Green Spoon founder Hanson Cheng and his team served guests lemon garlic chicken, cauliflower mash and truffled mushrooms, earning $1.48 million in “investment.” Every guest was given $100,000 in fake $10,000 bills to invest in their favorite companies. A total of $11.26 million in “venture capital” was invested.
In second place was Encore, a company based in Rosslyn’s ÜberOffices that gives companies advice on what to tweet, when and how often. Encore received $1.25 million in “investment,” just edging out Giftrocker, a gift certificate and e-commerce platform, which brought in $1.18 million.
“I’m stunned,” Cheng said after it was announced that Green Spoon won the competition. The Green Spoon also won the contest for Best Entrée at Taste of Arlington in April. “There are all these companies with amazing services and the fact that we’re even in this room is crazy. I’m ecstatic.”
Many of the 100+ guests at the event remarked on the diversity of the companies, both in the products they sell and the stage of their growth. One company, RoadFan, made its public debut at the event while another, Boldfoot socks, had a chance to show its designs to customers in physical form for the first time.
“This is the first time we’re throwing it out to the world,” RoadFan co-founder Jason Waxberg said. His company is a platform to allow fans of teams gather in a communal spot in any city to watch games together. “To be in the same room as Encore and Distil Networks, who are at the forefront of D.C. startups, it’s great exposure.”
Dozens of members of the Arlington community showed up to network, attempt to create partnerships and see the future of business in the county. Ryan Halpin works in a D.C.-based accounting firm that specializes in technology and was hoping to entice a few new clients.
“I think all the companies here are pretty impressive in their own way,” Halpin said. “It’s interesting to see where they’re all at. For me an event like this is an obvious fit. It’s not your typical networking event.”
The entrepreneurs were all given money to invest in the other companies, and all of them glowed about the communal experience of starting a new business.
“Entrepreneurship is a lonely journey,” Boldfoot founder Brad Christmann said. “It’s cool to be here and talk shop. There’s nothing cutthroat, everyone is genuinely excited to see everyone do well.”
ARLnow.com hosted the event with the Crystal City Business Improvement District, Click, Disruption Corporation — which owns Crystal Tech Fund — Grade A Marketing and The Falcon Lab. Below is the complete list of companies that participated:
- The Green Spoon
- Boldfoot Socks
- Control A+
- Homemade Gin Kit
- Airside Mobile
- Addverb Bottle Company
- Distil Networks
Disclosure: The Crystal City BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser