Arlington, VA

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Editor’s Note: Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.

Daniel Martin was on a walk in Arlington when he stumbled upon an idea for a new mobile application.

“I was walking around Clarendon — right across the street from the Metro — and I noticed a lamp post had been removed from a sidewalk, and the six-inch bolts that secure it… were left bare on the sidewalk and not covered,” Martin said. “They remained like that for more than two weeks.”

The incident reminded Martin of a time when his younger brother was injured by falling on similar bolts, requiring surgery.

“I realized that there had to be a way to communicate things like this easily to the people responsible, and started thinking about a way to do that.”

OrangeConeMartin developed a no-cost mobile app that enables citizens to communicate any public service issues they encounter with officials responsible for the area where the issue occurs.

He chose the name OrangeCone because it is a symbol for something that is not fully functional, but that has been recognized by someone, and warns people to be careful in the area. Martin is the founder and CEO of 38 North LLC, of which OrangeCone is the first product.

“The overall idea of the app is to notify whatever organization is responsible for that space, and to allow them to respond,” Martin said.

Martin said the company’s primary customers — those who will be on the receiving end of the issue reports — can include city and county governments, federal government agencies, not-for-profit organizations, commercial entities and more. Such groups can use the app to engage citizens as individuals and as a group, locate and visualize issues, and manage those issues to resolution.

Earlier this summer, the OrangeCone app hit the virtual shelves in mobile app stores. Arlington residents and visitors can use the app to report issues they see and to discover issues that have been reported in their area. Issues in Arlington are not yet being managed actively by officials, but Martin said OrangeCone has had ongoing conversations with Arlington County about potentially launching a pilot program.

The company’s first official trial was launched with the Corktown Economic Development Corporation in Detroit. The organization is using the app as the official channel for businesses to report public space issues to the city, Martin said.

Martin is working to recruit more governments for participation in an OrangeCone pilot program. He is in various levels of negotiation with several local governments and plans to conduct pilot programs in coming months.

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Editor’s Note: Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.

When Arlington real estate agent Kari Klaus decided to renovate her home to make it more energy efficient, she stumbled upon a problem.

Klaus, whose background is in sustainable development, realized that the traditional real estate property listing system doesn’t showcase or market environmentally friendly features for homes, making her house appear similar to others that aren’t energy efficient.

From working in the real estate business, she knew that home buyers care about how eco-friendly their future home will be.

“Wouldn’t you want to know if the home you are thinking of buying has superior systems, a tight building envelope (sealed to prevent air leaks) with solar panels and will save you potentially hundreds of dollars each and every month?” Klaus said.

But there was no understandable and reliable way to rank, search and view energy efficient homes, Klaus said.

That’s where VivaGreenHomes.com comes in.

VivaGreenHomes.com“VivaGreenHomes.com shows you that these options exist and explains their importance to you as a home buyer,” Klaus said. “If a home’s environmental or health value has not won you over, then the potential to save you a lot of money will.”

She said her company changes the game because other real estate listing services aggregate home listings without any verification procedures. VivaGreenHomes.com uses claim verification methods, including a “Home Energy Rating System” score, an industry standard for eco-friendly homes.

A beta version of the site launched in October 2014. Feedback received from industry leaders helped to shape the website before its full launch in May. Just two months after launching the full version, the website has nearly 4,500 active listings, Klaus said.

In the next six months, VivaGreenHomes.com plans to add more user tools, consumer information and other features. Amid those changes, Klaus hopes the number of listings on the site will reach 20,000 in the next year.

Arlington provides all the resources the company needs to continue to grow, she said.

“It’s been incredible to be around so many professionals that work in the sustainability and eco-homes industry,” Klaus said. “It has been a great resource for the company’s growth, including the recruitment of some of our newest team members who live in the D.C. area.”

VivaGreenHomes.com is currently affiliated with 1776 Crystal City, Mentor Capital Network’s Bethesda Green Cohort and Cleantech Open Southeast.

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Editor’s Note: Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.

Cybersecurity breaches cost companies billions of dollars each year, and according to research from IBM Security, the vast majority involve human error. Security training is the best way to combat such errors, but getting employees excited about cybersecurity can be a challenge.

“Like a great many businesses, Ataata was born out of a simple question,” said Michael Madon, CEO of the Arlington company. “After sitting through another series of security awareness training courses for my job, I wondered, ‘Why does security training have to be so long and boring?'”

