Taher Behbehani, 52, is a seasoned techie and former corporate executive at American Express, Arbitron and Time Warner Cable who has put his own money behind a Dulles start-up designed to help parents and educators keep an eye on what kids are up to on the Web.
NetRef this past summer was rolled out for a trial run at Washington-area schools and is expected to go on the market later this year, said Behbehani, who sits on the board of Verite Educational Systems, a Dulles spin-out that created NetRef.
Behbehani, an angel investor from Chevy Chase, Md., contributed to the $1.3 million that Verite raised in the first round to fund NetRef’s rollout.
“I have two daughters, 12 and 13, and they have devices,” he said. The girls “download the app, and the teacher can see what they [are doing with their devices] in class in a real-time basis.”
A teacher, for example, can instruct students to go to a particular Web site, such as National Geographic. “If a child is using Snapchat instead, the teacher says ‘You should not be doing that. You should be on National Geographic.’ ”
Behbehani, who has invested in other technology companies before, said he stays involved in angel investing “because I believe that it’s the most effective way of keeping oneself educated and up to date on what is going on in technology.”
Behbehani said NetRef’s secret sauce “is the expertise to understand networking between devices in a very deep manner. Which, by the way, is an expertise that industries in this area are very good at — I would dare to say more than Silicon Valley — probably due to defense and security work around Washington.”
Bethesda-based RMA Worldwide Chauffeured Transportation just completed the interior demolition and gutting of its new, 16,000-square-foot Rockville headquarters. The 1970s building, which used high-grade copper tubing in the water lines (it was a biotech lab), is a gold mine. RMA is getting more than $3 per pound for the copper in recycling value. The company is spending between $500,000 and $1 million on the rehab, including a drive-in carwash. The company moved its operations to the lower level in July and has a bunch of telecommuting employees until the build-out is finished. (RMA also recently has installed Wi-Fi in every one of its 127-vehicle fleet.)
Danielle Tate, the Potomac entrepreneur who built two profitable businesses helping brides avoid the headaches associated with name-changes, is starting a third Web site on Tuesday. The new site, MarriageLicenseNow.com, helps complete the information and paperwork challenges related to marriage. The other two sites save hours of paperwork changing Miss to Mrs., and educate the bride-to-be on name change options using algorithms.
Anthony Lanier’s EastBanc and Jamestown Properties are hosting an Oktoberfest celebration in Georgetown’s Cady’s Alley Sept. 27 and 28. The retail corridor will be converted to a German fair with Bavarian food provided by Lanier’s Kafe Leopold. The event includes a beer hall, of course, featuring seasonal brews, live bands, Alpine music, and games and attractions. EastBanc/Jamestown are encouraging its Georgetown retail tenants to provide fall promotions.
Georgetown’s Baked & Wired cupcake factory/coffee shop/bakery has signed a lease for 4,231 square feet at Lyric 440K Apartments in Mount Vernon Triangle. The property’s owners, Quadrangle Development Corp. and the Wilkes Co., announced the 4,231 square foot lease. The new store, which will be named later, will include café seating and lots of sweet stuff.