Reporter

Capital Buzz: Kit Check innoculated with $10.4M investment

District-based Kit Check, which automates the replenishment of hospital medication kits, last week announced a $10.4 million investment by several venture capital firms, including Arlington-based Sands Capital Ventures.

The company makes software and radio frequency identification tag readers that help technicians and pharmacists refill medical trays — “kits” — stationed for emergencies throughout hospitals.

Seven hospitals, including the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, use the technology.

Kevin MacDonald of Kit Check. (Courtesy of Kit Check)

Kit Check was co-founded a year ago by Kevin MacDonald and Tim Kress-Spatz, both of whom live in the Washington area.

MacDonald took a couple of questions about the company last week:

How many employees?

Twenty, but we are looking to more than double in the next six to 12 months.

Why is your company important?

I don’t think most people realize that these kits are used for virtually every procedure in the hospital. Your average kit has a one-in-five chance of having an expired or incorrect drug in it.

Does this affect Obamacare?

Not directly. This does go toward bending the cost curve. If you think why it is that Benadryl costs you $800, it’s because the drug is going to get touched in the course of its life by 16 people, manually looking at the expiration date and the lot number.

If we could reduce the amount of time people look at these manually by 90 percent and reduce the chance that people will use incorrect drugs from the kits, then you’re going to save handling and medical error costs.

If it is so revolutionary, why are you in only seven hospitals?

We’re pretty new. That’s why we are doing fundraising. We are building a sales team, delivery team and infrastructure required to fill the demand that we are getting.

How did you come up with the idea?

I was out to dinner with my wife and a friend of hers, who happened to be a hospital pharmacist. Over dinner, the pharmacist was talking about processing kits and checking expiration dates on these meds. I couldn’t believe that someone that highly educated and that highly compensated was doing such a manual activity.

‘Search’ finds space

Herndon-based Search Technologies finished its 2013 fiscal year June 30 with 20 percent growth and a new office in Germany.

The staff has grown from 100 at the end of last year to 117 currently, with offices in San Diego, Kentucky, the United Kingdom and Costa Rica. It is expanding its Herndon headquarters starting Sept. 1 from 2,060 square feet to 3,409, allowing for 30 more employees. The company’s Costa Rica office will increase from 4,250 square feet to 5,150, which will hold 60 people.

Search recently began a college recruiting program as a way to find technicians. The company brought in three students from George Mason University and one from Lehigh University in Pennsylvania.

“It is an important part of our overall growth strategy to invest in college graduates who are agile and eager to learn new technologies,” Search founder Kamran Khan said in an e-mail. “We want to train them to be search engine experts.”

The company, which extracts nuggets of insight from reams of structured online information, now has 500 customers, including EMC, Accenture, Deloitte, Reed Business and the Council of Better Business Bureaus.

Sold out

The District’s sole distillery, Green Hat Gin, is dry — for the moment. That’s what I learned after running into my neighbor, Green Hat co-founder Michael Lowe. A former litigator for Verizon, Lowe tells me he ran out of the gin a week ago because of a big sale and expansion into Maryland, where the year-old distiller is in 40 stores and bars. The company makes its product in a 90-year-old brick warehouse in Northeast Washington, a short pub crawl from Gallaudet University.

“We had been making about 40 cases a week, so we are going to 80 cases,” he said. “We are breaking even, at least one of us is taking a salary and we are beginning to pay back loans. Unless the market drops off substantially, we should be okay.”

‘Fore!’ the kids

Chantilly entrepreneur Allen O. Cage Jr., above, owns several companies that collectively gross more than $40 million and employ 275 people across the United States. His firms processed more than $40 billion in e-commerce transactions last year.

“We do back-office commercial payments and back-office stuff for large and small corporations — 17,000 in all,” said Cage, who flew Cobra helicopters for the U.S. Army for 24 years.

Cage is now using his business contacts to help raise money at his Aug. 12 golf tournament to benefit his YouthQuest Foundation, which provides scholarships for at-risk teens. The tournament is at the Trump National Golf Club in Sterling.

“We raised $75,000 last year and we are hoping to raise that to $100,000 this year,” said Cage. “There will be sports figures, business people.”

Factoid of the week

1,000. That’s the number of Swarovski crystal figurines that Lanham-based Optoro cleared in two months by selling them to individuals online in 80 countries. Optoro received a $25 million investment last week from a group led by Revolution Growth, which is the Ted Leonsis, Steve Case and Donn Davis venture capital fund. Optoro builds software that redirects goods returned to big-box stores, such as Best Buy and Wal-Mart, and sells them directly to consumers on sites such as eBay and Amazon.com. Optoro also recently sold a life-size Captain Kirk chair from “Star Trek” and last year it found buyers for more than 25,000 laptops.