“I realized that security awareness training doesn’t have to be miserable,” Madon added.

ataataThe name Ataata is a Maori word meaning “video” — and that’s just what the company offers. Ataata’s interactive security awareness videos are available through a data-driven online and mobile platform. The videos work with computers, smart phones and tablets, meeting employees on whatever device they use.

All industries are vulnerable to human error, but Madon said Ataata “is the antidote to human error” because it gives employees incentive to care about cybersecurity.

“Through innovative approaches to increasing employee engagement, Ataata will set the standard for awareness training and dramatically reduce risks of cyber breaches caused by human error while significantly lowering training and clean-up costs,” Madon said. “We do this through employing an interactive, gamified and data-driven training platform offering our clients an analytic engine that transforms engagement data into actionable information — replacing guess work with deep understanding.”

Madon PhotoMadon added, “we believe to maximize engagement, the experience should be compelling, informative, participatory [and] applicable. To that end, Ataata creates and curates interactive videos to boost engagement.”

Ataata users have a 90 percent cybersecurity training completion rate versus 50 percent for traditional cybersecurity training videos, Madon said. In addition, Madon said users are three times as engaged in Ataata videos than traditional videos, with longer view times, increased interactions and more sharing.

Just six months after launching, Ataata announced in late June that it closed its series seed preferred founding round led by ARRA Capital with participation from additional investors. Moving forward, the company plans to use funds to drive ongoing creative and technology development and bring its “best-in-class” proprietary content and software to market.

And how did Ataata end up in Arlington? “Arlington chose me,” Madon said. 

Madon was a founding member of Crystal City-based 1776, a global incubator and seed fund. He was looking for a space outside the District with a more cyber focus, and Arlington was an obvious choice.

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Editor’s Note: Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.

Growing up in Northern Virginia, Joe Smiley rode on food trucks with his church handing out warm meals to people in the community.

Craavings“I was always struck about how many people in my own community lacked basic necessities, including a warm meal each day,” Smiley said, adding, “These volunteering experiences were instrumental in planting a seed in my mind that there had to be a better way that I could help out using my technology background, as well as my experience consulting in the food and beverage sector.”

Combining his experiences, Smiley came up with the idea for Craavings — a no-cost online platform designed to help people find their favorite foods while providing meals to those in need.

Unlike restaurant rating platforms, Arlington-based Craavings enables users to quickly search and discover the best individual dishes available nearby by searching across all restaurants in an area or within a single restaurant. There are more than 30 million menu items in Craavings’ database, which covers the majority of the 1 million restaurants in the U.S. and parts of Canada, according to Smiley, founder and CEO of the company.

Users can save foods — or drinks — they try by completing ratings or reviews of menu items for future reference. In addition, a newsfeed feature focuses on social networking so that users can see what their friends and family like or dislike.

But the platform is about more than just finding your favorite foods. Users collect points through Craavings by signing up for an account, completing ratings and reviews, adding photos and marking favorite menu items.

“We’re making a pledge to provide a meal to someone in need — right here in the U.S. — every time you earn 15 points on this app,” Smiley said. “Find your craavings and help others who are in need. Win-win.” Craavings has pledged more than 750 meals so far, via volunteer work, food drives and donations, according to its website.

After launching a beta version of the website two months ago, Craavings already has thousands of registered users, Smiley said.

For now, he said the company’s primary focus is finding angel investors to aid in further development of the platform, as well as begin marketing in the D.C. and New York City metro areas. “We’re also looking for business partners and anyone who can help market Craavings in their cities and communities,” Smiley said.

In addition to improving the web interface and building out the mobile app, he said the company plans to add nutrition information, advanced filtering, loyalty management and new menu items and restaurants (including food trucks).

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Editor’s Note: Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.

Kam Desai and Ashish Gambhir know first-hand how hard it can be to engage employees.

Working at an analytics company, Desai and Gambhir found that while they could consistently and accurately collect customer feedback and supply it to their clients, negative scores tended to stagnate. For some reason, the necessary quality changes at the store level weren’t getting made.

“We realized that the issue was transparency,” Desai said. “Although restaurants had the right data, it was never getting to the right employees — the men and women on the front line responsible for making each sale. This stuck out as a huge opportunity to improve efficiency, and ultimately, customer service.”

MomentSnap logoDesai and Gambhir decided to develop their own software to fill the gaps.

“MomentSnap is unlike anything else in the marketplace,” Gambhir, co-founder and president, said. “The issue with a lot of engagement strategies surrounding performance is that they’re really not very ‘engaging’ — engagement has become just another box to check off by printing out satisfaction scores and sticking them on a wall somewhere.”

That’s where Arlington-based MomentSnap makes the difference. It puts that information directly in employees’ hands, empowering them to take ownership of their performance in a public forum and compete with their peers.

Using the software, employees accrue points for positive guest feedback and completed “missions” that are set by managers, which can range from upselling certain products to watching a video message from the leadership team. Employees then are ranked and recognized on a public leaderboard. A rewards structure also can be offered to employees, allowing them to use their points for prizes.

“MomentSnap spurs action and tangibly increases customer satisfaction — that’s real engagement,” Desai, co-founder and CEO, said.

Other employee engagement programs often are defined by transactions, rather than relationships, Desai said.

“Instead of seeing a percentage on a sheet of paper that correlates to guest satisfaction, we hope to emphasize that each customer interaction is unique — a moment, not a transaction,” he said. “We make snapshots of these moments available to employees in the form of comments and survey results — a moment snap.”

Gambhir said MomentSnap can be catered to any organization in any industry, but the company has started with a focus on the restaurant, hospitality and retail sectors. He said the company is currently tracking about 50,000 employees and seeing “incredible early success.”

So far, MomentSnap has seen a 10 to 20 percent increase in customer satisfaction among workers using the software, Gambhir said. “We’re seeing that employees are checking the app every shift, even though it’s optional — exceptional usage levels,” he added.

MomentSnap landed in Arlington after receiving an investment from CIT GAP Funds, a group of investment funds placing near-equity and equity investments in Virginia-based organizations.

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Editor’s Note: Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.

Like many college students, Andrew DeZarn became frustrated with the process of applying for internships that would be important to launching his career. But instead of continuing to send out hundreds of resumes, DeZarn took a different approach.

Vooru logo“It motivated me to create a technology-based compatibility platform that focused on connecting college students to internship positions based on characteristics and metrics that were much more relevant than university/program selection or even GPA,” DeZarn said. “Ultimately, this platform allowed companies to connect to students who they may not have considered otherwise.”

Little did DeZarn know, he had just taken his first step on the path to becoming a career head hunter.

In January, DeZarn co-founded Vooru, a Rosslyn-based professional recruitment and consulting services agency with a special focus on the finance and accounting domains.

“With technology platforms at our core, we specifically provide direct hire or ‘permanent’ staffing solutions to our growing portfolio,” DeZarn said.

With a network of more than 23,000 professionals, Vooru records and matches individuals’ skills, desired contract terms, cultural sensitivities, and other metrics to its clients’ open positions. Those include positions in business services, technology, not-for-profit, real estate and marketing organizations.

Vooru also offers career consultation to its network of professionals, including resume development and strategy, interview preparation, and career advisement.

“We ensure that the professionals we work with are in a position to put their best foot forward,” DeZarn said, adding that he and his business partner have “a combined 20 years of experience, so we definitely know how to help guide people to land that dream job.”

Unlike other staffing agencies, DeZarn said Vooru “relies on proprietary technology and data collection that results in instant connections between the professionals and companies we work with.” That process allows the firm to fill positions in a more timely and cost effective manner.

The name Vooru is derived from the Dutch word “vooruit,” which means forward or forward thinking. “My business partner and I are passionate about improving the way professionals can connect with some of the best companies out there and we ultimately hope to ignite advancement in the staffing industry, which has seen very little innovation in the past decade or so,” DeZarn said. “We are confident that our technology and forward thinking are the way do this.”

He said basing the business in Arlington also made sense with the firm’s forward-thinking character.

“Not only is Arlington easily accessible from almost all parts of the DC metro, but the highest concentration of companies and professionals we work with are within a 30 or so mile radius of our office,” DeZarn said. “Additionally, there is an exciting energy and buzz that can be felt in Arlington with all the commercial and residential development that is going on. Walking out of our office, you can walk in any direction and find a new restaurant, bar or entertainment attraction.”

