DC Startup Keeps Kids Safe Online


In 2009 brothers Steve and Tim Woda lived the nightmare. Tim’s son was targeted by an online predator, leaving the family feeling vulnerable and fearful. Before the incident, they knew that cyberbullying, sexting, and online predators were a problem, but when it happened in their own family, the dangers of the digital world became very real.

Thankfully the child was unhurt, but the incident caused the two entrepreneurs to step back and think about the problem. We can’t keep our kids from the Internet, so how do we protect them while they grow and mature?

The result of this deep reflection was uKnow. The company creates tools that connect and protect families. Currently, their main product is uKnowKids, a parental dashboard that monitors kids’ various social media feeds.

The tools from the uKnow team utilize social, mobile, and location monitoring to help parents keep track of their kids through a single dashboard. They also offer a notification system to alert the parents if kids engage in illegal or dangerous online behavior. An added layer of analytics keeps parents updated on how their kids use social media and the web.

So, what’s the big deal? There are plenty of parental monitoring devices out there, and it’s easy enough to follow your kids on social media.

The team at uKnow thinks they’re doing it differently. “uKnowKids enables parents to ‘have their child’s back’ without constantly looking over his or her shoulder,” the website says. It’s watching out for them without being intrusive. uKnowKids was also the first monitoring program to offer several features including text slang translation, image monitoring of Facebook and Myspace, and activity and trend analysis.

The 4-year-old company recently completed a $2.2 million funding round and expect to announce a full series A in the coming months. uKnowKids is just the first program in their plans. Soon they hope to release uKnowFamily, which will keep every family member connected. They are also experimenting with a location app that will stand separately from the other two.

The Woda brothers aren’t new to startups or online safety. Prior to uKnow, they were both on the founding team of BuySafe, a software that allows e-tailers to provide a secure shopping environment. They’ve brought that experience over to uKnow and are now working hard to protect kids and families in the digital space.

As a parent myself, I admit I dread the day my kids are let loose on the Internet. It’s a scary world out there, and I’ll definitely check out tools like uKnowKids to protect them.


DC Women Startup Founders Are Old Enough To Be Zuck’s Mom; See What They’re Doing

We’ve had a lot of fun getting to know 68 year old Susan Jones and 54 year old Elizabeth Van Sant. These two mothers, business women and now startup founders in Washington DC are old enough to be Mark Zuckerberg’s moms. Their startup, Quad 2 Quad, was actually created because Van Sant and Jones have become somewhat pro’s at getting their kids off to college. They know the ins, the outs and “the ropes”.

We’ve interviewed and profiled quite a few college bound startups lately. Earlier this week we interviewed Cleveland startup CollegeSkinny who’s platform helps high school students transition from high school to college. We featured CiteLighter which is a highlighting bookmarklet app that allows users to easily make citations in their research. Exceleratr, a New York startup, connects high school students to much needed extra-curricular activities outside of the high school campus.  We also recently interviewed Swedish startup Studemia, which is a collaboration tool for students as well as CampusShift, a Youngstown startup looking to take a bite out of college debt.

Jones and Van Sant’s startup aims to help parents of perspective college students, simpli


fy the college visit planning process.  Quad2Quad essentially becomes the college visitor’s personal assistant.

Between Van Sant and Jones they have six children, all of whom have either graduated from college or are enrolled in college now. Jones told us in an interview that between her and Liz they visited over 30 college campuses between 1997 and 2011. Things were quite different, even back in the late 90’s. In 1997 it was unheard of to have to go throw hoops and bounds to schedule a visit. Now you need to schedule a tour, but even that’s not the hard part.

Navigating through the college’s rules and  even temporary hinderances like for instance an assembly on an off Saturday night may close the important sections of campus off to students. Or some colleges require special access to even eat lunch at the student union.

Quad2Quad consolidates information from hundreds of sources about colleges, when to visit, how to visit, what you can do on the visit and where to go and who to call during the visit.

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Quad2Quad provides important information like admission office hours, admission office closures, interview and reservation policies and much more. They currently have 74 of the most sought after colleges in the Quad2Quad system and plan to add 300 more shortly.

In the interview below Jones highlights the community nature of the Washington DC tech community. Both ladies were shocked at how receptive founders half their age were to the Quad2Quad idea and to helping “two geriatric ladies” with their startup.

