Posted Apr 14th, 2011
35 Under 35: Top Entrepreneurs in the Washington Region
After receiving nearly 120 remarkable nominations, we finally paired the list to 35. Thankfully we had the help of co-chairs Phillip Merrick (founder of webMethods) and Mary McPherson (former head of Netpreneur), with assists from Valhalla partners Gene Riechers and Scott Frederick; tech legend Mario Morino; former Network Solutions chairman Mike Daniels; top talent from Deloitte, Greenberg Traurig, and Cabot Consultants; and Comerica guru April Young.
Our panel judged on such points as difficulty and originality of the business concept, credibility and success in the marketplace, buzz, growth-and, well, the occasional unscientific coolness and wow factors. The 35 will be honored at a spiffy party at Gene’s McLean home on June 10, where all will become life-long friends. For the record, the following are in no particular order. (And, since you might ask after seeing the first entrant’s age, the rule was you had to be under 35 at some point this year.)
Matt Calkins, 35, CEO, Appian. The super high-energy Calkins built Appian into a business process management market force with over $100 million in revenue since starting in 1999. More than two million seats of the company’s technology have been downloaded to date. That number is impressive, but pales in comparison to the more than 500 board games Calkins owns. He is even writing two of his own.
Duke Chung, 29, CEO, Parature. Chung started Parature in his Cornell dorm room and now has more then 100 employees and 600 customers worldwide. His company makes downloadable customer support programs for the Web, helping customers avoid those pesky calls to India. Chung was named for the Duke University basketball team, so it is little surprise he is a hoops aficionado himself.
Joe Ordia, 27, CEO, Ordia Solutions. Joe makes a GPS-based tracking system for law enforcement, allowing commanders to see the location of every officer on a computer screen. The system is so good that the DC police and FEMA used it for the Pope’s visit last month. When Ordia is not running his company, he is busy running marathons.
Sumi Krishnan, 26, President of K4 Solutions. In just seven years, Krishnan built K4 Solutions into a multi-million dollar player in government technical and administrative contracting. Some of K4’s clients include DoD, DISA, DOJ and NSA. The Inc 500 list also recognized K4 as one of America’s fastest growing companies.
Tim Chi, 31, CEO, WeddingWire.com. A co-founder of Blackboard while at Cornell, Chi was frustrated with the difficulties he encountered in making his own wedding plans and decided to create a one-stop shop for all things “I do.” The site impressed Martha Stewart Weddings, which paid $5 million for 40 percent of the company. Chi’s biggest love, though, is restaurants, and says he’s always searching for the next great meal.
Omar Soliman, 26, and Nick Friedman, 26, Founders, College Hunks Hauling Junk. The name alone tells you most everything, but these buddies turned a summer job into a year-round, multi-truck, multi-million dollar company expanding around the country via franchises. In DC alone they now have eight trucks with plans for continued rapid expansion.
Sunny Bajaj, 31, CEO, Digital Management. Sunny comes from a long-line of entrepreneurs; both his parents started-and later sold-their own tech companies (in one case for billions). For his part, Sunny started government IT services provider Digital Management in 2002, which has grown to 75 employees and $8.1 million in revenue last year. He’s a big sports fan, but that is taking a backseat (or so his fiancée hopes) to his wedding plans this October.
EREMY FARBER, 31, CEO, Securis. This eco-friendly entrepreneur owns a big chunk of the computer recycling business in the area. He runs a completely green company, bragging that all he throws away is the dirt on the floor. Farber, though, would rather be looking to the skies as he has a private pilot’s license.
Sundeep Sanghavi, 34, CEO, Razorsight. Sanghavi created On-Demand Spend and Revenue Analytics software for telecom companies and has a client list including AT&T, Verizon, Comcast and IBM. Razorsight also plans to launch a social networking site for telecom companies at the end of this year. Along with running his business, Sanghavi likes to run the basketball court.
Send story tips to David Stegon: [email protected] at 703-674-7718. He did not select the honorees, so send your complaints somewhere else. Just kidding-kind of.