He added, “It doesn’t hurt that Arlington is continually ranked atop multiple publication lists of ‘Best Places for Young Professionals’ in the entire country … we see so many of our peers and previous colleagues moving to the area as well, and it’s the perfect environment for any small business to incubate.”

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Editor’s Note: Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.

Boolean GirlArlington-based startup Boolean Girl is on a mission — to fill the female deficit in the technology industry.

“The original idea was to teach kids (including my own) to code and work with electronics by creating a website with kid-friendly programming and engineering projects,” co-founder Brian Moran said. “This was not something they were learning in elementary and middle school and I think these are critical future job skills.”

When Moran started talking to other people about the idea, he heard from scores of women about the challenges they faced in the tech industry. “When I saw that the number of women in computer science was actually declining from 36 percent in the mid 1980s to 12 percent today, I knew it was time to pivot,” he said.

Boolean Girl launched on May 30, 2014 — around the same time that is was revealed that Google had issues with diversity in the workforce.

“Google’s admission brought a lot of attention to the issues we were trying to address. The timing was great,” Moran said, adding, “We were totally unknown but ahead of the curve on addressing this issue.

“By engaging girls at a young age, we could inspire the girls to pursue computer science and help dispel some misconceptions that middle schoolers have about computer science.”

Boolean GirlBoolean Girl offers camps, classes and classroom kits to get kids started. “We wanted to make this easy for the school/PTA so they have everything the girls need: computer, monitor, keyboard, battery etc. We don’t need to be in the school computer room, we don’t need internet access, we don’t even need electricity,” Moran said of the kits available through the program.

Moran said the program has also seen high demand for its classes and summer camps.

The program targets girls ages eight to 13, but Moran said it is open to older girls (and boys), as well. But the major advantage is to the girls.

“In elementary school, 66 percent of girls like science as much as boys do, but only 24 percent of the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) workforce is women and only 12 percent of the computer science graduates are women,” Moran said. “There are many reasons this happens: Girls think coding is not interesting, it does not require creativity, that you work in isolation, that coding is for boys only. Sometimes they are discouraged from taking classes by parents and teachers. When they do, they feel alienated or isolated because they are the only girl in a class.”

Boolean Girl flips this cycle by creating a welcoming environment for young girls, where they are working with their peers. “We want girls to know that computer science includes working side-by-side with their best friend all day. We want them to realize they can apply their creativity to solve difficult and important real-world problems through computer programming,” Moran said.

Ultimately, Moran hopes the program will drive more girls to develop a passion for technology, resulting in more women in computer science careers.

“Most studies show the demand for these skills is growing rapidly,” he said. “Aside from providing a stable income, we think computer science careers are interesting and exciting, offering unlimited possibilities for women.”

And Boolean Girl has big plans for the future. This summer, the program plans to develop two new advanced classes: one on engineering and another on Minecraft coding in Python, a coding language that Moran said is in high demand in the tech industry.

In addition, Boolean Girl will launch a Kickstarter campaign this summer to productize the classroom kits so that girls can take the same equipment home that they use in class.

“With the kit, the girls no longer need to borrow their parent’s computer … [and] can also do the online engineering projects,” Moran said. “Maybe most importantly, it is safe and easy: they don’t even need to be connected to the internet and everything is contained in the kit.”

Moran said the only factor limiting Boolean Girl’s growth is the availability of qualified instructors. “We try to recruit college women pursuing computer science or teaching degrees or young professionals with teaching or computer science backgrounds,” he said, adding, “Since the root issue is that the computer science field has so few women, finding instructors is always a challenge.”

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Editor’s Note: Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.

Eastern Foundry ribbon cutting (courtesy photo)A new opportunity for burgeoning technology companies is coming to Arlington this fall.

Last week, Crystal City’s Eastern Foundry — a veteran-owned working space and accelerator for startup firms interested in working with the federal government — confirmed it will open a second location in Rosslyn, just 18 months after its inception.

The new space — a 19,237-square-foot office located at 1100 Wilson Blvd — is slated to open later this year, but some tenants want to move in sooner.

“We will be slowly filling in a few companies who are quite eager to get space even while the renovations are going on,” said Dan Bowman, a communications associate at Eastern Foundry. “We expect to be fully functioning by early fall once renovations are complete.”

Eastern Foundry originally planned to expand to the District, but inaction by D.C. officials and enthusiasm from Arlington economic development staff helped to convince the company to launch a second location in Arlington County instead, DC Inno reported last week.