The fact is Jones and Van Sant are far from geriatric. They’ve both had great careers and are doing something that a lot of people their age would never dream of. I’ve personally been an entrepreneur and startup founder since 2003 and my mother, who is 64 I think (sorry mom), to this day still asks when I’m going to get a job.  Both women have found the age barrier to be virtually non-existant in Washington DC and have big plans for their startup.  Check out our interview with the golden girls of Washington DC’s tech scene below:

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Interview With Washington DC Startup: Distil, Content Protection Network

If you have a content based web site on the internet ( and who doesn’t) you may want to pay attention to Arlington based startup Distil.it. Distil focuses solely on protecting website owners’ content from data scraping, content theft, and competitive data mining.

Do you have countless sites just stealing your content with no linkback? Have you ever been totally plagiarized without your knowledge just to find in a Google search content that was obviously lifted from your site? Those are just some of the things that happen when your website content is scraped and your data is mined.

More importantly with the case of content scraping, you can actually lose page-rank and hinder your SEO. Most web crawlers discard duplicate content so sometimes when you’re writing articles to maximize your SEO return, you’ll actually lose that content when it’s scraped and thrown on another site without your permission.

In addition to identifying and blocking malicious content and data scraping Distil also accelerates content through 14 global nodes which improves site load time and reduces server load.

We found out all about this and more when we talked with Distil’s co-founder and CEO Rami Essaid in the interview below:

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The Friend HookUp Goes Online With DC 500 Startups, Startup Hinge INTERVIEW

Dating sites have been around almost as long as the internet. I remember a time when it was actually odd to try and find a date online. Now it’s pretty much odd to find a date or relationship in real life. One thing that most online dating sites haven’t tackled though is hooking up friends of friends. Now we’re not talking about a one night stand hook up, rather the old school version where you introduce a friend to a mutual friend and voila.

Now Washington DC, 500 startups backed, startup Hinge helps achieve that… sort of.

Hinge uses the Facebook social graph to match users with compatible friends of friends. Now your market of available singles increases from what you normally see from online dating sites to your friends on Facbeook and then your friends’ friends who may be somewhat compatible with you.

What this also means is if your perfect match is single, but not actively pursuing dating or a relationship, you may still meet that person via hinge. You know the same way your buddies or girlfriends introduce you to that perfect someone, that may not actually be looking.

When you actually check Hinge out and what they’re doing, it’s hard to believe no one else has tried to do this. Hinge is a great idea and an awesome Washington DC startup. It’s so awesome that they’ve caught the eye of Dave McClure’s 500 startups.

We got a chance to interview Bennett Richardson, Hinge’s CMO. Check out the interview below:

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Tell Your Life Stories With DC Startup: Monthsof.me INTERVIEW

Sure there are plenty of video apps out there and there are plenty of photo apps out there. Not it’s time to put everything together to tell a story. Scrapbooking grew to an amazing popularity in the 1990’s.  There were scrapbooking classes, scrapbooking stores and more. There are still a few brick and mortar scrapbooking businesses, but like everything else scrapbooking has taken to the internet.

Monthsof.me is a Washington DC area startup that helps you collect, and organize all your photos, video and other media to tell stories that you can share with friends and family.

You can choose to tell the story of your life or stories of life’s precious moments. Baby’s first day, a wedding, the first day of school, soccer season, there are so many ways that monthsof.me would come in handy.

Monthsof.me came about after co-founder RJ Johnston had his fourth child and came to the realization that he had hundreds of albums of digital photos and videos across several sites, but none of them really told a story. He immediately went to work on monthsof.me. Johnston has a varied background mostly in sales, even government sales and a performance at the rock and roll hall of fame. Now he’s turned hie business acumen to the home and the family. Monthsof.me is a platform that people everywhere will find meaningful.

Check out our interview below with Johnston about monthsof.me and the hot startup ecosystem in our nation’s capital.

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Recipes Find You With DC Startup Mor.sl INTERVIEW

Recipes find you with Washington DC startup Mor.sl. This new startup in the recipe space has turned the traditional recipe website model on it’s head. Sure they have hundreds of thousands of recipes but rather than have you searching and sifting through thousands of recipes, their intuitive algorithm matches you to recipes based on a quiz you take when joining.

