Talk about a quick turnaround.
Last October, well-known local entrepreneur Mark Walsh became the new president of FedBid, the Vienna-based marketplace for government services and products. Ted Leonsis and Steve Case invested $25 million through their Revolution Growth venture capital firm in FedBid.
Walsh gave up his executive role at Bethesda-based GeniusRocket to take on his new responsibilities.
Walsh left FedBid four months later.
We hear that Walsh, who frequently brings his opinions and his outsize personality to television financial news channels like CNBC, clashed with FedBid founder Ali Saadat, who owned most of the company until Revolution Growth’s investment.
“Mark was instrumental in getting the commercial business launched at FedBid, and has now moved on to work with Revolution on other projects,” said Revolution Growth executive vice president Ron Klain, adding that FedBid is expecting record revenue this year.
Since investing in FedBid in January 2012, Leonsis and Case have had their eyes on expanding the company’s business into state and local government procurements and other sectors.
Walsh, an AOL veteran along with Leonsis and Case, has already left the FedBid board.
Two ex-LivingSocial employees, Ricky Choi and Phil Modavski, want to clean up your sock drawer.
The Washington entrepreneurs just launched Nice Laundry out of an apartment at Logan Circle, a Web site that sells you socks and takes your old ones for recycling.
“Like many people, we had terrible relationships with our sock drawers,” Choi wrote in an e-mail. “Boring colors, missing socks and worn-out pairs. Starting fresh meant choosing between cheap, poor-quality blacks and grays or spending a fortune on designer socks. We knew there had to be a better way, so we created Nice Laundry to make it easy for everyone to refresh their sock drawers with just a few clicks.”
Nice Laundry even provides a prepaid shipping label. The marketers/techies have partnered with a large textile recycler to dispose of the old socks, either through reuse or recycling.
The businessmen raised $119,000 on online-crowdsourcer Kickstarter to fund the launch.
The Roof Terrace Restaurant and Bar at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts last week shut down for a month to remodel. The restaurant, whose view has been its big draw, will reopen for dinner and Sunday brunch. The KC Café remains open. Restaurant Associates chef Joe Gurner has created a menu of seasonal dishes and bistro fare, offering new takes on classic dishes.
Fairfax- based Omega World Travel — which books travel for government and businesses — partnered with Seattle-based Yapta, a four-year-old company that seeks to lower airfare costs through a real-time tracking software called FareIQ. Yapta follows airfare price fluctuations and notifies clients with automatic price alerts.
Omega bills more than $1 billion in trips a year and produces revenue in excess of $50 million.
First came Uber, the San Francisco-based taxi cab technology company — whose investors include Amazon.com founder (and soon-to-be Washington Post owner) Jeff Bezos and Wall Street bigwig Goldman Sachs — that arrived on the Washington scene in late 2011.
Now comes another Bay Area technology disruptor called Cater2.me, which is opening in Washington in September and is hoping to disrupt the traditional catering business.
The three-year-old start-up, whose founders are former Wall Streeters Alex Lorton and Zach Yungst, is a technology company that marries the business lunch crowd with local restaurants.
Its Web site serves as a platform for companies to customize food orders for their employees.
“Our main business model is companies getting lunch multiple times a week or month, for 50 people, some of whom have allergies, or are vegetarian or gluten free,” Lorton said. “With that information in hand, we can effectively plan out meals. We act as a catering manager, suggesting restaurants for clients, picking out menus customized to clients, creating meals for them and so on and so forth.”
Cater2.me, which employs 35 people, will have salespeople on the ground in Washington, talking to both restaurants and to businesses who need catered food.
The restaurants that have signed on include Bub and Pop’s, Dangerously Delicious Pies and Luke’s Lobster.
“We are looking for small, local vendors, traditional mom and pops, food trucks and folks who set up at farmer’s markets,” Lorton said.
Cater2.me’s sweet spot has been the technology crowd, and it has served more than 2 million meals to companies in San Francisco, New York and Chicago, including Warby Parker, Eventbrite, Adobe, LinkedIn, Yahoo and Pinterest.
“I take it back to the Google effect,” Lorton said. “When Google had these lavish cafeterias, the other, smaller companies would supply free food to their employees in order to compete for talent. We work with companies that don’t have full cafeterias but want to compete with the ones that do.”
Lorton said the company has been profitable since its beginning.
$1 M: That’s the cost of the lighting fixtures at Sheila Johnson’s new Salamander Resort & Spa, which opens Aug. 29 in Middleburg. The 168-room luxury getaway includes a 1,600-pound chandelier (pictured) in the resort’s restaurant, Harrimans, which also includes a 42-foot-high octagonal, domed ceiling.