District-based Kit Check, which automates the replenishment of hospital medication kits, last week announced a $10.4 million investment by several venture capital firms, including Arlington-based Sands Capital Ventures.

The company makes software and radio frequency identification tag readers that help technicians and pharmacists refill medical trays — “kits” — stationed for emergencies throughout hospitals.

Seven hospitals, including the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, use the technology.

Kit Check was co-founded a year ago by Kevin McDonald and Tim Kress-Spatz , both of whom live in the Washington area.

McDonald took a couple of questions about the company last week:

How many employees?

Twenty, but we are looking to more than double in the next six to 12 months.

Why is your company important?

I don’t think most people realize that these kits are used for virtually every procedure in the hospital. Your average kit has a one-in-five chance of having an expired or incorrect drug in it.

Does this have any affect on Obamacare?

Not directly. This does go toward bending the cost curve. If you think why it is that Benadryl costs you $800, it’s because the drug is going to get touched in the course of its life by 16 people, manually looking at the expiration date and the lot number.

If we could reduce the amount of time people look at these manually by 90 percent and reduce the chance that people will use incorrect drugs from the kits, then you’re going to save handling and medical error costs.

If it is so revolutionary, why are you in only seven hospitals?

We’re pretty new. That’s why we are doing fundraising. We are building a sales team, delivery team and infrastructure required to fill the demand that we are getting.

How did you come up with the idea?

I was out to dinner with my wife and a friend of hers, who happened to be a hospital pharmacist. Over dinner, the pharmacist was talking about processing kits and checking expiration dates on these meds. I couldn’t believe that someone that highly educated and that highly compensated was doing such a manual activity.

‘Search’ finds space

Herndon-based Search Technologies finished its 2013 fiscal year June 30 with 20 percent growth and a new office in Germany.

The staff has grown from 100 at the end of last year to 117 currently, with offices in San Diego, Kentucky, the United Kingdom and Costa Rica. It is expanding its Herndon headquarters starting Sept. 1 from 2,060 square feet to 3,409, allowing for 30 more employees. The company’s Costa Rica office will increase from 4,250 square feet to 5,150, which will hold 60 people.

Search recently began a college recruiting program as a way to find technicians. The company brought in three students from George Mason University and one from Lehigh University in Pennsylvania.

“It is an important part of our overall growth strategy to invest in college graduates who are agile and eager to learn new technologies,” Search founder Kamran Khan said in an e-mail. “We want to train them to be search engine experts.”

The company, which extracts nuggets of insight from reams of structured online information, now has 500 customers, including EMC, Accenture, Deloitte, Reed Business and the Council of Better Business Bureaus.

Sold out

The District’s sole distillery, Green Hat Gin, is dry — for the moment. That’s what I learned after running into my neighbor, Green Hat co-founder Michael Lowe. A former litigator for Verizon, Lowe tells me he ran out of the gin a week ago because of a big sale and expansion into Maryland, where the year-old distiller is in 40 stores and bars. The company makes its product in a 90-year-old brick warehouse in Northeast Washington, a short pub crawl from Gallaudet University.

“We had been making about 40 cases a week, so we are going to 80 cases,” he said. “We are breaking even, at least one of us is taking a salary and we are beginning to pay back loans. Unless the market drops off substantially, we should be okay.”

‘Fore!’ the kids

Chantilly entrepreneur Allen O. Cage Jr., above, owns several companies that collectively gross more than $40 million and employ 275 people across the United States. His firms processed more than $40 billion in e-commerce transactions last year. “We do back-
office commercial payments and back-office stuff for large and small corporations — 17,000 in all,” said Cage, who flew Cobra helicopters for the U.S. Army for 24 years.

Cage is now using his business contacts to help raise money at his Aug. 12 golf tournament to benefit his YouthQuest Foundation, which provides scholarships for at-risk teens. The tournament is at the Trump National Golf Club in Sterling.

“We raised $75,000 last year and we are hoping to raise that to $100,000 this year,” said Cage. “There will be sports figures, business people.”

Factoid of the week

1,000 That’s the number of Swarovski crystal figurines that Lanham-based Optoro cleared in two months by selling them to individuals online in 80 countries. Optoro received a $25 million investment last week from a group led by Revolution Growth, which is the T ed Leonsis , Steve Case and Donn Davis venture capital fund. Optoro builds software that redirects goods returned to big-box stores, such as Best Buy and Wal-Mart, and sells them directly to consumers on sites such as eBay and Amazon.com. Optoro also recently sold a life-size Captain Kirk chair from “Star Trek” and last year it found buyers for more than 25,000 laptops.