The quiz is fun and practical. It’s multiple choice and you can answer questions about your cooking habits with answers like “the microwave is my best friend”. The quiz also mixes up a bunch of “this or that” questions, like tacos or creamy soup. At the end of the quiz it actually served up results that I would find appealing. With my “the microwave is my best friend” answer, the recipes that mor.sl offered were relatively easy to cook. They also asked how well stocked my pantry was. Indeed I need to do some more shopping but I think me and this mor.sl could get along.

We got a chance to talk with Milli Mittal one of the co-founders of mor.sl. Check out our interview below.

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Washington DC Startup: Urgnt.ly Lands Top Internet Executive As Product Lead


Back in April we got the chance to sit down with Urgnt.ly President and Co-Founder Ric Fleisher. Fleisher talked to us about the Fort, Fortify.vc and Urgnt.ly.

Urgnt.ly is a real time location based service that connects people with services that they really need rather than the typical social discovery paradigm of connecting people with things they may like, or want.

For a conceptual example Fleisher told us about the scenario that called for the creation of Urgnt.ly. Fleisher had put the dishwasher on a timer and gone to bed one Friday evening. One of his children woke him up the next morning because there was water in the kitchen. As he tells it there wasn’t a puddle of water, more like a river. Luckily Fleisher had enough knowledge to turn off the water supply to the machine, but after that he needed to contact servicemen, appliance repair people and more. From that experience came Urgnt.ly.

Now Urgnt.ly reports that longtime Internet product executive Rick Robinson has joined the company to help lead the product from Beta to public release. Robinson’s experience includes Xohm, Sprint and AOL.

“Having been a weekend adviser for so long it’s great to finally be taking the plunge with Urgnt.ly,” said Robinson, whose background includes mobile product development at AOL and Sprint and content and product innovation for startups and established concerns like National Geographic. “This is the right time for a location based utility service that goes beyond much of what we’ve seen and actually provides a critical service for people in need and those who can meet it.”

“We’re extremely happy Rick has decided to come aboard full time to help lead our product efforts,” said Ric Fleisher, serial entrepreneur and Urgnt.ly’s President and COO. “We’re ready for the marketplace and need to assure the product will continue to grow to meet the needs of consumers and service providers.”

Urgnt.ly has established relationships with service providers who will log in to the service and display their location to Urgnt.ly users on a map, via GPS and other locating technology: “Think of it a digital version of the ‘on duty’ light atop taxis, but people can see the light from our app and Website. And service providers can see urgent needs posted by consumers on the same map,” Robinson said.

Urgnt.ly is poised to be a big player in a space that they virtually created.


Check out our interview with Urgnt.ly here

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DC Startup: Swapel Is Bartering For Startups And Small Businesses INTERVIEW

Swapel, Washington DC Startup,startup,startups,bartering startup,founder interview,craigslist,pando daily,betabeat,techcrunchWashington DC startup Swapel is all about bartering. It’s a different kind of bartering though, it’s bringing back the old b2b bartering network system that was popular in the mid to late 90’s.

Nick Barron, one of the co-founders at Swapel doesn’t know it but through both of our new media startups we’ve survived because of bartering. We’ve bartered ad space and social media expertise for everything from legal services, to design and even travel. Bartering is a great way for sneaker strapped startups to save vitally needed dollars.

That’s the foundation for Swapel. Swapel puts a layer of trust into the bartering ecosystem for businesses. Bartering is growing in popularity we’ve covered a handful of good bartering startups here at nibletz.com. Bartering on a consumer, person to person level is a lot different than bartering in business to business. At the consumer level most people are bartering tangible goods. I’ll trade you my riding lawnmower for your iPad. I’ll cut the tree branches down, if I can have all the fire wood. When people are bartering with each other it’s typically a straight up trade.

The problem when it comes to professional B2B bartering is that often times at least one of those in the barter or trade is performing a service that may not be executed immediately. For instance maybe you’re bartering legal services for tax preparation services. Perhaps the tax preparer is getting a contract drawn up immediately and the lawyer doesn’t need the tax preparation until the following winter. With trades like that you need a platform to manage them, add a layer of trust and a network of trusted service providers who are willing to barter. You can’t just go to the barter tab on Craigslist and trade SEC filing paperwork for wallpaper removal.