The Rosslyn location is about 55% pre-committed and Eastern Foundry has formed “a bit of a waiting list,” Bowman said. Companies that have pre-committed to the new space include startups focused on mobile health care, mobile banking, laser diagnostics, cybersecurity and big data.

Eastern Foundry in RosslynEastern Foundry said the new space will allow the accelerator to double its membership.

“The 81 members in our Crystal City campus have validated our strategy, and this second location will allow us to expand into the hundreds, increasing the range of technologies, services and agency insights that our members can provide to the government and to each other,” Geoff Orazem, co-founder of Eastern Foundry, said in a release.

Bowman added, “Doubling in size not only increases the chance that our members can find powerful partners within our community, but it also serves as a larger resource for the government to tap into in order to find new and exciting solutions to their technology needs, gauge the contracting market or simply learn from agile startups.”

Rosslyn was chosen for the new location because of the area “is strategically positioned at the intersection of the civilian federal market in Foggy Bottom and the defense federal market near the Pentagon,” according to the release. “It is a direct shot to the original Crystal City campus, Tyson’s Corner and Reagan National Airport, and with the office being [near] the Metro, members can easily reach the entire national capital region all while enjoying Virginia’s business-friendly environment.”

Andrew Chang, co-founder of Eastern Foundry, said, “the expansion has been in the works for quite a while and is a crucial part to our overall growth strategy,” adding, “[W]e are very excited to continue to grow our brand and footprint in the DMV area.”

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Editor’s Note: Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.

Sprout founder Rebecca CarpenterRebecca Carpenter had been cultivating organic vegetables on her Arlington patio for more than a decade before she considered turning her growing hobby into a career.

“In the past few years, I got my Master Gardener certification and I began helping friends and family with their gardens,” Carpenter said. “At some point, people started telling me that I should do this for a living, and at first I just chuckled at the idea, but eventually I allowed the idea to percolate and I decided there was merit to it.”

And so Carpenter founded Sprout, an Arlington startup that helps other Arlingtonians realize their dreams of the perfect backyard garden. But simple gardening isn’t the only purpose on Carpenter’s radar.

“As a business woman who also strives to serve a higher purpose with my life, it was important to me to structure Sprout as a benefit corporation,” Carpenter said. “This means that we’re a for-profit business with a mission to make a positive social impact. We have a triple bottom line — that means that we measure our success not just by profit, but [also] by our impact on people and planet as well.”

Sprout’s most popular offering is its backyard organic vegetable garden service.

“There are so many people who want to grow their own organic veggies and herbs, but they either don’t have the time or the know-how to do it themselves,” Carpenter said. This leads them to Sprout. “We build the beds, amend the soil, create a garden map, and sow the plants. We then come back once a month for six months to make sure the garden is thriving, and to transfer our knowledge to our clients.”

Each garden is custom-made, depending on the size, space and other factors. In addition, Carpenter said Sprout will work with clients to ensure that the services work within their budget. The company also offers coaching for people who want to do the labor themselves.

In fact, the company’s goal is to help customers feel comfortable growing their own produce, with the hope that they eventually become independent in their gardening endeavors, Carpenter said.

“We believe that the more people who grow and eat local organic produce, the healthier our community and the Earth will be,” she added.

Other services that Sprout offers include corporate services and cooking parties for individuals. And even more offerings are on the horizon.

“We’re testing several new revenue streams, which will help Sprout to grow beyond the DC area and to develop a national presence,” Carpenter said. “Our goal is to become the first national garden-to-kitchen consumer brand, so we’re actively and strategically pursuing options to make that happen,” including online education, mobile applications and products. “We’re very excited about the possibilities, and we’re looking forward to talking with potential partners and investors in the near future to help us scale the Sprout brand,” she added.

But as the company grows, Carpenter says it will continue to stay true to its roots.

“Arlington provides the perfect client base for Sprout — there is an intense clustering of people who understand the importance of healthy living, and they want to eat local/organic, but they don’t have a lot of space or time to grow their own organic food,” she said, adding, “This is our ideal audience, so we’ve found a wonderful base of clients here.

“I couldn’t imagine basing Sprout anywhere else, and I intend to keep Sprout headquartered in Arlington even as we grow to become a national brand.”

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Editor’s Note: Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.

