In the fourth annual D.C. Entrepreneurship Week, local start-up founders convened at the DLA Piper offices in downtown Washington to pitch businesses to investors, network and discuss social, legal and financial challenges affecting the District’s start-ups. ¶ DCEW co-founder Jon Leonardo started the event in Washington and has replicated it in Raleigh and soon New York. The next DCEW will be held in the spring of 2014. ¶ Here’s some of what we he heard at the event and who we met:

On Thursday, local start-up founders solicited capital and advice from investors — including Stephen Smoot, senior associate at Blu Venture Investors, a venture firm based in Vienna, and Steven Woda, president, chief executive and co-founder of uKnow, a data privacy start-up based in Arlington that helps parents monitor their children’s digital activity:


Co-founders: Chris Hodges and
Darren Wheeling

Location: Gaithersburg

What it does: Uwannadu is a job recruiting site using pictures, video interviews and clips to encourage millennial job seekers to search and apply for jobs.

Launched: Hodges and Wheeling have been working on the prototype for several years. They launched a public beta version in May and another in September.

Amount requested: $350,000 to be used for business development such as finding ambassadors on college campuses to market the product.



Co-founder, CEO: Shahab Kaviani

Location: Rockville

What it does: CoFoundersLab is a matchmaking site helping entrepreneurs find co-founders for start-ups by searching by skills, industries and personalities.

Launched: January 2012

Amount requested: $200,000 to develop the site in other languages, reaching markets in other countries, including Brazil and Israel.



Founder: Brendan Robinson

Location: Ellicott City

Launched: Late 2012

What it does: Deconstruction’s main product, mBuilder, is intended to help construction managers reduce disturbance to residents near construction sites. A device on-site monitors various factors, including noise levels, vibrations and temperature, relaying that information back to construction managers who can then tell their staff to adjust activity accordingly.

Amount requested: Robinson is refining his pitch and isn’t fundraising until 2014.


The PoshPacker

Co-founders: Anna Kojzar and Tania Cruz

Location: Northwest Washington, at 1776’s incubator space

Launched: November 2012

What it does: The PoshPacker’s online platform helps travelers find luxury hostels and designer hotel rooms all over the world for less than $100 a night.

Amount requested: $200,000 to license a booking engine technology and hire a support team.