WASH November 2011 : Page 80

…continued 4 Jen Consalvo and Frank Gruber, COO and CEO of Tech Cocktail, respectively, will feel right at home as co-producers of DCWEEK, given that their business model at Tech Cocktail is all about blending products and personalities. The Mixologists Downloading on the latest and greatest doings in the virtual world with your fellow tech-obsesseds should feel like a party. That’s the idea that Frank Gruber, then toiling for Internet giant AOL, had in mind when he started Tech Cocktail five years ago. The must-read tech blog is now a full-blown media company that fêtes industry players in both the virtual and real worlds. This summer Gruber relaunched and added value to the brand with the help of longtime collaborator Jen Consalvo, who came aboard last year as COO and co-editor. With a masthead of 30 and a loaded calendar of mixers and meetups, this dynamic duo has rebooted stereotypically stale conferences into see-and-be-seen events. So what’s next? Acing the Tech Cocktail formula overseas. The Ringer Michael Mayernick wants to play every position on the District’s digital squad. He founded Spinnakr, a tech-based analytics company, while establishing Proudly Made in DC, a movement connecting local digital entrepreneurs. In his spare time, Mayernick curates StartupDigest, an online roundup of tech doings in the District. “People didn’t know tech in DC,” says the 27-year-old champion of hyperlocal ventures. “They just thought it was a government town.” Add to all that a fall launch of Spn.ee, an analytics software that measures an organization’s social media productivity, and a headliner’s spot at the Washington Post ’s Disruptathon. It would seem Mayernick has yet to find a role he can’t field. 5 6 If Stephanie Hay has her way with FastCustomer, you’ll never have to wait on hold again. Spinnakr software company founder Michael Mayernick is about to hit his reputation out of the park. The Smooth Operator Stephanie Hay never guessed that trying to get off the hold button would dial her into the ranks of techpreneurs. But, yes, at a meetup she arranged for fellow digiphiles, the 31-year-old web copywriter nerded out with Paul Singh and Aaron Dragushan who had just prototyped FastCustomer, an app that may silence hold-music forever. With a single click, iPhone and Android users calling Delta, Comcast and Verizon—all among FastCustomer’s 2,000 clients—get to skip the wait for a live person and go straight to a customer-service rep. Or, they can have a staffer call them back, thanks to a nifty new FastCustomer widget. The company claims to have saved users more than 680,000 minutes and counting—freeing up plenty of valuable face time. 7 Bobby Ocampo’s digital instincts are paying off for Grotech Ventures, only two years after he moved to Washington. The Angel Bobby Ocampo may have been raised in the heart of Silicon Valley, but investing in his own backyard was a lot less enticing than seeding new startups in the District. Rising through the ranks of Grotech Ventures, the 26-year-old VC star says he looks for entrepreneurs “who dream precisely and have a plan,” not to mention those “who want to change the world.” Case in point: the retail-revolutionizing LivingSocial, a local blockbuster that Grotech invested in early. Other firms that won Ocampo’s patronage: HelloWallet, a personal finance site, and NexGen Storage Inc., an online storage and cloud provider. As for DC’s future prospects, Ocampo is bullish: “We could be the next Silicon Valley.” continued… 80 | | November 2011

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