Doofl logoFinding himself “bored” with the options for charity fundraising, Ted Decareau’s interest was piqued by the viral Ice Bucket Challenge.

“I wanted to see if we could create a platform that would give any nonprofit the opportunity to reach those heights,” he said. And so Rosslyn-based Doofl was born.

The name Doofl is derived from “Do” (taking action) and “fl” (raffle). The no-cost mobile application – which launched in January – is open to anyone age 13 or older with a Facebook or Twitter account.

“With Doofl, you can create your own virtual fundraiser and have your friends or followers impact the video that you make with their votes and pledges,” Decareau said. “You get the app and pick three fun dares or challenges you’re willing to do, and then have your friends vote and pledge to make it happen. Completing the dare and posting the video acts as the trigger to convert all pledges to donations.”

Users can choose charities from a list of 7,500 verified organizations, or they can request that a specific charity be added to the list for their challenge. The list was generated from Guidestar and Charity Navigator and all donations are tax deductible.

“I thought it would be cool to turn ‘trivial’ social media content into something of value for non-profits,” Decareau said.

Doofl is also offering a limited-time promotion to match the first $100 pledge.

“We have a set number of matches that we allow each promotion and we will bring it back from time to time,” Decareau said.

Users also can win money for their preferred charity without making a video.

“Every month we’re going to give away a $1,000 to the charity of a randomly selected user,” Decareau said. “So just by installing the app and linking your Twitter or Facebook account, you’ll be eligible to ‘win’ the donation for your charity.”

Eventually, Doofl will enhance this monthly drawing by letting users “earn” more chances to win by voting, donating and sharing through the app.

“I think this ‘bonus donation’ drawing is a bit unique and it will be fun to give away extra donations,” Decareau said, adding, “Hopefully we can grow so we can do bonus donations weekly.”

Doofl also has plans to add a feature in coming weeks to generate a unique mobile web page for voting, pledging and donating outside of the app.

Decareau said he picked Rosslyn for Doofl’s home base because of the great co-working spaces – it’s based in MakeOffices – and the neighborhood’s convenient location.

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Editor’s Note: Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.

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From school permission slips to executing wills and closing on home purchases, notarizations are part of small and large decisions in everyone’s lives. But it can’t always be easy to find a notary when and where you need one.

Crystal City-based Notarize has an app for that.

At $25 a pop, users can obtain notarizations virtually anywhere, at any time.

In 2011, a law passed in Virginia enabled certain certified state notaries to complete notarizations through a video call. Notarizations made in Virginia are valid across state lines under state and federal laws.

Notarize screenshotWith nearly 1.25 billion notarizations taking place in the U.S. annually, the founders of Notarize saw a real “pain point” that could be addressed using technology and the new Virginia law.

“My partner was traveling when he realized an important financial transaction that required notarization wasn’t executed properly and he couldn’t find a notary to fix it,” Adam Pase, co-founder and COO of Notarize, said. “It delayed the transaction for weeks.”

The founders of Notarize jumped on the idea of virtual notarization, getting ahead of the curve.

“Notarization may not be the sexiest area to focus on, so I don’t think a lot of people were directing a lot of attention to the notarization process,” Pase said.

The company’s work paid off – more than 1,000 documents were notarized through the mobile app in the first six weeks after it launched.

Notarize co-founder Adam PasePase said Notarize aims to keep users’ wait times to less than three minutes.

Right now, 40 notaries are working with the company, but Pase said Notarize has received more than 100 additional applications.

“News has spread and we’re really excited to have so many notaries interested in our platform,” Pase said.

And Notarize isn’t just for individual consumers. Businesses stand to gain a lot from the virtual notary service, according to Pase.

Notarize co-founder Pat KinselBusinesses – such as mortgage companies, banks, legal firms, construction companies and more – can use Notarize to streamline their operations, onboard customers and create a completely digital audit trail. So far, Pase said the company has received “tremendous interest” from businesses.

Pase said the company was drawn to Crystal City because of the proximity to D.C. and many of the key decision makers and customers it was targeting.

“Northern Virginia has become a hotbed for technology companies and Crystal City has some exciting momentum in the startup tech world,” Pase said. In this area, he added, Notarize was “confident we could get the talent we need.”

Notarize currently is available as an iOS application for Apple devices, as well as a desktop application. Pase said the company has plans to make the service even more accessible in the future.

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