Barron and co-founder Shawn Scott are building Swapel in the thriving DC startup community. We’ve already been through DC twice on the sneaker strapped startup road trip and we know first hand how great DC startups are. In fact Barron says that one of their business role model is fellow DC startup founder Zvi Band of Contactually.

We found that out in more in our interview with Swapel below.

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Washington DC Startup: KikScore Aquired By Google


Google has Acquired a Wahington DC startup called KikScore. KikScore is an online reputation startup that helps smaller online businesses build reputations and become more trusted for consumers.

CEO and co-founder Rajeev Malik created KikScore after his wife noticed that people would fill up their shopping carts on her furniture website and then abandon them. Malik and his wife did some research and discovered that most incomplete shopping cart purchases were partially based on the customers trust, or lack thereof, of the merchant.

Malik describes KikScore on their blog as:
a patent-pending online reputation score and interactive report card for small businesses around the world. KikScore enables online small businesses to take information and reputational data about themselves, their track record of responsibility and dependability and show their website visitors that their business can be trusted. Small businesses do this by placing the interactive KikScore Confidence Badge, real-time merchant report card and comment platform on their website so they can close more leads and sell more.

KikScore’s other co-founders are Travis Valentine CTO, Mike Collins Head of Product, Mike Mauseth Board of Advisors member, and Tom Lewis another Board Of Advisors member.

This article from SocialMatchbox positions the acquisition as a straight up acquisition without acquihire. Malik told SocialMatchbox that he aimed to spend more time with his budding family and work on his next startup.

Google will most likely fold KikScore into their current Trusted Stores product that falls under the Google Checkout/Google Wallet department.


Source: socialmatchbox.com

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Leesburg VA Based Startup: Time Razor Promises You’ll Never Miss Out

Time Razor, a Leesburg VA based startup just recently took their project out of stealth mode. The company is venture backed and puts a new spin on events, and time management. TimeRazor was founded by Barry White (no relation to the R&B singer), who has a mixed background mostly in real estate development. However in the hustle bustle world of the DC suburbs we’re sure a developer knows a thing or two about time management.

What TimeRazor ultimately does is cut out the noise from other similar event recommendation apps. Through their proprietary software and algorithms TimeRazor combs through over 300,000 events a day and serves up suggestions and updates for events that the user would actually like to attend. They call this technology the “distillery”.

More after the break
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Rawporter Roadshow: We Talk With Ric Fleisher about Urgnt.ly And The DC Startup Scene

As the Rawporter Roadshow continues we got a few minutes to sit down with serial entrepreneur Ric Fleisher about his latest startup urgent.ly.  Fleisher has had several successful exits and is proudly working on his current startup that came about out of necessity.

Fleisher found that as more and more location based service startups came out they were all focusing on what they believe people want. Urgnt.ly is a new kind of location based app that focuses on what people need.

As the story goes it was a Friday evening and Fleisher had just finished doing the dishes. Before he went to bed he set the dishwasher to run overnight. He was awakened Saturday morning by his son that told him there was water in the kitchen.  Fleisher got dressed and went downstairs expecting to find a puddle of water. Instead he found that his entire kitchen and surrounding areas in his home had been completely flooded by a dishwasher that was still spewing water.

More (including video) after the break
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DC Startup Profile: Next Game Because Nothing Is More Social Than Sports (Rawporter Roadshow)

We’re in the midst of the Rawporter Roadshow visiting with startups and checking out tech everywhere. While in DC we stopped at the Fort accelerator where we met with Next Game. NextGame thrives off the fact that nothing is more social than pick up sports. With Spring in full swing millions of people will be flocking to the local park, open fields, and gyms to participate in pickup sports and other activities, this is where Next Game fits in.

When you’re in grade school, high school and even college sports are a way of life for most people. They’re also a given all school levels have sanctioned sports, intramural sports and pick up games. When you’re living on a college campus you can look at your dorm room window and find a soccer game, frisbee golf, hacky sack, pickup basketball and more. Once you get out of college the drive and want to participate in pickup sports is still there but finding pick up sports or men’s or women’s leagues is for lack of a better word, a pain in the ass.

Often times, unless it’s a real established adult league, participating in sports is contingent on organization and follow through and no one seems to communicate well. NextGame handles that for you.

More with video after the break
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