, $3 of which will go to Fight For Children.
* Look closely at some of the new Verizon Wireless television commercials and you can spot the name of Reston-based Canvas, which provides mobile apps for businesses, across the top of a tablet. The aim was to reach Verizon Wireless customers who are “right in the sweet spot,” said Canvas chief executive James Quigley. Canvas, which served the authority that developed the 2012 London Olympics, is also in a Verizon print advertising campaign running in 38 publications. Canvas was founded in 2008 by Quigley, chief architect Chris Morrisette and chief mobile architect Matt Warner. The last funding round was a $1.75 million series B round led by Motorola Solutions Venture Capital, which put up $1.2 million.
* Urban lifestyle entrepreneur David von Storch is to open an Aura Spa at his Vida Fitness location at 1612 U St. NW on April 22. The $1 million spa, the company’s third in D.C., includes soundproof treatment rooms.
Boston-based Rasky Baerlein Strategic Communications was hired by the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority to help attract New England companies considering expansion to the Washington area.
Rasky Vice President Patrick Bench is a 1997 graduate of Fairfax’s Lake Braddock Secondary School.
1.12% That’s the number of District of Columbia employees who are temporary employees, according to Express Employment Professionals, an Oklahoma City-based staffing firm that is expanding into the District this year to grab some of the growing “temp” market. The privately held firm, which has $2.3 billion in sales and 600 offices, plans to open offices in the Adams Morgan area in Northwest D.C., and another office near Catholic University in Northeast D.C. “We see somewhere in the neighborhood of $450 million in staffing revenue in the District, and we see that growing at 5 percent a year,” said David Lewis, vice president of franchising. Why the growth? Companies in the Washington area are using more contingent staff because of an uncertain economy, Lewis said.
An earlier version of this column should have said it was Mast Capital, not the firm’s chief executive Camilo Miguel Jr., that invested millions in a 57-room hotel in Georgetown. The file has since been corrected.